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1170 CE Quake(s)

29 June 1170 CE

by Jefferson Williams









Crusader States in 1165 CE
  Crusader States and surrounding states in 1165 CE
 (Wikipedia - MamMaster and Richardprins - CC BY-SA 3.0).

Introduction & Summary

On a Monday around daybreak on 29 June 1170 CE, the citizens of Aleppo woke up to a terrifying earthquake that killed many and forced the survivors to camp outside of town due to continuing aftershocks. Many other cities suffered destruction1 but none seemed to suffer as much as Aleppo - at least according to the authors who wrote about it. The authors who wrote about this earthquake came from several traditions but the bulk of the informative accounts come from Western accounts written in Latin or Vulgar French, Muslim accounts written in Arabic, and Syriac accounts written by Christians living in the region. A number of the accounts are contemporaneous.

The 29 June 1170 CE date is well established - attested repeatedly by contemporaneous and later sources using different calendars which converge on this one date. A few authors (William of Tyre, Bar Hebraeus, and Ibn al-Adim) tell us that the earthquake struck around sunrise. A few more authors (Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, and Ibn al-Adim) spoke of multiple shocks and plural earthquakes was used in place of the singular word earthquake in a number of accounts. Thus, as speculated by Guidoboni et al (2004), there may have been more than one earthquake. Guidoboni et al (2004) suggested the possibility of northern and southern epicenters but also noted that it would be difficult to sort out which locations were damaged by which earthquake due to the proximity of the various locations reported as receiving damage. In addition to a lack of geographic separation, there are no obvious time markers in the disparate accounts to disentangle two or more earthquakes. If there were, indeed, multiple earthquakes, they would have likely have struck quickly - one after the other - and their epicentral regions would have been close.

At the al-Harif aqueduct in Syria, Sbeinati et al (2010) identified a seismic event (Event Z) which dated to between 1010 and 1210 CE (2σ). They suggested that it was probably caused by the 1170 CE earthquake. This would, in turn, suggest that the ~90 km. long Missyaf fault segment broke in 1170 CE. Such a fault break is compatible with the textual evidence for the towns affected and most heavily damaged. It also allowed Sbeinati et al (2010) to estimate a Magnitude (MW) between 7.3 and 7.5. Implicit in this estimate is the assumption that the entire Missyaf segment broke and that the rupture did not propagate to neighboring segments. A calculator is provided below to convert Rupture Length into Magnitude. Hough and Avni (2011) estimated M = 6.6 for the 1170 CE earthquake and Ambraseys (2009) estimated MS of 7.3 (±0.3). Guidoboni et al (2004) estimated MW of ~7.7 (±0.22) for one earthquake. They did not make an estimate for a two earthquake scenario noting that macroseismic effects from two events would appear hard to distinguish and partially overlapping leading to an excessively high margin of uncertainty in calculating seismic parameters.

Two sources (William of Tyre and Chronica Universalis Senonensis) seem to indicate that Palestine and Jerusalem shook but were not badly affected. Multiple sources spoke of continuing aftershocks with some saying they lasted up to 4 months. There were also a few embellished accounts of earth fissures2 in various locations.
Footnotes

1 among them Antioch, Tripoli, Jableh, Arche, Homs, Hama, Krak des Chevaliers. Gibelcar, Laodicea, Shayzar, Ba'rin, and more.

2 Accounts of earth fissures are frequently embellished in multiple traditions. In the Sabbatical Year Quakes, a talking Mule was said to have emerged from an earth fissure in Mesopotamia and spoke prophecy. In the 1068 CE Quake(s) treasures such as gold and jewelry were reported at the bottom of fissures in the Hejaz.

Magnitude from Rupture Length Calculator

Strike-Slip Fault Rupture Length - Wells and Coppersmith (1994)

Variable Input Units Notes
km. Rupture Length
Variable Output - not considering a Site Effect Units Notes
unitless Moment Magnitude
  

Textual Evidence

Text (with hotlink) Original Language Biographical Info Religion Date of Composition Location Composed Notes
Damage and Chronology Reports from Textual Sources n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
King Amalric I of Jerusalem Latin
Biography

King Amalric I of Jerusalem, the son of King Fulk of Jerusalem and the brother of King Baldwin III of Jerusalem, ruled as King from 1162 to 1174 CE (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005:850).

Christian July-August 1170 CE for the letter to King Louis VII of France and sometime in 1170 CE for the document ceding ownership of the castles of Arche and Gibelacar to the Knights Hospitaller Jerusalem
Account

Dated the earthquake to 29 June 1170 CE. In a letter written no more than two months after the earthquake, King Amalric I of Jerusalem dated the earthquake to the day of the feast of Saint Peter and Paul which falls on 29 June. In another document, where he gave ownership of the castles of Arche and Gibelacar to the Knights Hospitaller provided they rebuild the aforementioned castles damaged by the same earthquake, he dated the earthquake to 1170 CE. This and subsequent textual evidence strongly support a date of 29 June 1170 CE. A few later pieces of evidence (e.g. Kemal al-Din) will add information that the earthquake struck at dawn, which I have to say sound just like the reports from the 1202 CE earthquake. This suggests that source accounts of the 1170 and 1202 CE earthquakes may contain an mix of accounts from both earthquakes.

Between the two documents, King Amalric I of Jerusalem described a terrible earthquake which left Tripoli in ruins and killed almost all of its inhabitants, shook Margat, Gabulum [Gabala] and Laodicea and almost all the castles and towns between Tripoli and Antioch in such an amazing and indescribable way that no trace of buildings can be seen, damaged the castle of Arche, and devastated Antioch such that, quite apart from the fact that houses and other buildings were torn apart and almost all reduced to ruins, the town walls were damaged to such an extent that they seem to be beyond repair.

Pope Alexander III Latin
Biography

Pope Alexander III ruled as Pope from 1159 until 1181 CE. He spent much of his papacy outside of Rome (wikipedia).

Catholic 8 December 1070 CE Rome ?
Account

Pope Alexander III drafted a letter on 8 December 1170 CE appealing to the Church of France for rebuilding funds for earthquake impacted towns and villages in the Crusader states. The date of the earthquake is not mentioned and the only specific locality mentioned is a large and populous village belonging to the Church of Nazareth. He reports that many towns and castles have been wholly or partly reduced to ruins or razed to the ground by the earthquake.

William of Tyre Latin with an early translation to Vulgar French made between 1220 and 1277 CE
Biography

William of Tyre was born in Jerusalem around 1130 CE, spent about 20 years studying in Western Europe, and returned to Jerusalem in 1165 CE (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:13). Sometime later, he became the archdeacon of Tyre and for much of his career he was involved in diplomacy (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:16). He also tutored King Baldwin IV (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005:909). From 1169 until sometime before the end of 1170 CE, William was back in Europe (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:16-17). In addition to his official duties, William was also a historian. His only surviving work was written in Latin between 1170 and 1184 CE and is variously known as Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum (History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea), Historia Ierosolymitana (History of Jerusalem) or frequently by its shortened title Historia (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:24-26). An anonymous translation and continuation of Historia into Vulgar French was made between 1220 and 1277 CE into a new text variously known as History of Heraclius (Estoire d'Eracles), L'estorie de Eracles empereur et la conqueste de la terre d'Outremer, or Livre du conquest (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005 and Helen Nicholson in Murray, 2006: v. 2, p. 405). William is said to have understood Greek and Arabic (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005:909) although this assumption has been challenged (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:45 n.2). In his prologue to Historia, William stated that he had no access to Greek or Arabic written sources (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:44) however since he wrote a book on Islamic History (which did not survive), he may have, in fact, used some Arabic materials. He died sometime before 1186 CE (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:22).

Christian between 1170 and 1184 CE
Account

Contemporaneous and, for the times, a rigorous historian William of Tyre states that a very great earthquake struck almost the whole of the East around 6-7 am on the 29th of June 1170 CE. Antioch, Aleppo, Gabala, Laodicea, Caesarea, Hama, Hims, Tripoli, and countless smaller places were said to have received heavy damage or were destroyed. William reports that there were no fatalities in Tyre but some towers collapsed. Jerusalem and Palestine appear to have been reported to have been spared fatalities and heavy damage (the Latin and Old French versions give different accounts of this last observation). Aftershocks were said to have lasted up to 4 months.

Robert of Torigni Latin
Biography

Robert of Torigni (aka Robert de Monte) was born at Torigni-sur-Vire in central Normandy (Vitalis and Van Houts, 1992:lxxvii-xci) around 1110 CE. He entered the monastery of Le Bec in 1128 CE and about 20 years later, probably in 1149 CE, became the prior there (Vitalis and Van Houts, 1992:lxxvii-xci). In 1154 CE, he was elected abbot of Mount-Saint-Michel. During his time as a monk of Le Bec he was `an avid reader and collector of religious and profane books', or so he described himself in a reference to the year 1139 CE (Vitalis and Van Houts, 1992:lxxvii-xci). His Chronicle covers the period from 385 AD to 1186 and derives from that of Sigebert of Gembloux, with additions and amplifications for the history of Anglo-Norman regions in the period 1100-1186 (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). He died in 1187 CE.

Christian Before 1186 CE Monastery of Mount-Saint-Michel
Account

Robert of Torigni wrote that an earthquake struck Outremer (the Crusader States) on the day of the feast of apostles Peter and Paul (June 29). Tripolis, part of Damascus, and most of Antioch were reported to have collapsed. Halapre [Aleppo] and some other states of the Saracens (Muslims) were also reported damaged.

Annales Magdeburgenses 193 Latin
Biography

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) state that Annales Magdeburgenses, was compiled in the monastery of Kloster Berge, near Magdeburg, up to 1188, and continued up to the mid-15th century.

Christian 1188 CE or earlier Monastery of Kloster Berge, near Magdeburg
Account

Incorrectly dates the earthquake to 1169 CE. States that in Syria, Antioch and other cities were shaken to the foundations by an earthquake with one city swallowed up by an opening in the ground which gave the appearance only of flooded abysses.

Michael the Syrian Syriac
Biography

Michael the Syrian also known as Michael I Rabo and Michael the Great was born in Melitene from a clerical family in 1126 CE (Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, 2011). He studied at the Monastery of Dayro d-Mor Barṣawmo where he stayed on as a Monk and a Prior. In 1166, he was elected Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church. While acting as Partriach he collected manuscripts of theological and historical content and restored and compiled hagiographical and liturgical works (Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, 2011). Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition (2011) reports that his canonistic work is partly conserved in later collections, but the greater part is lost, as is his treatise on dualist heresies composed for the Lateran Council. Michael the Syrian is best known for his Universal Chronicle which covered "creation" until 1195 CE (Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, 2011). Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition (2011) describes Michael's Chronicle and various editions as follows:

The text is not preserved in its entirety, and the layout of Michael’s chronicle was distorted through the process of copying. Chabot’s edition is a facsimile of a documentary copy written for him in Edessa (Urfa) from 1897 to 1899. While the scribes tried to imitate the layout, a number of mistakes were introduced. Its Vorlage, the only extant ms., was written in 1598 by a very competent scribe. It is kept by the community of the Edessenians in Aleppo. In view of the loss of the original, this beautiful manuscript is the best witness for the layout of the chronicle. Fortunately it will soon be made available in print. This ms. was probably the Vorlage for an Arabic translation, which also sought to preserve some of the visual features, while changing others. The Arabic translation has much the same lacunae as the Syriac text. By comparing his version with the Arabic translation preserved in ms. London, Brit. Libr. Or. 4402 (which is one of several Arabic copies), Chabot detected some details lost in the Syriac text. No further research has been done so far on this problem.

The historical material was originally organized in four columns, the first being designated as the ‘succession of the patriarchs’, the second as ‘succession of the kings’, the chronological canon as ‘computation of the years’. No title of the additional column, which contains mixed material, is now known. Chapters with excursus were inserted, which interrupted the system of columns. After an open and abrupt end, six appendices follow. The first appendix is a monumental synopsis of all the kings and patriarchs mentioned. It was supposed to function as a directory. The second appendix is a treatise on the historical identity of the Syrians, who are connected to the Ancient Oriental Empires, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Arameans. When the chronicle was translated into Armenian, in two different translations, in 1246 and 1247, it was transformed according to Armenian interests.
Michael died in 1199 CE.

Syriac Orthodox Church late 12th century CE Probably at the Monastery of Mar Bar Sauma near Tegenkar, Turkey
Account

Michael the Syrian experienced the earthquake in the Church of the Monastery Mar Hananyo where shaking was intense but did not lead to collapses or, apparently, casualties. Michael dated the earthquake to 29 June 1170 CE and described Aleppo as the most affected followed by Antioch. Aleppo collapsed in ruins with many buried under the rubble of walls and houses. In Antioch, the seaward wall collapsed along with the great Church of the Greeks, the sanctuary of the great church of St. Peter, and houses and churches in various places. 50 people were reported dead. Complete collapse was reported in Jabala. In Tripoli, a large part of the city and the Great Church collapsed. Major disasters were also reported in other coastal cities, Damascus, Homs, and Hama. From the context of Michael's text, it appears that Laodicea was damaged. Michael's reports that various Syrian Orthodox Churches in various cities were spared should be treated with skepticism as the Syriac authors of this era viewed earthquakes as punishments for man's sins and tended to emphasize the collapse of mosques, synagogues, and churches of rival factions and highlight how their ecclesiastical structures were spared.

Ibn al-Athir Arabic
Biography

Ibn al-Athir spent most of his life in Mosul and claimed to be a private scholar (Keany, 2013:83). He was present at Saladin's military campaigns against the Crusaders. Keany (2013:82) notes that he wrote much of The Complete History (al-Kamil fi at-Tarikh) at the turn of the [12th] century, supposedly as a personal reference, abandoned it to write a history of the Zangids, and then returned to the Kamil at the end of his life. The Complete History was completed in 1231 CE and consists of 11 volumes. He is also reported to have lived in Aleppo and Damascus.

Sunni Muslim ~ 1200 - 1231 CE Mosul
Account

Ibn al-Athir dated the earthquake to 29 June 1070 CE and states that the earthquake affected the entire region of Syria, Jazira, Mosul, and Iraq with the most devastating effects in Syria. He reported serious damage in Damascus, Baalbek, Homs, Hama, Shayzar, Barin, Aleppo and elsewhere with walls and citadels destroyed everywhere. Many fatalities were reported due to collapsed walls of houses and town walls were destroyed. Aleppo seems to be the hardest hit with reports of survivors staying in open areas due to fears of aftershocks. Damage was also reported in the Crusader states. Nur ad-Din who ruled the Syrian (Sham) province of the Seljuk Empire was reported to have visited Baalbek, Homs, Hama, Barin, and Aleppo where he initiated relief and reconstruction efforts apparently focused on structures for military defense. Similar reconstruction efforts were also reported in the Crusader states.

Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi Arabic
Biography

Sibt ibn al-Jawzi (ca. 1185 - 1256 CE) was the grandson of Ibn al-Jawzi and was raised by Ibn al-Jawzi in Baghdad (Keany, 2013:83). Sibt in Arabic means grandson through one of the grandfather's daughters. After his grandfather's death in 1200 CE, Sibt ibn al-Jawzi moved to Damascus where he was a Preacher as well as a Historian (Keany, 2013:83). Keany (2013:83) noted that he carefully documented his sources.

Hanbali Sunni Muslim - may have had Shi'a tendencies (Keany, 2013:83) before 1256 CE Damascus
Account

Sibt ibn al-Jawzi dated the earthquake or earthquakes to Shawwal A.H. 565 (18 June to 16 July 1170 CE). He reported that its effects were felt in Sham (Syria), Jazirah, Mosul, and Iraq with maximum intensity in Syria. The earthquake is reported to have caused damage in Damascus, Baalbek, Homs, Hamat, Caesarea, Barin and Aleppo. Damage was reported o the Great Mosque of Damascus along with one fatality while the rest of the town had fled to the desert. Aleppo is reported to have been the hardest hit with half of the citadel destroyed along with a great part of the city and town walls and 80,000 dead. Antioch is also reported to have been hit along with Laodicea, Jabala, and all the coastal towns. The earthquake is said to have reached Byzantine territory and damaged Muslim fortresses throughout Syria. The citadel of Hisn al-Akrad collapsed without a trace of the wall remaining. Sibt ibn al-Jawzi says that the earthquake also reached the Euphrates, Mosul, Sinjar, Nisibin, al-Ruha, Harran, Al-Raqqa, Mardin and other towns, reaching as far as Baghdad, Basra and other towns in Iraq. Nur ad-Din's visits to shore up fortifications in Baalbek, Homs, Hama, and Barin are also recorded along with his visit to Aleppo where he was concerned about the collapse of the town walls.

Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) Arabic
Biography

Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) was born in Aleppo in 1193 CE into a family celebrated for supplying qadis (Islamic judges) to the city over generations David Morray in Meri and Bacharach, 2006). He died in Cairo in 1262 CE, David Morray in Meri and Bacharach (2006) provides the following on Ibn al-Adim's life and works.

Ibn al-‘Adim was trained in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and became director of one of Aleppo’s principal Islamic schools, the Madrasah al-Hallawiyya. Successive Ayyubid rulers of Aleppo entrusted him with a number of diplomatic missions. The last of these was in AH 658/1260 CE, in which he went to Egypt to seek help against the Mongols, shortly before they took Aleppo. He died in exile in Cairo two years later.

Ibn al-‘Adim wrote a number of works, not all of which have survived. They include a treatise on handwriting, a thesis on the preparation of perfumes, and an address to a ruler of Aleppo on the birth of his son. But he is best known to modern scholarship for his chronicle of Aleppo and northern Syria, the Zubdat al-halab fi ta’rikh Halab (The Cream of the Milk as Regards the History of Aleppo). This is the principal source for events in the area during the author’s lifetime.

In his own day, however, Ibn al-‘Adim was celebrated for his Bughyat al-talab fi ta’rikh Halab (What Is Desirable in the Pursuit for the History of Aleppo). A characteristic production of the medieval adab (belles-lettres) tradition, the Bughyat al-talab is a biographical dictionary of notable people associated with Aleppo, from remotest antiquity to the compiler’s own times. In addition to factual information, an entry often contains examples of the subject’s verse, or transmission of hadith (Prophetic tradition). The original work, of which only a quarter survives, apparently filled forty volumes containing seventeen thousand pages of twenty lines each, and is believed to have been penned by Ibn al-‘Adim himself during the last two years of his life.

Muslim before 1260 CE Aleppo or Cairo
Account

Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) spoke of an earthquake which destroyed Syria and destroyed Aleppo. He reports that Aleppo suffered the most. 5000 perished, there were continuing aftershocks and the inhabitants left town to stay in the country. The walls of Aleppo were ruined and had to be rebuilt by Nur ad-Din. The earthquake was said to have been felt in most of the regions of Syria, Jazirah as far as Mosul, and in Iraq but damage was worst in Syria. Great parts of Damascus, Baalbek, Emessa (Homs), Hamah, Shaizar, Barain (or Barin?), Aleppo and other places were ruined - including fortresses, citadels and houses. Many died. Parts of the walls of Baalbek were ruined along with its fortress. Comparable destruction occurred in the Frankish territories. The earthquake is reported to have struck at dawn on 29 June 1170 CE.

Abu Shama Arabic
Biography

Abu Shama was born in Damascus in 1203 CE and spent his entire life there except for a year in Egypt, two weeks in Jerusalem, and two al-Hidjaz to Mecca (Hilmy Ahmad in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:150). He became a professor at a madrassa in Damascus only five years before his death in 1268 CE (Hilmy Ahmad in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:150). Only five of his works are extant. The rest are lost Hilmy Ahmad in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, (1991:150). The earthquake account appears to be in Sequel to the Two Gardens (Al-Dhayl 'ala 'l-Rawdatayn), a continuation of his text The Book of the Two Gardens, Concerning Affairs of the Reigns of Nūr al-Dīn and Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn (Kitab al-Rawdatayn fi Akhbar al-Dawlatayn).

Sunni Muslim before 1268 CE Damascus Abu Shama dated the earthquake to 29 June 1170 CE and on a feast day of the Crusaders. He reported collapses at Crusader citadels of Hisn al-Akrad, Safita, ar-Raqa, and Arqa (near Ba`rin). Hisn al-Akrad was said to be left without walls. Also reported house collapses in Huma (Hama?).
Bar Hebraeus Syriac
Biography

Gregorius Abu’l-Faraj (1225/6-1286 CE), commonly known as ‘Bar Hebraeus’ (Bar 'Ebhraya), or the ‘Son of the Jew’, was born in Malatiyah (Melitene) to a Jewish father known as Aaron the Physician (Budge, 1932:xvi-xvii). After the Mongols sacked Malatiyah, the Mongol General Shawer Nawin fell ill and Aaron took care of his condition. This led to the family moving to Antioch where Bar Hebraeus continued his studies and, at the age of 17, became a Jacobite monk and a hermit (Budge, 1932:v). Bar Hebraeus later went to Tripoli in Phoenicia to further his studies and eventually became the Bishop of Gubos. He then moved to Lakabhin where he was also a Bishop and, after that, moved to Aleppo (Budge, 1932:xvii-xviii). In 1264 CE, Bar Hebraeus was elected Maphrian (Primate) of the East (Budge, 1932:xix). Besides his Chronicle, Bar Hebraeus wrote other books on philosophy, religion, grammar, science, and, possibly, medicine. He was also a lecturer in Mathematics and Astronomy (Budge, 1932:vii and wikipedia). His translations of Greek and Arabic texts indicates fluency in multiple languages besides Syriac. Presumably, he also would have been able to read Hebrew (Budge, 1932:vii). Bar Hebraeus traveled widely and died in Maraga, Persia, and was buried at the Mar Mattai Monastery, near Mosul (Budge, 1932:xxviii-xxxi and wikipedia). He is also known by the Latinized name Abulpharagius.

Bar Hebraeus began his studies to write his Chronicle in the great library at Maraghah only intending to write a history of the last eighty years continuing the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian which ends in 1196 CE (Budge, 1932:v). However, once he completed his 80 year history, he worked backwards, and using the Chronicle of Michael the Great [aka Michael the Syrian] as a foundation, he compiled his great work dealing with the profane history of the world from the Creation to the year of his death in 1286 CE (Budge, 1932:vii).

Syriac Orthodox Church 13th century CE possibly Maraghah
Account

Bar Hebraeus quoted Michael the Syrian and added some details such as that the shaking Michael the Syrian experienced in the Church of the Monastery of Mar Hananya took place during morning services. In the extant text we have from Michael the Syrian (for which a critical text does not exist), the time of the services was not specified. Bar Hebraeus dated the earthquake to the morning of Monday 29 June 1170 CE, described a sound like heavy thunder accompanying the earthquake, and said that the earthquake lasted (or seemed like it lasted) a long time. The walls, fortresses, and great buildings of Aleppo, Baalbek, Hamath, Emesa, Shaizar, and Baghras are said to have collapsed on their inhabitants. The Great Church of the Greeks in Antioch is said to have fallen down along with the altar of the church of Kusyana (in Antioch?) of the Franks (Crusaders). In Aleppo, all is said to have fallen down except for one church and there are similar accounts of churches belonging to the same denomination as Bar Hebraeus being spared in Antioch, Jabala, and Laodicea. Bar Hebraeus' reports that various Syrian Orthodox Churches in various cities were spared should be treated with skepticism as the authors of this era viewed earthquakes as punishments for man's sins and tended to emphasize the collapse of mosques, synagogues, and churches of rival factions and highlight how their ecclesiastical structures were spared. Bar Hebraeus says that the earthquake lasted 25 days which likely refers to continuing aftershocks.

Ibn Wasil Arabic
Biography

Ibn Wasil (1208-1298 CE) was a historian and a qadi (Shari'a judge) (Gamal el-Din el-Shayyal in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3, 1991:967). He was born and died in Hama but lived or traveled to Damascus, Jerusalem, Aleppo, Sicily, al-Khusraw-shahi, Baghdad, and Cairo at various points in his life (Gamal el-Din el-Shayyal in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3, 1991:967). He wrote poetry and books on logic, philosophical theology, astronomy, medicine, and history (wikipedia). Gamal el-Din el-Shayyal in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3 (1991:967) produced the following summary of his three historical works

  1. al-Ta'rikh al-Salihi, a general history from the Prophet to 637/1240 (MS: British Museum, 6657)
  2. Nazm al-durar fi 'l-hawadith wa 'l-siyar (MS: Chester Beatty 5264)
  3. Mufarridi al-kurub fi akhbar Bani Ayyub - reaching to the year 661/1263, this is the most valuable source for the history of the Ayyubids. The full text, which can be reconstituted from the four incomplete manuscripts, is in process of publication by Djamal al-Din al-Shayyal, the three volumes published (Cairo 1954, 1957, 1961) reaching to the death of al-'Adil I.
The Dissipater of Anxieties on the Reports of the Ayyubids (Mufarridi al-kurub fi akhbar Bani Ayyub) contains a description of the earthquake.

Muslim Before 1298 CE Hama ? Ibn Wasil reported that this earthquake came to be known as the earthquake of Aleppo and its region.
Ibn al-Shaddad Arabic
Biography

Richards (2020:1-4) reports that Ibn Shaddad was born in Mosul in 1145 CE. He moved to Baghdad where he lived for 4 years and became a mu'id (assistant professor) before returning to Mosul where he was a mudarris (professor) at a madrassa. After making Haj, he went to Damascus and Jerusalem and received an appointment as a Judge of the army (qadi al-'askar). He was a close confidant of Saladin and participated in diplomatic missions. in 1195 CE, he moved to Aleppo where he also served as a Judge (qadi). He died in Aleppo in 1234 CE at the age of 89. In addition to writing books on Islamic jurisprudence and the Hadith, he wrote a biography of Saladin titled The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin.

Muslim Late 12th or early 13th century CE Aleppo ? Reports that there was an earthquake at Aleppo which destroyed a large part of that region. It was on 12 Shawwal in the year A.H. 565 (29 June 1170 CE).
Benjamin of Tudela Hebrew
Biography

Benjamin of Tudela was a Spanish Rabbi whose diary of his extensive travels is a fundamental source of information regarding the distribution of Jewish communities in the Mediterranean area, as well as for the political situation in the Holy Land (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005:861). His travel diary titled the Book of Travels documents a journey he took from Tudela, Spain departing sometime between 1159 and 1163 CE and returning in 1173 CE (Jewish Virtual Library).

Jewish 12th century CE Tudela, Spain ?
Account

Benjamin of Tudela mentions an earthquake which had struck Tripolis in years gone by when many Gentiles and Jews perished, for houses and walls fell upon them and there was great destruction at that time throughout the Land of Israel, and more than 20,000 souls perished. In another passage he recounts that some time ago there was a great earthquake in Hama where 25,000 souls perished in one day. Due to a lack of chronological specificity, it is unclear if he was talking about the earthquake of 1170 CE, an earthquake in ~1157 CE, or both.

Neophytus Enkleistus Greek
Biography

Neophytus Enkleistus aka Neophytos of Cyprus, Saint Neophytos, and Neophytos the Recluse (1134 to after 1214 CE) was a Cypriot monk, priest, and sometimes hermit hagiographer, who was born at Leukara, and died at Paphos (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). Neophytus wrote a menology which is preserved in manuscript Parisinus graecus 1189, in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005).

Christian before 1214 CE Cyprus
Account

Neophytus Enkleistus, a contemporaneous source, apparently reports, based on second hand testimony from a fellow Monk, that an earthquake in Antioch resulted in a roaring noise and an earth fissure, house collapses, and destruction of the 'Great Chruch' which killed the Patriarch along with a great multitude of the people. The causitive earthquake is dated to after 1165 CE.

Chronica universalis Senonensis Latin
Biography

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) describe this text as a Chronicle mistakenly attributed to William Godel but in fact compiled by an unidentified author who belonged to the entourage of the archbishop of Sens.

Christian
Account

States that on 29 June 1170 CE, a terrible earthquake occurred in the regions of Outremer where innumerable people perished, many cities were overthrown, a great part of Antioch collapsed, and Jerusalem shook strongly, but it did not fall.

Het'um Chronicle Armenian
Biography

Bedrosian (2005) described this Chronicle as follows:

The short but valuable Chronicle translated below was written in the Cilician Armenian kingdom in the late 13th or early 14th century. Covering the period from 1076 to 1296, it provides information, sometimes unique, about individuals and events associated with the rise, expansion and collapse of the Cilician state: Armenian kings, lords and clerics, Byzantines, Saljuqs, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mongols, Mamluks, and their activities. Unfortunately, this Chronicle is noteworthy for its laconic style and brevity. The author claims to have drawn his information from Armenian, "Frankish", Greek, and Syriac historical writings. Clearly his Armenian sources extended beyond lengthier contemporary works such as Smbat Sparapet's Chronicle and Het'um the Historian's Chronography, since information not found in those works appears in the Chronicle. The author also may have had access to foreign literary histories, but the entries are too brief to speak of borrowing. More likely our chronicler was relying on other unnamed chronicles and on his own records.

Though the Chronicle's late 13th-early 14th century provenance is certain, its authorship is not. In the 19th century Het'um the Historian (a noted general and writer of the 13th century) was regarded as the author. V. A. Hakobyan, editor of the critical edition of the classical Armenian text, pointed to two passages in the Chronicle (the entries for 1250 and for 1285) which, from a genealogical standpoint, could only have been written by King Het'um II (1289-93, 1294-97, 1299-1307). But beyond these two passages, written in the first person, there are no other entries containing information of a personal nature or information obtainable only from within the royal family. Furthermore, in other parts of the Chronicle where King Het'um II is mentioned, the third person is used. There is great variation in the spelling of personal and place names, which is not unusual in medieval sources; though one might question whether Het'um (King Het'um II or Het'um the Historian) would provide different spellings of his own name, sometimes on the same page. It is possible that King Het'um II was the original author and that the Chronicle suffered very greatly at the hands of later copyists.

