Monday, February 1, 2016

Odd Things the Ancients Reported Falling from the Sky

The first known recording, outside of the Bible, of foreign objects crashing down out of the heavens is in Livy’s History of Rome, (or Ab Urbe Condita Libri, “Books Since the City's Founding to be precise) written about 10 CE.
In Book I Chapter XXXI he writes, “After the defeat of the Sabines, when1 King Tullus and the entire Roman state were at a high pitch of glory and prosperity, it was reported to the king and senators that there had been a rain of stones on the Alban Mount. As this could scarce be credited, envoys were dispatched to examine the prodigy, and in their sight there fell from the sky, like hail-stones which the wind piles in drifts upon the ground, a shower of pebbles.”
Further the Greek historian Athenaeus refers to a three day fall of fish and frogs in the Deipnosophistae (Banquet of the Sophists), written around 200 CE.
Athenaeus writes, “I know also that it has very often rained fishes. At all events, Phoenias, in the second book of his Eresian Magistrates, says that in the Chersonesus it once rained fish uninterruptedly for three days; and Phylarchus, in his fourth book says that people had often seen it raining fish, and often also raining wheat, and that the same thing has happened with respect to frogs.”
 Additionally Heracleides Lembus, an Egyptian civil servant, historian, and philosophical writers, in the twenty-first book of his History, written about 150 CE states- "In Paeonia and Dardania it has, they say, before now rained frogs; and so great has been the number of these frogs that the houses and the roads have been full of them; and at first, for some days, the inhabitants, endeavoring to kill them, and shutting up their houses, endured the pest; but when they did no good, but found that all their vessels were filled with them, and the frogs were found to be boiled up and roasted with everything they ate, and when besides all this, they could not make use of any water, nor put their feet on the ground for the heaps of frogs that were everywhere, and were annoyed also by the smell of those that died, they fled the country."