Dead Sea Tsunami 315 AD

315 AD - possibly spurious

by Jefferson Williams


Introduction     Textual Evidence     Archeoseismic Evidence     Paleoseismic Evidence     Notes     Paleoclimate - Droughts     Footnotes     References


Introduction

Ambraseys (1962) and Antonopolous (1979) report a tsunami in the Dead Sea in 315 AD based on reports in difficult to find sources. Ambraseys (1962) suspects the tsunami was actually in Lake Van in Armenian Turkey in 344 or 345 AD. Both authors assign a Tsunami Intensity of III.

Textual Evidence

Archeoseismic Evidence

Paleoseismic Evidence

Notes

Mallet (1858, p. 5) lists an earthquake at "Areopolis on the Dead Sea" citing sources von Hoff, vol. ii p 174 and Ritter vol.2 p. 339

von Hoff, K. V. (1841). lists an earthquake in 315 AD with the description "Earthquake in Areopolis in Dead Sea (translated from Erdbeben in Areopolis am Totem Meere)". He cites Ritter (1847, p. 339) as his reference

Unfortunately, like Ambraseys(2009), I cannot find the reference by Ritter although it may be here

Ritter, K.W. (1847) "Erdbebenschreithung" vol. 2 p. 339 Breslan

Ambraseys (1962)

Footnote : ' Mallet (p. 5) gives an earthquake in the Dead Sea on the authority of Ritter, which we were unable to check. The same event is described by Moses Khoren (iii, 8), but only Acogh 'ig adds that this was followed by an inundation of the sea. From Acogh'ig's narration it appears that this event occurred in the lake Van rather than in the Dead Sea. Also, this event is usually dated in 344 or 345 A.D. The translators of Armenian texts have not perceived the chronological difficulties that occur in the MSS of Moses and Acogh'ig and have committed an anachronism of exactly 30 years; cf. 116.
The historical reference appears to come from E. Dulaurier's translation of the Armenian text "Acogh 'ig's universal history" Publications de Ecole des Langues Orientates N.iivantes, vol. 18, p. 101-102, Paris 1898.

Another copy of this book in English can be found here where the entry for the tsunami report may be on page 184

Stephanos Asoghik (aka Stepan Acogh 'ig) wrote Universal History in the 11th century AD and used Moses Khoren as one of his sources. Moses Khoren wrote The History of Armenia in the 5th century AD. French translations of The History of Armenia v.1 and The History of Armenia v.2 are both available online. A commentary on Moses Khoren's sources can be found here

Antonopoolos' (1979) entry reads as follows : 6. 315. Dead Sea (iii). 24 (p. 100). This indicates a tsunami intensity of 3. The reference (24, p.100) is the same one listed above by Ambraseys (1962) - STEPAN ACOGH'IG of DARON. - In E. Dulaurier's translation of the Armenian text « Acogh'is universal history ». Publications de l'Ecole des langues Orientales Vivantes, vol. 18, p. 101-102, Paris 1898.

Paleoclimate - Droughts

Footnotes

References

Ambraseys, N. N. (1962). "Data for the investigation of the seismic sea-waves in the Eastern Mediterranean." Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 52(4): 895-913.

ANTONOPOULOS, J. "Catalogue of Tsunamis in the Eastern Mediterranean from Antiquity to Present Times." Annals of Geophysics 32(1): 113-130.

Hoff, K. V. (1841). Chronik der Erdbeben und Vulkan-Ausbrüche, mit vorausgehender Abhandlung über die Natur dieser Erscheinungen. Gesch. Ueberlieferung nachgew. natürl. Veränder. Erdoberfläche, Parts 4 and 5, Gotha.

Mallet, R., et al. (1858). The earthquake catalogue of the British Association: with the discussion, curves and maps, etc, Printed by Taylor and Francis.

Ritter, K.W. (1847) "Erdbebenschreithung" vol. 2 p. 339 Breslan

Ancient Texts Thomson, R. W. (2006). History of the Armenians by Moses Khoren, Caravan Books.(iii, 8)

in Armenian

in Russian

in Italian

in French

Stepan ,Acogh 'ig of Daron, in E. Dulaurier's translation of the Armenian text "Acogh 'ig's universal history" Publications de Ecole des Langues Orientates N.iivantes, vol. 18, p. 101-102, Paris 1898.