In 1842 father M. Awgerean, who believed that Het'um the Historian was the author, published a less complete variant of the classical Armenian text of the Chronicle as an appendix to his Het'um patmich' t'at'arats' (Venice, 1951, reprint of 1842 edition, pp. 81-90). Awgerean's text of the Chronicle was translated into French by Eduoard Dulaurier [Recueil des historiens des croisades. Documents arméniens, (Paris, 1869) vol. I, pp. 471-490]. The critical edition of an expanded text was published by V. A. Hakobyan with an introduction and valuable notes [Manr zhamanakagrut'yunner XIII-XVIII dd. [Minor Chronicles of the XIII-XVIII Centuries] vol. I (Erevan, 1951) pp. 65-87]. This is the text translated here.

Christian late 13th to early 14th century Armenia
Account

States that on the day of Saint Peter and Paul's feast in A.E. 619 (7 Feb. 1170 - 6 Feb. 1171 CE), a violent earthquake occurred and cities and castles collapsed in Se'hl [Sahil, (Levantine) coast] including Tyre, Akko, Tripolis, Yarka (Arches?), Latakia, Valanin, and Antioch. Essentially dates the earthquake to 29 June 1170 CE.

Abu'l-Fida Arabic
Biography

Abu'l-Fida was a Syrian Prince, Historian, and Geographer who was born in Damascus in 1273 CE. He took part in military campaigns against the Crusaders at a young age (12) and was eventually made Governor of Hama in 1310 CE. He wrote poetry and books on various subjects but most of his texts have not survived. He is noted for two books which have survived - a Concise History of Humanity (Tarikh al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar al-Bashar) and Takwin al-Bulddn a descriptive book on Geography (H.A.R. Gibb in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:118-119). A Concise History of Humanity is largely a compilation which covers pre-Islamic history until 1329 CE. It's earlier sections are based on Ibn al-Athir (H.A.R. Gibb in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:118-119).

Muslim 1329 CE ? Hama ? Abu'l-Fida wrote that there was an earthquake in A.H. 565 (25 Sept. 1169 to 13 Sept. 1170 CE) which devastated Syria affecting both Muslim and Crusader territories.
Ibn al-Dawadari Arabic
Biography

Ibn al-Dawadari was born in Cairo. The date of his birth and death is unknown and his background is obscure. Later in life, he moved to Damascus. He wrote several works in Arabic but few survive. He is most famous for Treasure of Pearls and the Collection of Shining Objects (Kanz al-durar wa-jāmiʿ al-ghurar ) which is an an abridgment in nine parts of a longer universal history entitled Durar al-tījān. An autograph manuscript of the Kanz is known. Ibn al-Dawādārī claims to have worked on the final draft between 1331 and 1335 CE. The last recorded event in his histories is from 1335 CE (wikipedia citing mostly the Encyclopedia of Islam).

Muslim between 1331 and 1335 CE Damascus and possibly Cairo
Account

Ibn al-Dawadari reported that there was a great earthquake in Aleppo, Baalbek, and their environs and many people were killed in A.H. 565 (25 Sept. 1169 to 13 Sept. 1170 CE). He also reported that a bottomless fissure opened up in the mountains overlooking Baalbek and that aftershocks lasted for months sometimes shaking day and night many times.

as-Suyuti Arabic
Biography

al-Suyuti is presently recognized as the most prolific author in the whole of Islamic literature (E. Geoffroy in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 9, 1991:913-916). He was widely read and famous across the Islamic world during his lifetime and was known for extreme self-confidence in his mental abilities (e.g. he had memorized 200,000 hadiths and was a polymath) which mingled with arrogance and created acrimonious relations inside Egypt (E. Geoffroy in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 9, 1991:913-916). E. Geoffroy in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 9 (1991:913-916) describes his procedure as scientific in so far as he quotes his sources with precision and presents them in a critical way and states that he cannot be considered as a mere compiler. He may have authored close to a thousand books writing on many subjects (e.g., History, Biography, Science) besides religion and Islamic jurisprudence. as-Suyuti was born in Egypt in 1445 CE and at the age of eighteen taught Shafi'i law at the mosque of Shaykhu and gave juridicial consultations. In 1472 CE, he became a teacher of hadith at the same mosque. In 1486 CE at the age of 40, as-Suyuti retired from public life. By 1501 CE, he had completely isolated himself in his home on Rawda Island in Cairo where he worked on the editing and revision of his literary works. He died there in 1505 CE (E. Geoffroy in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 9, 1991:913-916). His book Clearing up the Description of Earthquakes is a valuable reference for historical earthquakes and is one of the earliest extant earthquake catalogs.

Sufi Muslim 15th c. CE Cairo
Account

as-Suyuti reported that there was an earthquake in Syria, Mesopotamia and almost all the world in A.H. 565 (25 Sept. 1169 to 13 Sept. 1170 CE). It destroyed many walls and houses in Syria, more particularly at Damascus, Emessa, Apamea, Aleppo and Baalbek.

Other Authors
Text (with hotlink) Original Language Biographical Info Religion Date of Composition Location Composed Notes
Damage and Chronology Reports from Textual Sources

Timing of Shocks

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Time of Day
Source Reporting Location Time Notes
William of Tyre Phoenicia around sunrise In one passage, William of Tyre states that the earthquake struck towards the first hour of the day
Bar Hebraeus Monastery of Mar Hananya morning Bar Hebraeus quoted Michael the Syrian and added an additional detail (or accessed an earlier non extant textual variant) that the shaking Michael experienced in the Church of the Monastery of Mar Hananya occurred during morning services
Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) Syria/Aleppo sunrise

Earthquake vs. Earthquakes from Guidoboni et al (2004)
Seismic Effects

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Partial List of Seismic Effects
Effect Sources Notes
Aftershocks William of Tyre, Bar Hebraeus, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al_Jawzi, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din), Ibn al-Dawadari
  • William of Tyre said for three or four months or more; three or four times a day, and perhaps even more, by day and night, an awesome shaking of the earth was felt.
  • Bar Hebraeus said that the earthquake lasted twenty-five days.
  • Ibn al-Athir and Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) referred to a fear of or actual continuing shocks in Aleppo.
  • Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi said the Aleppo survivors fled to the countryside which suggests continuing aftershocks.
  • Ibn al-Dawadari wrote earthquakes lasted for months, sometimes shaking day and night many times.
Multiple shocks Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din)
  • Ibn al-Athir said that the earth shook a number of times in a terrifying way.
  • Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, and Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) referred to earthquakes (plural).
  • Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) wrote that these earthquakes had repeated themselves several times over several days or in a different translation there were large and frightening earthquakes, one after the next.
Long duration Bar Hebraeus
  • Bar Hebraeus said that the after a long time [the shaking ended]
earth fissure Neophytus Enkleistus, Annales Magdeburgenses 193, Ibn al-Dawadari
  • Ibn al-Dawadari wrote A bottomless fissure opened up in the mountains overlooking Baalbek.
  • In Annales Magdeburgenses 193 it was written one of these, swallowed up by an opening in the ground, gave the appearance only of flooded abysses.
  • Referring to Antioch, Neophytus Enkleistus wrote he said that not only was the earth severely shaken, but that it had groaned and cloven asunder and that the stones had been thrown down into a chasm. When the earth had come back together, the stones which were found around the akrocheila had flown up to the summit as if someone had thrown them there

Locations

All Locations

Cities, Towns, and Sites
Location Sources Notes
Aleppo William of Tyre, Michael the Syrian, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Bar Hebraeus, Ibn Wasil, Ibn al-Shaddad, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din), Robert of Torigni, Ibn al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti, Sembat, RHC a.Arm. 619/624
Antioch King Amalric I of Jerusalem, William of Tyre, Michael the Syrian, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Bar Hebraeus, Neophytus Enkleistus, Robert of Torigni, Chronica universalis Senonensis, Annales Magdeburgenses, Het'um Chronicle, Annales Gastinenses 774, Sembat, RHC a.Arm. 619/624
Tripoli King Amalric I of Jerusalem, William of Tyre, Michael the Syrian, Benjamin of Tudela, Robert of Torigni, Het'um Chronicle
Jableh King Amalric I of Jerusalem, William of Tyre, Michael the Syrian, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Bar Hebraeus
Arche King Amalric I of Jerusalem, Abu Shama, Het'um Chronicle Abu Shama lists the location as Arqa near Barin, Het'um Chronicle calls this Yarka
Krak des Chevaliers (aka Hisn al-Akrad) Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama
Gibelecar (Akkar) King Amalric I of Jerusalem
Laodicea in Syria (Latakia) King Amalric I of Jerusalem, William of Tyre, Michael the Syrian, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Bar Hebraeus, Het'um Chronicle
Hama William of Tyre, Michael the Syrian, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din), Benjamin of Tudela Abu Shama called it Huma
Homs (Emessa) William of Tyre, Michael the Syrian, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Bar Hebraeus, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din), as-Suyuti
Tyre William of Tyre, Het'um Chronicle
Damascus Michael the Syrian, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din), Robert of Torigni, as-Suyuti
Baalbek Ibn al-Athir, Bar Hebraeus, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din), Ibn al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti
Akko (Acre) Het'um Chronicle
Valanin Het'um Chronicle
Shayzar (Caesarea) William of Tyre, Ibn al-Athir, Bar Hebraeus, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din)
Ba'rin Ibn al-Athir, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) named this place Barain - According to Blochet (1900:41 n.1) citing Yakout (Mo'djem, t.I, p.465), Ba'rin is a small town between Homs and the Sahil (t.I, p.276) and is also known as Barain. Ba'rain, according to Yakout (Mo'djem, t.I, p.465) is between Aleppo and Hamah on the western side. See also nearby Montferrand castle
Safitha Abu Shama Chastel Blanc castle is nearby
Jerusalem Chronica universalis Senonensis
Raqqa (ar-Raqa) Abu Shama
Mosul Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din)
Sinjar Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Nisibin [Nusaybin] Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
al-Ruha [Edessa] Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Harran Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Mardin Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Baghdad Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Basra (?) Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Baghras Abu Shama
Apamea as-Suyuti
Church at the Monastery of Mar Hananya Michael the Syrian, Bar Hebraeus
Church of Nazareth Pope Alexander III
Regions
Location Sources Notes
Syria William of Tyre, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din), Annales Magdeburgenses, as-Suyuti, Abu'l-Fida
Jazira Ibn al-Athir, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din), as-Suyuti
Iraq Ibn al-Athir, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din)
Byzantine territory Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Euphrates Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Phoenicia William of Tyre
Outremer (Crusader States) Robert of Torigni, Chronica universalis Senonensis, Annales Floreffienses 625, Annales Gastinenses 774, Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din)
Muslim territories Robert of Torigni
Levantine coast Het'um Chronicle
The Land of Israel Benjamin of Tudela

Locations mentioned as unaffected or damage was light

Locations mentioned as unaffected or damage was light
Location Sources Notes
Palestine William of Tyre Ambraseys (2009) noted the following from comparing the Latin Historia with its old French translation
The remarks of both texts on the effects on Palestine are obscure. The Latin text says only that 'the superiors of our province, Palestine' (Superiores tamen nostrae provinciae, Palestinae videlicet) escaped harm, whereas the Old French asserts that 'the part of Palestine which is around Jerusalem did not suffer sufficient damage to lose towns or men' (en la terre de Palestine qui est vers Jerusalem, ne corut pas cist grant damage de perdre les viles ne les genz). The latter version would indicate that any damage in Palestine was slight.
Jerusalem Chronica universalis Senonensis Chronica universalis Senonensis states that the city of Jerusalem shook strongly, but it did not fall

Intensity Table of Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)



Intensity Table from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)



Intensity Table of Guidoboni et al (2004)
Intensities from Sbeinati et al (2005)

from Sbeinati et al, 2005

  • Damascus: VII-VIII
  • Homs: VII-VIII
  • Hama: VII-VIII
  • Al-Sham: VII-VIII
  • Lattakia: VII-VIII
  • Baalbak: VII-VIII
  • Shaizar: VII-VIII
  • Barin: VII
  • Aleppo: VII-VIII
  • Iraq: V
  • Al-Jazira: V
  • Al-Mousel: V

Letter and document from King Amalric I of Jerusalem

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

King Amalric I of Jerusalem, the son of King Fulk of Jerusalem and the brother of King Baldwin III of Jerusalem, ruled as King from 1162 to 1174 CE (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005:850).

Excerpts

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) report that in July-August 1170 CE, within 2 months of the earthquake, King Amalric I of Jerusalem sent a letter to King Louis VII of France which described the earthquake and made a plea for funds to rebuild.
English translation of the letter to King Louis VII from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

To Louis by the grace of God the most Christian king of the Franks, most dear lord and father, from Amalric, by the same grace of God king of Jerusalem, greetings. Amidst the daily torments of our enemies, which have so weakened the eastern church that it is close to ruin, there has come an extraordinary disaster through the just but hidden judgment of God. For on the day of the passion of the apostles Peter and Paul [29 June], a terrible earthquake suddenly and unexpectedly reduced the city of Tripoli to ruins, killing almost everyone who was there. It also shook Margat, Gabulum [Gabala] and Laodicea, and almost all the castles and towns between Tripoli and Antioch in such an amazing and indescribable way that no trace of buildings can be seen. In Antioch, too, quite apart from the fact that houses and other buildings were torn apart and almost all reduced to ruins, so that we are bound to speak with a deep groan of grief, town walls were damaged to such an extent that they seem to be beyond repair, and indeed they are. The result is that Antioch and Tripoli and their dependent provinces will be occupied by the enemies of the Cross of Christ, if Tripoli, Archas [Archis], Gibellum [Gibelacar], Laodicea, Margat and Antioch do not receive clandestine aid. But by the will of God, the land of the Gentiles is all laid waste, and their towns and fortresses have been more widely destroyed, not without some of their people being killed.

Original Latin of the letter to King Louis VII from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Ludovico dei gratia christianissimo Francorum regi, domino et patri karissimo, Amalricus per eandem gratiam Iherosolimorum rex salutem. Cotidianis, quibus Orientalis ecclesia usque ad sui defectum contunditur, inimicorum infestationibus, inusitata celitus iusto, sepe tamen oculto, dei iudicio accessit calamitas. In passione namquam apostolorum Petri et Pauli subitus et hactenus inauditus terre motus totam Tipolim funditus delevit et omnem fere in ea carnem suffocavit. Similiter Margat, Gabulum, Laodiciam et omnia pene castella et civitates, que suet a Tripoli usque Anthiochiam, miro et ineffabili modo excussit, ut nec edificiorum vestigia appareant. In Anthiochia quoque, quod non sine gravi gemitu loquimur, edificiorum et domorum, que ferme omnes corruerunt, discidium tacentes, tanta murorum ruina facta est, ut inreparabilis esse videatur et sit. Constat ergo quia Anthiochia et Tripolis cum provintiis sibi suffraganeis, nisi celitus .eis subveniatur, ab inimicis crucis Christi occupabuntur: Tripolis, Archas, Gibellum, Laodicia, Margat et Anthiochia. Sed deo disponente terra gentilium miserabilitus tota dissipata est urbesque et munitiones non sine suorum occisione latius deiecte.

