Thanks to everybody who wrote in. On a few points arising:
The case is made especially well in the video. If you're looking for something written, this might help:
As the (later added) title suggests, Meditations
isn't a military memoir, so I am unsure why you would expect to find this battle discussed
We all know that back in the day of Moses, ...
Marcus Aurelius is a better documented figure than Moses, and more recent. There was no "magician's contest." An incident involving pagans following
their religion was retold as if it had happened to Christians following their religion. By an amazing coincidence, no pagan's written report of the
incident survived in the West, and even the existence of a non-Christian side of the story was unknown until the rediscovery of the Greek written
heritage during the Renaissance.
Ironically, that first Greek report quoted the pagan report in order to refute it. However, the physical evidence favors the pagan account, although
that wouldn't have been known until relatively recently.
While a rainstorm is obviously a natural occurrence, this one's timing (both as to tactical importance and by following the sorcerer's invocation) and
the asymmetric specificity of damages and benefits (the thirsty Romans got water to drink while the enemy's battle gear was destroyed or neutralized)
explain the imputation of supernatural agency to its occurence.
A lot of people think that way today, here's a famous example, only about 70 years old:
It stopped raining, the beleaguered American position at Bastogne was resupplied by air, and then some serious German butt was kicked.
"Miracle" just means a remarkable event (Look!), usually one for which a supernatural explanation is offered, and once offered, whether or not that
explanation prevails. The remarkable ancient event in question really happened, and an explanation of the expected kind was offered, twice in this
case. I am not proposing that either "side's" theory be accepted.
The conspiracy was for one side to "steal" the other side's miracle, and the effort was wildly successful for an amazingly long time. It's >ahem< a
bit of a miracle that they ever got caught.
edit on 13-1-2013 by eight bits because: (no reason given)