ON METEORITES, OR CELESTIAL STONES 83
be given to certain stones, for stones adapted to ornamental use might
easily be exposed by the weathering of the rocks, and then detached by
the concussion produced by heavy thunder. Of course, the cylinder-stone
here mentioned must have more especially signified one of the
prehistoric celts, but it is not unlikely that the name was also given
to other, unworked stones, having a similar form.
Galba was chosen emperor, and when he was acting as governor of the
Basque provinces in Spain, a thunderbolt descended upon the shore of a
lake in that region. Search was made for the stones which were supposed
to have fallen, and Suetonius tells us that twelve axes were found.
This was regarded as a sure augury of Galba's elevation to the imperial
dignity,23 but for the archaeologist the presence of the axes merely signifies that this was the site of a lake dwellers' village.
some cases, the stone which was held to be a dwelling-place of the
divinity was also regarded as a representation, or epitome, of some
sacred mountain. In the earliest stage of this belief, the god was
supposed to have his abode in the mountain, and later he was thought to
animate the stone which had a fancied likeness in shape to the
mountain. A coin of the Roman emperor Elagabalus (204-222 a.D.)24 bears
on its reverse a representation of one of the sacred stones of Astarte,
namely, that worshipped at Sidon. This is shown resting upon a car, and
it seems probable that it was transported from place to place, so that
"Suetonii, "Opera," Lipsias, 1886, p. 203; Galba, 8.
This name signifies " Mountain-God " and its assumption by the emperor
marked his devotion to the worship of the divinity animating the stone
of Emesa, El Gabal, which Elagabulus had conveyed to Rome, where it
remained until 222 a.D. This
stone was regarded as a miniature representation of the sacred mountain
near Emesa. The stone is figured on the aureus of the emperor Uranius
Antonius. See Cn. Lenormant, Kev. Numismatique, 1843, p. 273. eq., PI. IX, No. 1.