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) also supplied an English translation from a document probably dating to 1170 where Amalric I ceded the castles of Archis (Arche) and Gibelacar to the [ Knights Hospitaller], on condition that they were rebuilt.
English translation of a document ceding ownership of the castles of Archis (Arche) and Gibelacar from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Since it is our duty devoutly to seek the common benefit of the Christian community by means of wise justice and intuitive reasoning, and to excel in many other good works, we have taken steps, in accordance with the dictates of Divine Clemency, to ensure that the castles of Arche and Gibelacar, which have been reduced to ruins by the earthquake, are not lost to the Christians. Let it therefore be known that [...] I, Amalric, by the grace of God, fifth king of the Latins of Jerusalem and regent of the County of Tripoli, have given to God and to the holy House of the Hospital and to Gilbert, by the grace of God, the venerable Master of the House, the above-mentioned castles of Arche and Gibelacar, in perpetuity with all their rights and appurtenances, in order that they shall be rebuilt [...]. In the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 1170, in the first indiction.

Original Latin document ceding ownership of the castles of Archis (Arche) and Gibelacar from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In nomine summe et individue trinitatis, patris filiii et spiritus sancti, amen. Quoniam communi christianitatis utilitati pie providere censura justicie et rationis intuitu ceteris etiam bonis operibus precellere dinoscitur, castro quod dicitur Arche et Gibelacar, terre motu funditus eversis, prout divina nobis administravit dementia, ne christiculis amitterentur subvenire curavimus Patet igitur scire volentibus quod ego Amalricus, Dei gratia Jerosolimorum rex Latinorum quintus, Tripolis comitatum procurans, Deo et sanctae domui Hospitalis Jerusalem, et Giberto, Dei gratia domus ejusdem venerabili magistro prenominata castra, Archas videlicet et Gibelacar, restauranda perhenniterque cum suis omnibus pertinentiis et juribus possedenda donavi Anno dominice incarnationis M C L XX, indiction prima.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
29 June 1170 CE on the day of the passion of the apostles Peter and Paul (letter to King Louis VII of France) in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 1170 (document ceding the castles of Archis (Arche) and Gibelacar to the Hospitallers) none
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

Appeal from Pope Alexander III

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Pope Alexander III ruled as Pope from 1159 until 1181 CE. He spent much of his papacy outside of Rome (wikipedia).

Excerpts

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) supply an English translation of a Latin document drawn up on 8 December 1170 on the orders of pope Alexander III which was requesting funds from the Church of France.
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Bishop Alexander, servant of the servants of God. Beloved sons, to all the faithful in the realm of France, [we give] apostolic blessing and [we wish them] good health. You will all have been able to learn, from the accounts of travellers, of the trials, tribulations, sufferings and troubles experienced by the towns, castles and other places in the Eastern Lands; nevertheless, it has seemed appropriate to us, not without much concern, to remind you of these things, and to urge you even more insistently to exercise your charity in the face of these disasters. By the inscrutable will of God, many towns and castles have been wholly or partly reduced to ruins or razed to the ground by the earthquake, and a multitude of people have lost their lives in the ruins. And emboldened by this, the enemies of Christ have tyrannically occupied some Christian places. Amongst these is a large and populous village belonging to the Church of Nazareth, where, for their sins, clergy and other inhabitants have been taken prisoner. For this reason, and because of other troubles, the canons of the above-mentioned church find themselves in a state of such want and poverty that, unless the other faithful come to their aid, they will no longer be able to remain in His church and pay their Creator his tribute. [-J. Issued at Tuscolo on the sixth day before the Ides of December [8 December]

Latin from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Alexander episcopus servus servorum Dei. Dilectis filiis universis fidelibus per regnum Francie constitutis salutem et apostolicam benedictionem. Civitatum, castellorum et aliorum locorum, terre Orientalis desolationem, tribulationes et angustias, pariter et dolores, licet ex relatione commeantium vestra potuerit universitas didicisse, vobis tamen non sine merore necessarium duximus significare et ad compassionem tantorum malorum vestram sollicitare studiosius caritatem. Divino siquidem et occulto iudicio faciente ex terre motu plures civitates et oppida, quedam ex toto, quedam ex parte diruta et funditus evulsa, in ruina quorum ingens hominum multitudo est suffocate. Unde quidam inimici contrarii Christi audaciam assumentes nonnulla loca Christianorum invasion tyrannica occuparunt; inter quae magnum et populosum casale ecclesie Nazarene peccatis exigentibus capientes clericos et ceteros habitatores in captivitatem duxerunt. Inde est, quod canonici prescripte ecclesie turn ex hoc, turn ex aliis malis et angustiis supervenientibus ad tantam devenere inopiam et paupertatem, quod nisi a Dei fidelibus adiuventur, in ecclesia sua non poterunt diutius ad summi conditoris obsequium permanere. Datum Tusculano VI idus decembris.

Chronology

Date of the earthquake is not specified.

Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

Historia by William of Tyre

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

William of Tyre was born in Jerusalem around 1130 CE, spent about 20 years studying in Western Europe, and returned to Jerusalem in 1165 CE (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:13). Sometime later, he became the archdeacon of Tyre and for much of his career he was involved in diplomacy (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:16). He also tutored King Baldwin IV (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005:909). From 1169 until sometime before the end of 1170 CE, William was back in Europe (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:16-17). In addition to his official duties, William was also a historian. His only surviving work was written in Latin between 1170 and 1184 CE and is variously known as Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum (History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea), Historia Ierosolymitana (History of Jerusalem) or frequently by its shortened title Historia (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:24-26). An anonymous translation and continuation of Historia into Vulgar French was made between 1220 and 1277 CE into a new text variously known as History of Heraclius (Estoire d'Eracles), L'estorie de Eracles empereur et la conqueste de la terre d'Outremer, or Livre du conquest (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005 and Helen Nicholson in Murray, 2006: v. 2, p. 405). William is said to have understood Greek and Arabic (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005:909) although this assumption has been challenged (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:45 n.2). In his prologue to Historia, William stated that he had no access to Greek or Arabic written sources (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:44) however since he wrote a book on Islamic History (which did not survive), he may have, in fact, used some Arabic materials. He died sometime before 1186 CE (Edbury and Rowe, 1991:22).

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

A very great earthquake struck almost the whole of the East, and destroyed some very ancient cities. The following summer, that is to say in the seventh year of king Amalric's reign [King Amalric I of Jerusalem, 1163-1174], in the month of June, there was an earthquake of such violence in eastern parts that none greater is known to the memory of man in this century. It reduced to ruins some of the most ancient and best fortified cities in all the East, plunging their inhabitants into disaster and reducing buildings to rubble, with the result that there were very few survivors. From one end of these lands to the other, there was no place where families did not lose a member or suffer some domestic tragedy: lamentations and funerals were everywhere. Amongst these places, even cities in our provinces of Coelesyria and Phoenicia - great cities ennobled by their centuries-old history, have collapsed in ruins. In Coelesyria, the earthquake totally destroyed the city of Antioch, the capital of many provinces and once the head of many realms, killing its inhabitants. Its walls and the very strong towers along their circuit - a work of incomparable strength - were shaken with such violence, together with churches and other buildings, that even today, in spite of continuous work, enormous expenditure, constant care and devoted zeal, they can scarcely be said to have been restored to an acceptable condition. The coastal towns of Gabulum [Gabala] and Laodicea in the same province were also destroyed, as well as other inland towns held by the enemy: Verea - also called Halapia [Aleppo] - Cesara [Shayzar], Hama, Emissa [Hims] and many others; not to mention countless smaller places. In Phoenicia, furthermore, on the third day before the Calends of July [29 June], towards the first hour of the day, the noble and populous city of Tripoli was suddenly shaken by so violent an earthquake that scarcely anyone who was there escaped alive. The whole city became a heap of rubble, burying the inhabitants, and crushing them beneath this public tomb. At Tyre, the most famous city in the province, on the other hand, an even more violent earthquake proved to be no danger to the population, though it did cause the collapse of some very solidly built towers. In enemy territory as well as our own, towns were seen to be half in ruins, and therefore helpless before the wiles and attacks of their enemies. Consequently, as long as each one feared to bring down upon himself the wrath of the stern judge, he took care not to injure his neighbour. Each had his own sufficient troubles, and since domestic affairs brought their own problems, harming one's neighbour was abandoned. A brief truce was arranged, thanks to the efforts of men, and a treaty was drawn up out of fear of divine judgment. And since each man expected due heavenly punishment for his sins, he held back from hurling himself upon the usual objects of his hostility, and curbed his aggression. In this case, divine wrath manifested itself not just once, as usually happens, but for three or four months or more; three or four times a day, and perhaps even more, by day and night, an awesome shaking of the earth was felt. Every shock was regarded with apprehension, and nowhere was it possible to live in calm and safety. And even the minds of those who slept were so cast down by the fears of waking hours, that the calm of sleep was broken, and their bodies suddenly shook in agitation. However, our upper provinces - Palestine, that is to say - with all that they contain, were spared these great ills by the grace of God.

Latin from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

18. Terremotus maximus pene universum concutit Orientem et urbes deicit antiquissimas.

Estate vero sequente, anno videlicet domini Amalrici septimo, mense Iunio, tantus tamque vehemens circa partes Orientales terremotus factus est, quantus qualisque memoria seculi presentis hominum nunquam legitur accidisse. Hic universi Orientalis tractus urbes antiquissimas et munitissimas funditus diruens, habitatores earum ruina involvens edificiorum casu contrivit, ut ad exiguam redigeret paucitatem. Non erat usque ad extremum terre locus, quem familiaris iactura, dolor domesticus non angeret: ubique luctus, ubique funebria tractabantur. Inter quas et provinciarum nostrarum Celessyrie et Phenicis urbes quam maximas et serie seculorum antiquitate nobiles, solotenus deiecit: in Celessyria multarum provinciarum metropolim olimque multorum moderatricem regnorum Antiochiam cum populo in ea commorante, stravit funditus, menia et in eorum circuitu turres validissimas, incomparabilis soliditatis opera, ecclesias et quelibet edificia tanto subvertit impetu, quod usque hodie multis laboribus, sumptis inmensis, continua sollicitudine et indefesso studio vix possint saltem ad statum mediocrem reparari. Ceciderunt in eadem provincia urbes egregie, de maritimis quidem Gabulum et Laodicia, de mediterraneis vero, licet ab hostibus detinerentur, Verea, que alio nomine dicitur Halapia, Cesara, Hamam, Emissa et alie multe, municipiorum autem non erat numerus. In Phenice autem Tripolis, civitas nobilis et populosa, tercio Kalendas Iulii tanto terremotus impetu circa primam diei horam subito concussa est, ut vix uni de omnibus, qui infra eius ambitum reperti sunt, salutis via pateret: facta est tota civitas quasi agger lapidum et oppressorum civium tumulus et sepulchrum publicum. Sed et Tyri, que est eiusdem provincie metropolis famosissima, terremotus violentior, absque tamen civium periculo, turres quasdam robustissimas deiecit. Inveniebantur tam apud nos quam apud hostes opida semiruta, insidiis et hostium viribus late patentia, sed dum quisque districti iudicis iram sibi metuit, alium molestare pertimescit. Sufficit cuique dolor suus et dum quemlibet cura fatigat domestica, alii differt inferre molestias: facta est, sed brevis, pax, hominum studio procurata, et foedus compositum, divinorum iudiciorum timore conscriptum, et dum indignationem peccatis suis debitam expectat quisque desuper, ab his que hostiliter solent inferri manum revocat et impetus moderatur. Nec ad horam, ut plerumque solet, fuit ista ire dei revelatio, sed tribus aut quattuor mensibus, vel etiam eo amplius, ter aut quater vel plerumque saepius vel in die vel in nocte sentiebatur motus ille tam formidabilis. Omnis motus iam suspectus erat et nusquam tuta quies inveniebatur, sed et dormientis animus plerumque, quod vigilans timuerat perhorrescens, in subitum saltum, rupta quiete, corpus agitari compellebat. Superiores tamen nostre provincie, Palestine videlicet, horum omnium domino protegente fuerunt expertes malorum.

Other excerpts

Multiple versions of Historia exist. Three are shown and discussed below

  1. Historia in Latin

  2. An anonymous translation into Vulgar French made between 1220 and 1277 CE and variously titled History of Heraclius (Estoire d'Eracles), L'estorie de Eracles empereur et la conqueste de la terre d'Outremer, or Livre du conquest

  3. An abridged English translation of Historia made by Samuel Purchas in 1614 CE

Commentary by Ambraseys (2009) on differences between three texts (Latin, French, and English)

Ambraseys (2009) noted the following from comparing the three texts.

Three different versions of William's account are extant: a Latin text, an Old French text and the abridged English translation by the travel writer Samuel Purchas (c. 1577-1626). The Latin text is rhetorical and self-consciously literary in its style, and, therefore, may well exaggerate the earthquake's effects, although in terms of content it closely resembles the briefer and plainer Old French version. Both texts agree that the event took place on 29 June (3 Kal. July in the Latin, Feast of Sts Peter and Paul in the Old French: from the narrative context, it is clear that the year is 1170), at the first hour of the day, i.e. 6 am, and that Jabalah, Laodicea, Aleppo, Shaizar and Hama/Haman (Hamah) were seriously damaged. The Latin text adds `Emissa' (Hims). Regarding aftershocks, the Latin text claims that they lasted 'three or four months, or longer', the Old French `nearly four months'. These two texts agree that aftershocks were felt three or four times per day or night. The remarks of both texts on the effects on Palestine are obscure. The Latin text says only that 'the superiors of our province, Palestine' (Superiores tamen nostrae provinciae, Palestinae videlicet) escaped harm, whereas the Old French asserts that 'the part of Palestine which is around Jerusalem did not suffer sufficient damage to lose towns or men' (en la terre de Palestine qui est vers Jerusalem, ne corut pas cist grant damage de perdre les viles ne les genz). The latter version would indicate that any damage in Palestine was slight.

Purchas' summary translation gives `Hanuin' where the Latin and Old French texts above have Hama/Haman. While this may just be an error, either in Purchas or in the Latin text which he was using (which may well have been different from the text established in modern editions), it is noteworthy that there was a Frankish fortress just over 30 km from Baniyas called Hunain (Le Strange 1890, 418; Dussaud 1927, 25), which was within the area affected by the earthquake.

