The Roman name given to a place struck by lightning, or a place where someone has been killed by lightning and buried; so-called because of the two-year-old sheep, or bidens, that was often sacrificed to consecrate it. Those struck and killed by lightning were called fulguriti. Being killed in such a manner was not considered accidental, but an act of the gods. The body was not moved or given a funeral, but was immediately buried on the spot. Priests, called bidentales, preformed a solemn rite by collecting whatever had been scorched or destroyed by the lightning and burning it. Surrounding the bidental with an ornamental wall, or well-head, was common, as it was not permissible to walk on the place. Great care was given to bidentals, as allowing one to fall into decay or ignoring the sanctity of its confines was believed by the Romans to be a great sacrilege against the gods.

Bi*den"tal (?), a.

Having two teeth.

Swift.

 

© Webster 1913.

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