Date(s) - 20/06/2021
On 20 June thunder and lightning at night, violent nighttime storms and general safety during the night was considered.
Summanus was an Etruscan deity, whose primitive altar was replaced with a temple in 278 BCE after a terracotta statue
of Summanus, which stood on the roof of the Capitoline temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, had been struck by lightning at night.
When the head could not be found, the haruspices said that it had been hurled into the Tiber, but it was soon recovered at the exact spot they had indicated. Summanus may thus be an epithet of Jupiter.
It is clear that Summanus is responsible for lightning and storms at night or before dawn.
‘According to Etruscan writers’, wrote Pliny, ‘there are nine gods who hurl thunderbolts, of which there are eleven kinds because Jupiter hurls three sorts. Only two of these deities have been retained by the Romans who attribute thunderbolts in the day to Jupiter and those in the night to Summanus, the latter being naturally rare because the sky at night is colder’. Thus unlike the Etruscans, who divided the sky into many regions in which lightning might appear with its varied implications, the Romans observed it in a looser manner, either by day or by night.
Summanus receives offerings that are black or dark in color, whereas Jupiter never receives black offerings. Unlike most cult activity, that of Summanus also occurs at night. The Arval Brethren were involved in the cult of Summanus. Also, cakes shaped like wheels are also offered to him.