Historia in Latin

English translation from Ambraseys (2009)

In the summer of the following year, which was the seventh year of the Lord Amalric, in the month of June, there was an earthquake around Eastern parts which was greater and more violent than any which were said to have happened in the memory of men of the present century. It razed to the ground a swathe of most ancient and well-fortified cities throughout the whole Orient, burying their inhabitants in the ruins and causing the collapse of buildings so as to reduce them to grinding poverty. There was no place, even as far as the ends of the earth, where there was not the distress of familial bereavement or domestic sorrow: everywhere there was grief and death to be faced. Among the places [affected] were the greatest cities of our provinces of Syria and Phoenicia - distinguished for their antiquity through the progression of centuries, they were utterly razed. In Caelo- Syria, Antioch, the metropolis of many provinces and once the mistress of many kings, was completely flattened together with its residents; the walls, its great strong towers, which were constructions of incomparable solidity, churches, and all manner of buildings were overthrown by the shock. Even today, and with much work, vast sums of money, continual care and tireless devotion [the Antiochenes] have been unable to restore it even to a mediocre standard. In the same province those famous maritime cities, Gabul [Jabalaj and Laodicea, also fell down; and in the Mediterranean districts which are held by the enemy, Berrhoe, which is also called Halapia [Aleppo], Caesara [Shaizar], Hama, Emissa and many other [cities collapsed]; and of the dependent towns which were affected, no number can be given. And in Phoenicia, Tripolis, that noble and populous city was struck on 3 Kal July at the 1st hour of the day by such a shock that there was no escape for scarcely anyone roundabouts. The whole city became as a pile of stones, a tomb of crushed citizens, and a public sepulchre. Even Tyre, which is the much famed metropolis of the same province, had its citizenry endangered and its robust towers thrown down by a more violent earthquake. They found that, as for us, so for the enemy, with the cities half-ruined; they were open to hostile attacks. Thus while each feared the wrath of a strict judge, he feared to molest the other. For each side their own grief was enough, and as long as domestic concerns weighed on them, they put off inflicting harm on the other. Therefore there was peace, albeit briefly ...

And this revelation of divine anger did not last merely an hour, as is mostly the case, but during the [following] three or four months, or longer, this terrifying movement [of the ground] was felt three or four times or more per day or night. For every [ground] movement was mistrusted, and nowhere was safe repose to be found. But often when a man was sleeping his soul, ever watchful, would tremble with fear and suddenly shatter his repose and cause his body to shake. However the superiors of our province, Palestine, under the protection of God, escaped all these evils. (Will. Tyr. RHC xviii/971-973 Lat.).

History of Heraclius (a Vulgar French translation from the original Latin)

English from Ambraseys (2009)

In the summer following that year, in the month of June there were earthquakes [lit. "collapses"] in these parts of the land of Syria greater in size than had ever been heard of for across the entire country it struck many of the ancient cities and the fortifications of many castles. The inhabitants were buried in the ruins, so great was the number of all kinds of people buried in the ground. In the country which is called Caelo-Syria the most part of the walls and houses of the noble city of Antioch collapsed: several churches collapsed, which it was hardly possible to repair and restore to their former state. In these parts two fine coastal cities also collapsed in the earthquake, Gibel [Jabala] and Lalische [Laodicea]. Others which are in enemy territory also collapsed, viz. Halape [Aleppo], Cesaire [Shaizar] and Haman. Very large numbers of castles collapsed in the land of Phoenicia. On the day of the feast of the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, around the hour of Prime [c. 6 am], the ground suddenly collapsed in the city of Tripolis. So badly was the ground affected that it resembled no more than a pile of stones, and entombed all the people who were buried underneath it. There was [also] destruction in the famous city of Tyre: while not many people were killed, some great towers collapsed and were reduced to rubble. One also saw on the land there fortifications which had been breached and were damaged. It would [thus] have been an easy thing for the Turks to have conquered our cities and castles on a large scale, but such was their fear even at the wrath which had come from Our Lord that they had no facility for making war; it was the same for us Christians, as each sought to have himself shriven and to repent of his sins and await the death which was before him, giving no thought at this time to taking up arms. And this upheaval which had struck the earth was not all finished, but it went on for nearly four months: three or four times per day or night, an earthquake [crolle] was felt in a town. Everyone was in such a state of fear that it took only the slightest noise to make them believe that they were about to die. Such was the misery of the living that they were unable to mourn for the dead: while they slept they had no repose, nor did they stop trembling, and it seemed to them that their houses would collapse on them. By the grace of Our Lord, the part of Palestine which is around survived. (Will. Tyr. RHC xviii. 971-973 Old Fr.).

French from Ambraseys (2009)

History of Herclius Manuscript
Section describing the 1170 CE earthquake from a Manuscript of the History of Heraclius (Creative Commons License)


CHAPITRE XVIIIb

Du grant crolle qui avint au tens le roi Amauri.

En l'esté qui vint après de cel an meismes, el mois de juing, si granz crolles avint en ces parties de la terre de Surie que l'en n'avoit onques mès oï parler à cel tens de si grant, quar il abati partout le païs grant partie des anciennes citez et les forteresces de raeinz chastiaux; les abiteeurs escachit des ruines, si que mout fu li nombres apeticiez en la terre de toutes manières de genz. En la contrée que l'en apele Celesurie fu fondue la greindre partie des murs et des mesons de la noble citez d'Antioche ; des eglyses meismes cheirent pluseurs qui à peinne porent puis estre trefaites et mises en tel point comme eles avoient esté devant. En ces parties meismes cheirent deus bones citez seur la marine , Gibel et La- lische. Des autres qui sont enmi la terre, là endroit, fondirent : Halape, Cesaire et Haman. Des chastiaux qui einssint perillierent estoit li nombres trop granz en la terre de Fenice. Le jor de la feste as deus glorieus apostres seint Pere etseint Pol, entour eure de prime, crolia soudeinement la terre dedenz la cité de Triple. Si durement fu la terre despeciée quele ne sembloit que uns murgier de pierre -, et estoit uns granz sépulcres des pueples et de genz qui desouz estoient escachiées. En la cité de Sur qui estoit renomée citez, fu li crolles. Là n'ot mie mout grant planté de gent perilliées, mès des gregneurs tors qui en la vile fussent, cheirent jus sor mesons et seur moustiers. L'en trovoit lors par la terre assez forteresces descloses et descomfites. Lors estoit legiere chose as Turs de conquerre seur nos citez et chastiaux à grant planté , mès aus meismes avoient tel paor de cele vengence qui de Nostre Seigneur venoit que il navoient nul talant de mouvoir guerre; ausint estoit il de nos crestiens, quar chascuns pensoit à soi fere comfès et repenti de ses péchiez por atendre la mort qui leur estoit devant les euls, ne leur souvenoit à cel point de porter armes. Icele tempeste qui einsint coroit por la terre ne fu mie toute finée, quar ele dura près de qatre mois, si que trois foiz ou qatre, entre jor et nuit, sentoit l'en le crolle en une vile. Tuit estoient en tel esfroi que l'en n'oïst jà si petite noise que chascuns ne cuidast morir tantost ; tel poor avoient cels qui vivoient d'els meismes que il ne pooient entendre à plorer les morz; en dormant n avoient il point de repox, ne finoient de tressaillir, et leur sembloit que leur mesons fondoient souz aus. Par la grâce Nostre Seigneur, en la terre de Palestine qui est vers Jérusalem , ne corut pas cist granz domage de perdre les viles ne les genz.
Footnotes

b Chapitre xvi.

Latin from Ambraseys (2009)

CAPITULUM XVIII6a

Terrae motus maximus pene universmn concutit Orientem, et urbes dejicit antiquissimas. iEstate vero scquente, anno videlicet domini Amalrici septimo7a , mense Junio, tantus, tamque vehemens circa partes orientales terrœ motus factus est, quantus. qualisque memoria seculi praesentis hominum, nunquam legitur acfcidisse. Hic universi orientalis tractus urbès antiquissimas et munitissimas , funditus diruens, habita tores earum ruina involvens, aedificiorum casu contrivit, ut ad exiguam redigeret paucitatem. Non erat usque ad extremum terrae locus quem familiaris jactura, dolor domesticus non angeret : ubique luctus, ubique funebria tractabantur. Inter quas et provinciarum nostrarum, Syriae et Phœnicis, urbes quam maximas, et série seculorum antiquitate nobiles, solotenus dejecit. In Cœ- lesyria, multarum provinciarum metropolim, olimque multorum moderatricem regnorum, Antiochiam, cum populo in ea commorante, stravit funditus; mœnia, et in eorum circuitu turres validissimas, incomparabilis soliditatis opéra, ecclesias, et quaelibet aedificia tanto subvertit impetu , quod usque hodie multis laboribus , sumptibus immensis1b , continua sollicitudine , et indefesso studio vix possunt saltem ad statum mediocrem reparari. Ceciderunt in eadem provincia urbes egre- giae de maritimis quidem, Gabulum et Laodicia; de mediterraneis vero, licet ab hostibus detinerentur, Berœa2b , quae alio nomine dicitur Halapia, Caesara3b , Hamam4b, Emissâ5b, et aliae multae; municipiorum autem non erat numerus. In Phœnice6b autem, Tripolis, civitâs nobilis et populosa, tertio kalendas7b julii, tanto terrae motus impetu, circa primam dieihoram, subito concussa est, ut vix uni de omnibus, qui infra ejus ambitum reperti sunt, salutis via pateret. Facta est tota civitas quasi agger lapidum, et oppressorum civium tumulus, et sepulchrum pu- blicum. Sed et Tyri, quae est ejusdem provinciae metropolis famosissima, terrae- motus violentior8b absque tamen civium periculo, turres quasdam robustissimas, dejecit. Inveniebantur, tam apud nos, quam apud hostes oppida semiruta, insidiis9b et hostium viribus late patentia. Sed dum quisque districti judicis iram sibi metuit, alium molestare pertimescit, Sufficit cuique dolor suus, et dum quemlibet cura fatigat domestica, alii differt inferre molestias. Facta est, sed brevis, pax T hominum studio procurata, et fœdus compositum, divinorum judiciorum timoré conscriptum1c; et dum indignationem peccatis suis debitam expec- tat quisque desuper, ab his2c quae hostiliter soient3c inferri manum revocat, et impe- tus moderatur. Nec ad horam, ut plerumque solet, fuit ista ira Dei revelatio; sed tribus aut quatuor mensibus, vel etiameo ampli us, ter aut quater vel plerumque saepius, vel in die vel in nocte, sentiebatur motus ille tam formidabilis. Omnis motus jam suspectus erat, et nusquam tuta quies inveniebatur4c Sed et dormientis animus plerumque quod vigilans timuerat perhorrescens, in subitum saltum, rupta quiete, corpus agitari compellebat, Superiores tamen nostrae provinciae, Palestine videlicet, horum omnium, Domino protegente, fuerunt expertes malorum.
Footnotes

6a XVII. B. — XIX. C. E.

7a Leg. nono. Cf. Wilken, op. cit. p. 140. n. 140. Al. n'estoient.

1b Et sumptibus immensis. E.

2b Verea. A. B. C. — Nerea. E.

3b Cf. lib. XVIII, cap. xviii, p. 849.

4b Aman. B. A. C. — Hamum. F.

5b Nempe Emesa quae et Emissa dicitur in Amm. Marc. XIV, 26. Ptolem. et Steph. Byz.

6b Phœnicia. E.

7b Kalendarum. E.

8b Violenter. E.

9b Et insidiis. E.

1c Confectum. A.

2c Iis. E.

3c Solent hostiliter. E.

4c Inveniebatur quies. E.

Abridged English translation from Purchas (1614)

The year following [1169] a most terrible earthquake, utterly overthrowing strong cities, involving the inhabitants in the ruins, filling every place in the land with laments. Thus fared it with the cities of Syria and Phoenicia throwne to the ground, and Antiochia in Coelesyria was quite overthrowne; the walls, towers, churches, houses so ruined, that to this day they cannot be reduced to a meane restoration. Gabul, Laodicea, Nerea called otherwise Halapia, Caesara, Hanuin, Emissa, and many other cities in the province, townes without number, fared likewise. Tripolis was made a heape of stones, and publike sepulchres scarcely any escaping. Tyrus lost her towers. These terrors continued three or foure monthes, thrice or foure times a day. (Will. Tyr. Purchas vii).

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
~6-7 am 29 June 1170 CE first hour of the day ... on the third day before the Calends of July none
  • third day before the Calends of July is the same as saying 3 days before the start of July - which equates to 29 June
  • Year is not provided in the excerpt but is assumed as 1170 CE by Guidoboni and Comastri (2005), Ambraseys (2009), and other editions and translations indicating that the year can be deduced from other parts of the text.
  • 29 June 1170 CE fell on a Monday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Seismic Effects Locations
Footnotes

1 Ambraseys (2009) noted the following when comparing the Latin and French versions with an abridged English translation by Purchas (1614)

Purchas' summary translation gives `Hanuin' where the Latin and Old French texts above have Hama/Haman. While this may just be an error, either in Purchas or in the Latin text which he was using (which may well have been different from the text established in modern editions), it is noteworthy that there was a Frankish fortress just over 30 km from Baniyas called Hunain (Le Strange 1890, 418; Dussaud 1927, 25), which was within the area affected by the earthquake.
2 Ambraseys (2009) noted the following from comparing the Latin Historia with its old French translation
The remarks of both texts on the effects on Palestine are obscure. The Latin text says only that 'the superiors of our province, Palestine' (Superiores tamen nostrae provinciae, Palestinae videlicet) escaped harm, whereas the Old French asserts that 'the part of Palestine which is around Jerusalem did not suffer sufficient damage to lose towns or men' (en la terre de Palestine qui est vers Jerusalem, ne corut pas cist grant damage de perdre les viles ne les genz). The latter version would indicate that any damage in Palestine was slight.

Sources
William's Sources from Edbury and Rowe (1991)

Edbury and Rowe (1991:44-45) supplied the following about Williams's sources

In the Prologue William had something to say about how he set about gathering information. He stated that he had had access to no Greek or Arabic written sources and, excepting the few things he had witnessed in person, he had been informed solely by traditions ('solis traditionibus instructi').2 What in fact he had were his own experiences, the memories of others, oral traditions passed on from one generation to another, a certain amount of formal documentation preserved in the archives, the writings of those earlier Christian or pagan authors referred to in the previous chapter, and some earlier narrative histories of the Crusade. At first sight it may seem strange that he should either leave these earlier Crusade histories out of the reckoning or should lump them together with the oral sources of information as traditions. But it is important to see these remarks in context. William had just been describing his Oriental History and had made it clear that he had relied largely on the work of Sa'id ibn Batrik. We may surmise that, in the absence of other information on the course of Muslim history, he had followed this author closely and had regarded his work as authoritative. In contrast, when he wrote the Historia he not only used no Greek or Arabic text, he lacked any work he could treat as an authority. It is true he used older narrative materials, but he did not feel obliged to accept their every detail: they were traditions which happened to be in written form, not definitive statements to be regarded as the inviolable truth. In consequence the Historia is not a compendium of information consisting of a received body of material from the periods before William's own generation and then his account of his own day. Instead it is in its entirety a work of critical perception. William could handle the events of the present generation to his own satisfaction; as for the events of earlier generations, he had to use his historical acumen as best he might to gain his understanding from the traditions at his disposal.3
Footnotes

2 WT, Prologue, lines 89-91. In a sense William did employ Arabic materials in the Historia, to the extent that he may have incorporated material from his own Oriental History, notably in the early chapters of Book 1: see WT, 1, 1—2. The assumption that he was familiar with Greek and Arabic has recently been challenged: see WT, pp. 2-3.

3 Note the contrast between William's approach and the less sophisticated medieval historiographical tradition which made a much sharper distinction between the historian's perception of events in his own lifetime and his dependence on his authorities for earlier events. On this point, with reference to the earlier twelfth- century writer William of Malmesbury, see M. Chibnall, The World of Orderic Vitalis (Oxford, 1984), pp. 170-1.

Edbury and Rowe (1991:53-57) supplied the following discussion about Williams's sources during his own times
If William is to be believed, it was with something of a sigh of relief that he could move from his description of past events to an account of his own times. His preamble to Book xvi continues:
But what follows from now on is in part what we have observed as an eyewitness and in part what has been passed on to us by the trustworthy account of those who were present at the events. And so, relying on this two-fold support, with the aid of God, we shall set down what remains for future reading more easily and more faithfully. For the memory normally recalls recent times more accurately, and the impression that things seen make on the mind is not so easily forgotten as things learnt of solely by word of mouth.33
But the problem still remains of the extent to which he himself was an eyewitness. In the Prologue he spoke of the 'few things which we ourselves have beheld with our own eyes',34 and it is likely that this is not just an example of false modesty. From the mid-1140s until 1165 William was in the West, and so, except for childhood reminiscences such as his sighting of Patriarch Ralph of Antioch, he was totally dependent on hearsay until his return.35 But even for the years of his public life in the Latin kingdom as described in Books XIXto XXIII he may not have observed many events at first hand.36 For example, he never to our knowledge actually participated in a military campaign or carried the relic of the Cross into war.37 Yet these books are full of accounts of military activity. What we have, therefore, are his informants' reports leavened by his own insight and imagination. It may also be wondered whether he spent as much time at the court of King Baldwin IV as is commonly supposed. As we have seen, there is reason to believe that, even although he held the office of chancellor, he was not in regular attendance on the king.38 But the difficulty lies partly in the manner in which he reported events. Thus it is only the fact that three days later he was appointed archdeacon of Tyre that leads us to suspect that he had been present at the marriage of King Amaury and Maria Comnena: otherwise, except possibly for his remarks about Amaury's attire at the wedding, there is nothing to indicate that he was an eyewitness.39

...

William related a certain amount about his own activities, but only so much. The result is that the historian cannot always be certain whether his impersonal account of a particular event means that he only knew of it at second hand or that he was directly involved but was reticent about pushing himself to the forefront of his narrative.

...

So if William was not strictly speaking as an eyewitness of most of what he recorded, how did he gather his information? Of the failure of the Second Crusade to capture Damascus, he wrote:
I recall that I frequently enquired of the more generally prudent men and of those whose memory of that time was still quite fresh, so that by taking the greatest care to find out the facts I might set down in the present history the reason behind so great an evil and the identities of the authors of so great a crime.
...

What we cannot know, once William's literary sources are behind us, is how carefully he walked that invisible line between legitimate imagination and serious distortion. This problem becomes acute when we consider his reliance on information gathered at second or third hand and the role of rumour and hearsay in the construction of the Historia. That he recorded things he understood simply as rumour is unquestioned.

...

Except where he himself was an eyewitness, William was dependent on the written or oral information he had been able to acquire. But in assessing this information he relied on his own expertise and education, and it was only after he had brought his own critical scrutiny to bear upon it that, suitably refashioned, it could pass into writing. Significantly, there are few miracle stories in the Historia and few incidents, such as the circumstances of the death of Baldwin III, which not only arouse disbelief but also leave us wondering how he could have allowed himself to present his material so unconvincingly. Not much that is miraculous or selfevidently fictitious has got through William's grid. His intellect, insight and training in rhetoric combined to set criteria by which he could evaluate his data. The problem, as he himself perceived, was that the reliability of his information varied considerably. Inevitably this carried over into the Historia itself, with the result that not all his statements are of equal authority. So, before accepting his information and standpoint on any particular incident, historians have to be on their guard and consider carefully the nature and reliability of his own sources. It is dangerous to cite him indiscriminately and out of context. What William had set out to do was to divine the truth from his sources and his own experience.
Footnotes

33 WT, xvi, preface, lines 6-14.

34 WT, Prologue, line 91.

35 See above, p. 14.

36 Specific allusions to William as an eyewitness are rare. For an example, see WT, XVIII, 3, lines 53-6.

37 Note his dependence on his informants for the Egyptian campaigns of 1167 (XIX, 18, lines 1-5; 25, lines 13-15), 1168 (XX, 7, lines 25-6), and 1169 (XX, 17, lines 28-40), and for the Mont Gisard campaign of 1177 (XXI, 22, lines 5-8), with the clear implication that he himself was not present.

38 See above, pp. 19-20.

39 WT, xx, I.

Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Will. Tyr. C: William of Tyre (C), Contains L’estoire de Eracles, RHC, H.Occ., vol. 2, Paris, 1859 (13th century), Historia Rerum in Partibus Transmarinis Gestarum, RHC. H.Occ., vol. 1, Paris, 1894. William of Tyre, trans. New York, 1943; reprinted Glasgow: J. Maclehose & Sons, 1905–7.

Will. Tyr.: William of Tyre, Willemi Tyrensis Archiepiscopi Chronicon, ed. R. Huygens, Corpus Christianorum: mediaevalis continuatio, vol. LXIII; RHC H.Occ. vol. 1 (Latin and Old French); Hakluytus Postumus, or Purchas his Pilgrimes (contains a trans. of Will. Tyr. by S. Purchas (c. 1577–1626), reprinted Glasgow: J. Maclehose & Sons, 1905–7).

William of Tyre, Chronicon, ed. R.B.G.Huygens, identification des sources historiques et determination des dates par H.E.Mayer et G.Rosch, CC-CM 63-63A, Turnhout 1986.

Purchas, S. (1614), Purchas his pilgrimage - online at archive.org

Purchas, S. (1614), Hakluytus posthumus, or Purchas his pilgrimes - online at archive.org

Estoire: L’Estoire de Eracles empereur, Recueil des historiens des croisades H.Occ., vol. 2, pp. 244–457, Paris, 1859. - online at Bnf Gallica

Estoire: L’Estoire de Eracles empereur, Recueil des historiens des croisades H.Occ., vol. 2, pp. 244–457, Paris, 1859. - online at archive.org

Recueil des historiens des croisades - has links to online versions

Edbury, P. W. and J. G. Rowe (1991). William of Tyre: Historian of the Latin East, Cambridge University Press.

Edbury, P (2020) The Old French Translation of William of Tyre and Templars Peter Edbury

Alan V. Murray (ed.). 2006, The Crusades: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO

Podcast on Williams of Tyre from Fordham University

Manuscript of History of Heraclius - shows the artwork nd calligraphy

Notes
Characterization of Historia by Edbury and Rowe (1991)

Edbury and Rowe (1991:26-27, 30-31) characterized Historia as follows:

In so large a work, composed over the course of a number of years, it comes as no surprise to find on close examination flaws and unevenness. Chronology is sometimes confused and dates are given wrongly; thus historians have long recognized that many of the accession dates William supplied for the kings of Jerusalem and their regnal years are inaccurate. In places the connection between events described is inadequately explained.

...

William clearly subjected the work to revisions, some of which proved more effective than others, but his insertions, especially the documentation relating to the ecclesiastical province of Tyre in Book xiv, are sometimes clumsy. What is remarkable - and this is testimony to his mastery of the craft of historical writing - is that these blemishes and inconsistencies are not far more numerous.

The fact that there are blemishes and inconsistencies preserved in the text as it has come down to us allows us to detect something of how William set about writing and how, over the years, his own vision as a historian developed. But only to a limited extent. What they do not do is give much indication of how rapidly his composition of the Historia progressed or when precisely he wrote a particular passage. In the years 1181-2 he introduced fresh material in the course of his revisions. The problem, however, remains that, whereas a number of the alterations and insertions made at that time can be identified with some degree of confidence, it is by no means always clear where they begin and the original drafting ends, and so the task of dating the surrounding material is made all the more difficult. It is therefore hazardous to attempt to link William's understanding of past events with specific incidents in his own day which could have had a bearing on his writing.

...

The Historia lerosolymitana is thus complete in the sense that when William laid down his pen there was nothing more he then wished to record, incomplete in the sense that he intended to go on writing. But his achievement is impressive, and the work as it stands possesses a clear organizational scheme. The first eight books deal with the history of the First Crusade. Thereafter the work is divided by reign: each king of Jerusalem being allotted two books except the uncrowned Godfrey of Bouillon, who is given one; Baldwin III, whose twenty-year reign (1143-63) was the longest of any of the twelfth-century kings, who is given three; and Baldwin IV, who is given two plus what little there is of Book xxm. Book xi covers the longest span, fourteen years; most of the others cover between five and eight years. Taken as a whole, the narrative of the years 1099-1184 is remarkably evenly spaced. The account of the period from 1165, when William himself was living in the East, is not given in appreciably greater detail - the years 1167 and 1168 are the exception - nor is it disproportionately expansive. There is unevenness; there are places where William seems to be spinning out inadequate information; there are periods for which his narrative is unaccountably thin; there are clumsily executed insertions; but there is much that stands in its own right as polished twelfthcentury historical writing at its best.

Chronicle of Robert of Torigni

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Robert of Torigni (aka Robert de Monte) was born at Torigni-sur-Vire in central Normandy (Vitalis and Van Houts, 1992:lxxvii-xci) around 1110 CE. He entered the monastery of Le Bec in 1128 CE and about 20 years later, probably in 1149 CE, became the prior there (Vitalis and Van Houts, 1992:lxxvii-xci). In 1154 CE, he was elected abbot of Mount-Saint-Michel. During his time as a monk of Le Bec he was `an avid reader and collector of religious and profane books', or so he described himself in a reference to the year 1139 CE (Vitalis and Van Houts, 1992:lxxvii-xci). His Chronicle covers the period from 385 AD to 1186 and derives from that of Sigebert of Gembloux, with additions and amplifications for the history of Anglo-Norman regions in the period 1100-1186 (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). He died in 1187 CE.

Excerpts
English from Howlett (1889)

On the day of the apostles Peter and Paul, there was a terrible earthquake in Outremer, in which the city of Tripolis, a part of Damascus, the most of Antioch collapsed. The Arabs were not spared for Halapre [Aleppo], which is the capital of the kingdom of Loradin, and some other states of the Saracens did not escape this plague.

Latin from Howlett (1889)

In die apostolorum Petri et Pauli, terras motus horribilis factus est in transmarinis partibus, quo corruit civitas Tripolis, pars Dauiasci, Antiochiae3 plurimum. Agareni etiam non fuerunt expertes hujus tribulationis: nam Halapre, quae caput est regni Loradin, et quaedam aliae civitates Sarracenorum, non evaserunt hanc pestem.
Footnotes

3 Antiochiae, Co. ; Anthiochiae, M. and Bo.

Latin from Howlett (1889) - embedded



Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
29 June On the day of the apostles Peter and Paul none
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Robert de Torigni, ‘The Chronicle of Robert of Torigni’, in Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I, ed. J. Howlett, vol. 4, London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1889

Robert de Torigni, ‘The Chronicle of Robert of Torigni’, Societe Historique de Normandie, Rouen, 1872–73

Robert of Torigny (Robertus de Monte), Chronica, ed. L.C.Bethmann, MGH, SS 6, Hannover 1844, pp.476-535

Robert of Torigny, Chronique, Rouen 1872

The Chronicle of Robert of Torigni, ed. R.Howlett, RBMS 82, London 1882 (reprint Wiesbaden 1964)

Vitalis, O. and E. M. C. Van Houts (1992). The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, Orderic Vitalis, and Robert of Torigni: Introduction and books I-IV, Clarendon Press.

Robert of Torigni's Chronicle at AngevinEmpire.org

Annales Magdeburgenses 193

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) state that Annales Magdeburgenses, was compiled in the monastery of Kloster Berge, near Magdeburg, up to 1188, and continued up to the mid-15th century.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

1169. In Syria, Antioch and other cities were shaken to the foundations by an earthquake: one of these, swallowed up by an opening in the ground, gave the appearance only of flooded abysses. (Ann. Magdeburg. 193).

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
1169 CE 1169 none
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading

Chronicle by Michael the Syrian

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Michael the Syrian also known as Michael I Rabo and Michael the Great was born in Melitene from a clerical family in 1126 CE (Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, 2011). He studied at the Monastery of Dayro d-Mor Barṣawmo where he stayed on as a Monk and a Prior. In 1166, he was elected Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church. While acting as Partriach he collected manuscripts of theological and historical content and restored and compiled hagiographical and liturgical works (Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, 2011). Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition (2011) reports that his canonistic work is partly conserved in later collections, but the greater part is lost, as is his treatise on dualist heresies composed for the Lateran Council. Michael the Syrian is best known for his Universal Chronicle which covered "creation" until 1195 CE (Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, 2011). Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition (2011) describes Michael's Chronicle and various editions as follows:

The text is not preserved in its entirety, and the layout of Michael’s chronicle was distorted through the process of copying. Chabot’s edition is a facsimile of a documentary copy written for him in Edessa (Urfa) from 1897 to 1899. While the scribes tried to imitate the layout, a number of mistakes were introduced. Its Vorlage, the only extant ms., was written in 1598 by a very competent scribe. It is kept by the community of the Edessenians in Aleppo. In view of the loss of the original, this beautiful manuscript is the best witness for the layout of the chronicle. Fortunately it will soon be made available in print. This ms. was probably the Vorlage for an Arabic translation, which also sought to preserve some of the visual features, while changing others. The Arabic translation has much the same lacunae as the Syriac text. By comparing his version with the Arabic translation preserved in ms. London, Brit. Libr. Or. 4402 (which is one of several Arabic copies), Chabot detected some details lost in the Syriac text. No further research has been done so far on this problem.

The historical material was originally organized in four columns, the first being designated as the ‘succession of the patriarchs’, the second as ‘succession of the kings’, the chronological canon as ‘computation of the years’. No title of the additional column, which contains mixed material, is now known. Chapters with excursus were inserted, which interrupted the system of columns. After an open and abrupt end, six appendices follow. The first appendix is a monumental synopsis of all the kings and patriarchs mentioned. It was supposed to function as a directory. The second appendix is a treatise on the historical identity of the Syrians, who are connected to the Ancient Oriental Empires, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Arameans. When the chronicle was translated into Armenian, in two different translations, in 1246 and 1247, it was transformed according to Armenian interests.
Michael died in 1199 CE.

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In the same year fourteen hundred and eighty-one [of the Greeks, 1170], on Monday 29 Haziran [June], there was a violent earthquake, and the earth trembled like a boat on the sea [the beginning of Michael the Syrian's account is missing in the original Syriac, and so the opening sentence has been supplied from the parallel passage in Bar Hebraeus] [...] We were in the monastery church of Mar Hananya, and lay prostrate before the altar, to which we clung and were tossed about from one side to the other [...] when we saw and heard and were assured that there was absolutely no damage in the monastery nor in the whole region. And when we heard what horrors had taken place in the lands and in the cities [...] In this earthquake, the city of Berotha, that is to say Aleppo, collapsed in ruins... And those who said that God could not save or deliver the prisoners from their hands [i.e. from the Arabs], were suddenly heaped up in piles by the earthquake: their walls and their houses were reduced to ruins, and the air and the water became infected by (the bodies of) the suffocated. The whole city was rent asunder and became a series of cracks and fissures. The black ones (?) went up on them. The whole city became a heap of ruins. And what shows most clearly that the sword of anger had been drawn against it, is that nowhere else was there such horror. The seaward wall of Antioch collapsed, and the great church of the Greeks collapsed completely. The sanctuary of the great church of St.Peter collapsed, as well as houses and churches in various places. About fifty souls died in Antioch. Jabala completely collapsed. And in Tripoli a large part (of the city) and the great church similarly collapsed. And in the other coastal cities, and at Damascus, Homs and Hama, and in all the other towns and villages, the earthquake caused major disasters; but nowhere else had a disaster similar to that which had happened to Aleppo been seen or heard of [...] Although the whole town of Aleppo collapsed, our church was preserved and not a single stone fell from it. And in Antioch three churches were saved for us: that is to say, the church of the Mother of God, and those of St.George, and St.Barsauma. In Jabala, too, the little church we had was preserved, and the same is true of the churches in Laodicea and Tripoli.

English from Ambraseys (2009)

[4] In that same year 1481, on Monday 29th haziran [June], there was a violent earthquake: the earth was shaken like a boat on the sea...

As we were in the convent of Mar Hanania, we prostrated ourselves on our faces in front of the altar, and seized hold of it. We were thrown from one side to the other, and we prayed the Lord, but [silently,] from the heart, that he would deign to put an end to this plague. After a long time, when we revived, against all hope, it was as if we were coming out of a tomb, such was our fear. Then, like someone who has just woken from sleep, our eyes began to weep and our tongues to praise, above all when we saw, and realised, and were assured, that not only in the convent, but in the whole country, there had been absolutely no damage. And when we found out what damage had been caused in [other] countries and cities...

In this earthquake Berrhoe, which is the city of Aleppo, collapsed: the impiety of that city was as great as that of Sodom and Gomorrah, and we saw with our own eyes the numerous kinds of iniquities which they committed. Several thousand Christian prisoners were to be found there, and they were permitted to go to church only on Sundays, with chains on their feet and necks... Those who said that God could not save or deliver the [Christian] prisoners from their [the Muslims] hands were piled up in heaps during the earthquake; their walls and houses were overturned; and the air and the water were infected [by the corpses] of those who had suffocated. The whole city cracked, and was reduced to a series of crevasses and fissures; black [fluids] (les noirs) came up over it, and it became as a hill of ruins. And the clearest proof that the sword of anger had been drawn against Aleppo is that nowhere else was there such a disaster.

In Antioch the wall on the river bank collapsed; the great church of the Greeks collapsed entirely; the sanctuary of the great church of Mar Peter was overthrown, as well as churches and houses in diverse places. Around 50 people perished in Antioch itself. Similarly, the whole of Gabala collapsed. A large part of the city of Tripoli and its great church were destroyed. In the other coastal towns, as well as Damascus, Emessa and Hamat, and in all the other cities and rural areas this earthquake caused disasters, but nowhere did one hear talk of a disaster comparable to that which occurred in Aleppo.

The prince who was seigneur of that town [Antioch] cut his hair and, putting on sack-cloth, assembled the people and went up to Qusair in order to ask pardon of their patriarch. They pressed him to return to the church, but he declared, "If you do not expel the Greek patriarch, I will not enter [the city]". When they went down into [Antioch], they found the latter crushed by the earthquake; they took him, as he was still breathing, and carried him outside the city; he died on the way. Then Amaury returned to Antioch. The walls of the city and its church were rebuilt.

Nureddin rebuilt the wall of Aleppo; in the same way the seigneur of Samosata rebuilt the walls, and each one of the Turkish or Frankish princes rebuilt their places.

As for us, it remains to be said that God saved a great many of our people who lived in these cities... In Aleppo, when the whole city collapsed, our church was preserved, and not a single stone of it fell. In Antioch three churches were preserved for us, that of the Mother of God, that of Mar Guiwarguis and that of Mar Bar gauma. Moreover, the little church which we had at Gabala was saved, as well as [those] in Laodicea and Tripolis . (Mich. Syr. xix. 337-339).

English from Chabot (1899-1910)

CHAPTER VI

... [In this same year 1481, on Monday 29 of Haziran (June), there was a violent earthquake; the earth was shaken like a boat on the sea] ... [695] Fear, my brothers, fear! If a tremor of earth is capable of inspiring such a great terror, who can face the big future judgment day?

As we were in the temple of the convent of Mar Hanania, we prostrated ourselves on the face before the altar, and we embraced him. We were thrown from side to side, and, from the heart only, we prayed the Lord to deign to put an end to the scourge. After a long time, when we came to ourselves, against all hope, we were as if we were coming out of the tomb, because of fright. Next, like someone awakening from a sleep, our eyes began to shed tears, and our tongues praise, especially when we saw, when we learned and were assured that not only in the convent, but in all the country, there had been absolutely no damage caused. And when we knew what disasters had been caused in countries and cities, we offered all thanks again greater to God, who had mercy on us although we were not worthy.

In this earthquake Berrhoe collapsed, which is the city of Aleppo, in which ungodliness was as great as in Sodom and Gomorrah. We have seen from our eyes the many kinds of iniquity that were committed there. Several thousands of Christian prisoners were there. Only on Sundays were they allowed to enter the church, and with chains on their feet and around their necks. Their complaint split the clouds. What tongue could speak, what ear could hear the oppressions that were the prisoners there? If the hand wanted [696] to trace them, it would need several volumes. The air was thickened , so to speak, by the smoke of the rage of the Taiyayê of this city; and many had come to blaspheme on seeing and hearing learning their actions; they said that the providence of God does not extend that far! This is why his justice showed mercy towards them in snatching them from this furious impiety by this plague, like those who lived in the days of Noah by the Deluge. Those who said that God could not save or deliver prisoners of their hands, were heaped up in the earthquake; their walls and their houses were thrown down; the air and the water were infected (by the corpses) of those who were suffocated; the whole city split open: it was no more than a series of crevices and cracks; black mounted them (?); she became like a hill of ruins. And what shows even more clearly that the sword of the anger was drawn against it, there was nowhere else such a disaster.

At Antioch, the wall which is on the bank of the river crumbled; the big church of the Greeks collapsed entirely; the sanctuary of the great church of Mar Petrus was overthrown, as well as churches and houses in various places. about fifty people perished in Antioch itself. Gabala collapsed completely. In Tripoli, a great part (of the city) and the great church likewise fell. In the other coastal towns, as well as Damascus, Emesa, Hama, all the other cities and countryside, this earthquake caused disasters, but nowhere elsewhere no one saw or heard of a disaster similar to that which befell Aleppo.

The prince, lord of this city, cut his hair, put on a sackcloth, gathered the people and went up to Qoçaïr to ask forgiveness of their patriarch. They pressed him to enter the church; but he declared: "If you do not bring out the patriarch Greek, I will not enter. When they entered it, they found the latter crushed by the earthquake; they took him while he was still breathing, and carried him out of the city: he died on the way. Amaury then returned to Antioch. The walls of the city and its church were rebuilt.

Nour ed-Din rebuilt the wall of Aleppo; likewise, the lord of Samosata rebuilt his walls, and each of the Turkish or Frankish princes rebuilt his places.

To us, that is, to the remnant of our people who were in those cities, God brought great help: perhaps because there was no king in our nation, nor rich. In Aleppo, when the whole city collapsed, our church was preserved, and not even a single stone fell within it. In Antioch, three churches have been preserved for us: that of the Mother of God, that of Mar Guiwarguis and that of Mar Bar Çauma. Likewise, the small church that we had in Gabala was preserved, as well as in Laodicea in Tripoli, for the exaltation and encouragement of the rest of our Orthodox. - End.

English Translation by Bedrosian (1870-1871) of an Armenian version of Michael the Syrian

Background

Michael the Syrian's Chronicle was also translated into Armenian twice in the first half of the 13th century. Over 60 Armenian manuscripts have survived. These manuscripts are, however, abridged and edited. The fact is we don't have an original copy of Michael the Syrian's Chronicle. We have multiple differing versions. The excerpt below was translated into English from Classical Armenian editions found in Jerusalem by Robert Bedrosian in the years 1870 and 1871.

[193] Regarding the earthquake which occurred on June 29th and about how snow fell to a depth of 25 t'iz [length of a palm (four inches); about 8.3 feet] in the month of the Cross.

This was the righteous judgement of God seeking vengeance for the blood of Christians, since Christian people were being sold like animals there and the blood of Christians was shed as though it were water. Moreover, [the Christians there] were being killed insatiably as though [the slayers] would find treasure. [Through divine wrath] the Christians and their opponents were killed in equal measure. Yet no one believed in the unquenchable fires that were awaiting them. Indeed [the doubters asked] why no punishment had been visited upon them as had been the case with the deeds done at Sodom or the giants who had been drowned for their iniquity. And so, many shortsighted people doubted the judgement of God. [Let us] not mention the deeds of Sodom and the impiety of the giants who were destroyed by the Flood. [There was such iniquity there] that many despaired of a judgement from God, seeing their manifold evils.

[194] And so it was also in Antioch, for many buildings collapsed and the church of the Greeks collapsed on top of those offering mass. [The church of] Saint Peter also collapsed. The Prince [of Antioch] and the entire city donned sackcloth and all the inhabitants of the city went and fell [on their knees] before their [exiled] patriarch so that he would [re]enter the city, since they thought that this [disaster] was the result of his banning. But he replied: "Unless the false patriarch of the Greeks leaves, disgraced, I will not enter." Then the people went to evict [the Greek patriarch] and found him close to death in the collapsed church, pierced through for a stone had fallen on him. And then [the Latin patriarch] ordered [g466] that he be picked up, placed on a litter, and thrown out [of the city] which, in fact, was done. And he died outside the city, dishonored, and then the patriarch of the Franks, Herim, entered.

Then we began to rebuild the devastated places. Throughout the land there were, likewise, many fortresses, churches, cities, and villages which had been ruined and destroyed by this strange and unheard of earthquake. However, by the mercy of Christ, in Antioch and in all the coastal areas the churches of the Orthodox were spared—not because of our good deeds, but because of the prayers of our holy fathers and their martyrdoms.

French from Chabot (1899-1910)

CHAPITRE VI2

... [En cette même année 1481, le lundi 29 de haziran (juin), il y eut un violent tremblement de terre; la terre était secouée comme une barque sur la mer]7 ... [695] Craignons, mes frères, craignons! Si un tremblement de terre est capable d'inspirer une si grande terreur, qui pourra affronter le grand jour du jugement futur?

Comme nous nous trouvions dans le temple du couvent de Mar Hanania, nous nous prosternâmes sur le visage devant l'autel, et nous l'étreignîmes. Nous étions projeté de côté et d'autre, et, de cœur seulement, nous priions le Seigneur de daigner mettre fin au fléau. Après un long moment, quand nous revînmes à nous, contre toute espérance, nous étions comme si nous sortions du tombeau, à cause delà frayeur. Ensuite, comme quelqu'un qui s'éveille d'un sommeil, nos yeux se mirent à répandre des larmes, et nos langues la louange, surtout quand nous vîmes, quand nous apprîmes et fûmes assuré que non seulement dans le couvent, mais dans tout le pays, il n'y avait eu absolument aucun dommage causé. Et quand nous sûmes quels désastres avaient été causés dans les pays et les villes, nous offrîmes tous des actions de grâces encore plus grandes à Dieu, qui avait eu pitié de nous bien que nous n'en fussions pas dignes.

Dans ce tremblement de terre s'écroula Berrhoë, qui est la ville d'Alep, dans laquelle l'impiété était aussi grande que dans Sodome et Gomorrhe. Nous avons vu de nos yeux les nombreux genres d'iniquité qui s'y commettaient. Plusieurs milliers de prisonniers chrétiens s'y trouvaient. Le dimanche seulement on leur permettait d'entrer à l'église, et avec les chaînes aux pieds et au cou. Leur plainte fendait les nues. Quelle langue pourrait dire, quelle oreille pourrait entendre les oppressions que subissaient là les prisonniers? Si la main voulait [696] les retracer, elle aurait besoin de plusieurs volumes. L'air était épaissi1a , pour ainsi dire, par la fumée de la rage des Taiyayê de cette ville; et plusieurs en étaient venus à blasphémer en voyant et en apprenant leurs actions ; ils disaient que la providence de Dieu ne s'étend pas jusquelà ! C'est pourquoi sa justice usa de miséricorde envers eux en les arrachant à cette impiété furibonde2a par ce fléau, comme ceux qui vivaient du temps de Noé par le Déluge. Ceux qui disaient que Dieu nepoavait pas sauver ni délivrer les prisonniers de leurs mains, furent accumulés par monceaux dans le tremblement de terre3a; leurs murs et leurs maisons furent renversés ; l'air et l'eau furent infectés (par les cadavres) de ceux qui furent suffoqués ; toute la ville se fendit : elle n'était plus qu'une série de crevasses et de fissures; les noirs montèrent sur eux4a (?) ; elle devint comme une colline de ruines. Et ce qui montre encore plus manifestement que le glaive de la •colère était tiré contre elle, c'est qu'il n'y eut nulle part ailleurs un tel désastre.

A Antioche, le mur qui est sur le rivage du fleuve s'écroula ; la grande église des Grecs s'écroula tout entière; le sanctuaire de la grande église de Mar Petrus fut renversé, ainsi que des églises et des maisons en divers lieux. Environ cinquante personnes périrent à Antioche même. Gabala s'écroula tout entière. A Tripoli, une grande partie (de la ville) et la grande église s'écroulèrent pareillement. Dans les autres villes du littoral, ainsi qu'à Damas, à Emèse1b, à Hama, dans toutes les autres villes et les campagnes, ce tremblement de terre causa des désastres, mais nulle part ailleurs on ne vit ou n'entendit parler d'un désastre semblable à celui qui arriva à Alep.

Le prince2b, seigneur de cette ville3b, coupa ses cheveux, se revêtit d'un sac, rassembla le peuple et monta à Qoçaïr demander pardon à leur patriarche. Ils le pressaient de rentrer dans l'église; mais il déclara : « Si vous n'en faites sortir le patriarche grec, je n'entrerai pas. » Quand ils y pénétrèrent, ils trouvèrent ce dernier broyé par le tremblement de terre; ils le prirent lorsqu'il respirait encore, et l'emportèrent hors de la ville : il mourut en route. Alors Amaury rentra à Antioche. Les murs de la ville et son église furent rebâtis.

Nour ed-Dîn rebâtit le mur d'Alep; de même, le seigneur de Samosate rebâtit ses murs, et chacun des princes turcs ou francs rebâtit ses places.

A nous, c'est-à-dire au reste de notre peuple qui se trouvait dans ces villes, Dieu procura un grand secours : peut-être parce qu'il n'y avait dans notre nation ni roi, ni riche4b. A Alep, quand toute la ville s'écroula, notre église fut préservée, et il n'en tomba pas même une seule pierre. A Antioche, trois églises nous furent conservées : celle de la Mère-de-Dieu, celle de Mar Guiwarguis et celle de Mar Bar Çauma. De même, la petite église que nous avions à Gabala fut conservée, ainsi qu'à Laodicée €t à Tripoli, pour l'exaltation et l'encouragement du reste de nos Orthodoxes. — Fin.
Footnotes

2. Le titre et le début de ce chapitre se trouvaient dans la lacune. Nous suppléons les premières lignes d'après l'abrégé arménien (Hist. arm. des Crois., I, 369).

7. Le début du récit se trouvait dans la lacune. La date, d'après BAR HEBR., Chr. syr., p. 339.

1a. [Syriac Text] (?).

2a. [Syriac Text].

3a. Lire:[Syriac Text]; vers. ar. : [Syriac Text].

4a. De même vers. ar.: ?[Syriac Text]. Le texte paraît altéré.

5a. Lire : [Syriac Text] (BH).

1b. Corriger: [Syriac Text].

2b. prinz; cf. p. 314, n. 2.

3b . Antioche.

4b 4. B H: [Syriac Text] «ni prince».

French from Chabot (1899-1910) - embedded



English Translation by Bedrosian (1870-1871) of an Armenian version of Michael the Syrian - embedded



Syriac from Chabot (1899-1910) - embedded

  • bookmarked to page 695
  • hand copied manuscript which shows some of the original layout
  • appears to be the manuscript which was written for Chabot between 1897 and 1899 CE in Edessa
  • ordered right to left
  • from Chabot (1899-1910)
  • from archive.org


Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
Monday 29 June 1170 CE Monday 29 Haziran [June] A.G. 1481 none
  • calculated using CHRONOS
  • 29 June 1170 CE fell on a Monday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Seismic Effects Locations Sources
Sources and characterization of the text

Dorothea Weltecke in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition (2011) described Michael's sources and characterized his Chronicle as follows:

Michael used chronographies and ecclesiastical histories as sources and added further material. Only part of these he had directly before his eyes; others he used through intermediaries, as he reveals himself. Michael related his own time from a well informed and independent point of view. In view of source-critical methods and the universality of the chronological scope the highest standard in Syr. Orth. chronography was reached with this chronicle. Michael intended his work for learned clerical readers with access to a well-stocked library.

Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Chabot, J.B. (1901) Chronique de Michel le Syrien, volume 3 (tome 3)

Michael the Syrian's Chronicle in Syrian

Michael the Syrian at syri.ac

Wright, W. (1894) A Short History of Syriac Literature - online open access

Michael I Rabo (d. 1199) [Syr. Orth.] in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition - online open access

References from Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition

Primary Sources

Chabot, Chronique de Michel le Syrien, I–V. (Syr. with FT)

G.Kiraz (ed.), Texts and translations of the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian (2009–). (a multi-volume series that includes a repr. of Chabot’s edition and translation, and a facsimile edition of the Aleppo ms.)

Secondary Sources

R. Abramowski, Dionysius von Tellmahre. Jakobitischer Patriarch von 818–845. Zur Geschichte der Kirche unter dem Islam (1940).

L.P. Bernhard, ‘Die Universalgeschichtsschreibung des christlichen Orients’, in Mensch und Weltgeschichte. Zur Geschichte der Universalgeschichtsschreibung, ed. A. Randa (1969), 111–141.

S. P. Brock, ‘Syriac historical writing: A survey of the main sources’, Journal of the Iraqi Academy. Syriac Corporation 5 (1978–80), 1–30. (repr. in Studies in Syriac Christianity [1992], ch. I)

J. van Ginkel, ‘Michael the Syrian and his sources’, JCSSS 6 (2006), 53–60.

A. Schmidt, ‘Die zweifache armenische Rezension der syrischen Chronik Michaels des Großen’, LM 109 (1996), 299–319.

Weltecke, Die «Beschreibung der Zeiten».

W. Witakowski, The Syriac Chronicle of Pseudo-Dionysius of Tel-Maḥrē. A Study in the History of Historiography (1987).

W. Witakowski, ‘The Chronicle of Eusebius: Its Type and Continuation in Syriac Historiography’, ARAM 11–12 (1999–2000), 419–37.

Notes
Another Excerpt from Ambraseys (2009)

In the same year [a.S. 1493/a.Arm. 613] a terrible earthquake was felt on 29th June, at the moment when the Mass of the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul was being celebrated. The earth shook in its foundations until the ninth hour, and it seemed as if the earth was going up and then suddenly down. At that moment we were in the convent dedicated to Mar Hanan, and we forbade anyone to go outside the church until the wrath of God had been appeased. To tell the truth, we did not dare to watch the end of this plague, for in interpretation of the signs of this [celestial] wrath, we said to ourselves that the end of the world was coming. However, when the Lord had recalled His creative goodness, and when nature had regained her usual calm, and we looked at each other, everyone's eyes were full of tears and our mouths were zealous for blessing and praising God. We learned that the walls of Aleppo had been overturned with all its buildings, except for only one church. The ground opened up and vomited forth black water, which flowed through the town and drowned thousands of people. This was a terrible effect of divine justice, for Christians were being sold in the markets like beasts: the blood of the faithful was poured out like water; so frequent were the massacres... At Antioch [the church of] St Peter was overthrown, as well as that of the Greeks, crushing the sacred ministers together with many of the faithful. The prince and all the city, having put on hair-shirts, went and prostrated themselves before their patriarch, begging him to return to the city, for they were convinced that this calamity was due to his anathemas. The patriarch answered them, "Expel in ignominy the Greek patriarch". They obeyed this order, but found the latter mortally wounded by a stone, which had struck him when the church collapsed. They went immediately and informed the patriarch of the Franks that the Greek patriarch was in agony. The Frankish patriarch enjoined them nevertheless to put him on a litter and to throw him outside the city, which was done. Thus that man died miserably. Then the patriarch of the Franks of Herim returned to Antioch and the city was consoled. The work of rebuilding the ruins was begun immediately. Although this strange earthquake caused destruction everywhere to fortifications, cities and churches, the mercy of Christ protected in Antioch always and above all the sanctuaries of the orthodox, not because of our good works, but solely for having conserved the tradition of our fathers. (Mich. Syr. Arm. 332).

The Complete History by Ibn al-Athir

الكامل في التاريخ by علي عز الدین بن الاثیر الجزري

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn al-Athir
Ali 'Izz al-Din Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari علي عز الدین بن الاثیر الجزري
Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ash-Shaybani
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Ibn al-Athir spent most of his life in Mosul and claimed to be a private scholar (Keany, 2013:83). He was present at Saladin's military campaigns against the Crusaders. Keany (2013:82) notes that he wrote much of The Complete History (al-Kamil fi at-Tarikh) at the turn of the [12th] century, supposedly as a personal reference, abandoned it to write a history of the Zangids, and then returned to the Kamil at the end of his life. The Complete History was completed in 1231 CE and consists of 11 volumes.

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In that same year [565 H.], on 12 Shawwal [29 June], the earth shook a number of times in a terrifying way: no-one had ever seen anything like it. The earthquake struck the whole region of Syria, Mesopotamia, Mawsil and Iraq. The most devastating effects were produced in Syria: there was very serious damage at Damascus, Ba'alabik, Hims, Hamat, Shayzar, Ba`rin, Aleppo and elsewhere; walls and citadels were destroyed everywhere; the walls of houses fell on to the inhabitants, who were killed in great numbers. When Nur al-Din heard about the earthquake, he came to Ba'alabik to rebuild the ruined walls and citadel, unaware that the earthquake had brought destruction to other places as well. When he arrived, he was told of the situation in the rest of the country: town walls destroyed and inhabitants scattered. When he had put someone in charge of reconstruction and defence at Ba'alabik, Nur al-Din made his way to Hims, in order to guarantee protection to its people; then he went to Hamat, and then to Ba`rin. The whole country was in severe danger from the Franks, especially the citadel of Ba`rin, which was near their positions and had lost all its surrounding walls. So he left part of his army there under the command of a general, so that reconstruction work could be carried out night and day. Then he went to Aleppo, where the effects of the earthquake were beyond comparison with what had happened at other towns. The survivors were still in a state of panic, which kept them from returning to places that had not been damaged, for fear of further shocks. Moreover, they were terrified at the idea of remaining in the countryside near Aleppo, because there was the danger that the Franks might attack. When Nur al-Din saw the effects of the earthquake on the town and its inhabitants, he camped outside Aleppo and directed the work of reconstruction himself, overseeing the work of the labourers and masons until the town walls, mosques and houses had been rebuilt. The cost of the work was enormous. In the territory of the Franks as well, - may God destroy them - the earthquake caused a great deal of damage. They too worked feverishly at reconstruction, fearing an attack by Nur al-Din. In this way, both sides hurried to rebuild, each out of fear of the other.

English from Ambraseys (2009)

Also in that year on 12th Shawwal, there was another terrible earthquake, the like of which had never been seen. Its effects were felt in Sham, Jazirah, Mosul, Iraq and also in other countries, while the area of maximum intensity was Sham. It caused a considerable amount of destruction in Damascus, Baalbek, Homs, Hamat, Caesarea, Barin and Aleppo. It destroyed walls and citadels and there were countless victims.

When Nureddin heard what had happened, he marched to Baalbek in order to repair the defences of the citadel, not having received any other information. After he had arrived at Baalbek he was acquainted with the destruction suffered in other towns, viz. damaged fortifications and vanished inhabitants. He left a garrison at Baalbek to protect and repair the town, and then travelled to Homs, where he did the same, then went on towards Hamat and Barin.

Nureddin was very curious to know about the situation in the Frankish territory, and in particular in the citadel of Barin. Not a wall remained standing there, and the city abutted on Frankish territory. He left a detachment of elite [troops] there under the command of a great emir. He also organised the works programme in such a way that it continued night and day.

Next Nureddin arrived at Aleppo and saw the effects of the earthquake: this city could not be compared with the others, for it had been completely destroyed by several shocks. The survivors were still gripped with fear: if they had been able to safeguard themselves against the terror of collapsing [buildings], they would have found no shelter from the earthquakes. Moreover, they were apprehensive of camping outside Aleppo, lest they found themselves surprised [i.e. attacked] by the Franks. When Nureddin saw what the earthquake had done to Aleppo and its population, he himself took charge of the rebuilding works. He supervised the workmen and stayed there until the reconstruction of the city was complete, and spent a fortune [on it].

As for the Frankish possessions - God curse them - the earthquake also had effect there. They [the Franks] began to rebuild their towns, fearing lest Nureddin attack them. Each camp made tremendous efforts to repair its possessions, for fear that the other would make an incursion. (Ibn al-Athir-B. xi. 355).

English from Sbeinati et al (2005)

Also in this year [565 A.H.] 12 Shawwal [1170 June 29], there were successive great terrible earthquakes which had never been seen before. Al-Sham, Al-Jazira, Al-Mousel, Iraq and other countries were affected. They were strongest in Al-Sham, where most of Damascus, Baalbak, Homs, Hama, Shaizar, Barin, Aleppo and others were destroyed, with their ramparts and fortresses, houses collapsed over their residents, killing countless numbers of people. Sultan Nur ed-Din visited these later towns and ordered to rebuild their ramparts and fortresses, while he found Aleppo had not been destroyed as these towns previously. Bilad Al-Firnj [in that time during the Crusader wars the Syrian coastal area was occupied by the Crusaders and called in Arabic Bilad Al-Firanj] was affected. (Ibn Al-Athir)

Original Document - embedded

  • not bookmarked


Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
Monday 29 June 1170 CE 12 Shawwal A.H. 565 none
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading

Mirror of time in histories of the notables by Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi

مرآة الزمان في تواريخ الأعيان by سبط ابن الجوزي

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Sibṭ ibn al-Jawzi سبط ابن الجوزي
Shams al-din Abu al-Muzaffar Yusuf ibn Kizoghlu
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Sibt ibn al-Jawzi (ca. 1185 - 1256 CE) was the grandson of Ibn al-Jawzi and was raised by Ibn al-Jawzi in Baghdad (Keany, 2013:83). Sibt in Arabic means grandson through one of the grandfather's daughters. After his grandfather's death in 1200 CE, Sibt ibn al-Jawzi moved to Damascus where he was a Preacher as well as a Historian (Keany, 2013:83). Keany (2013:83) noted that he carefully documented his sources. Sibt ibn al-Jawzi wrote a 23-volume encyclopedic biographical History titled Mirror of time in histories of the notables (Mir’at al-Zamān fī Tawarīkh al-'Ayān - مرآة الزمان في تواريخ الأعيان) in the 13th century CE.

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In the month of Shawwal, there were terrible earthquakes in Syria, causing severe damage at Damascus: the balconies of the mosque [the Great Umayyad Mosque] collapsed, as well as the tops of the minarets, which shook like palm trees on a stormy day. [...] The earthquakes which struck Aleppo were even stronger: half of its citadel collapsed, and there was severe damage in the city; 80,000 people are reckoned to have died in the ruins. The walls of all the fortresses were damaged, and the people fled into the countryside. Hisn al-Akrad collapsed, and no trace of its walls was left. The same thing happened at Hamat and Hims. When Nur al-Din came to Aleppo, he was worried that the collapse of its walls would expose it to enemy attack. The earthquake was felt everywhere. Muslim fortresses were destroyed throughout the province of Syria: at Aleppo, at other towns, and at Antioch. The earthquake even reached Laodicea and Jabala, and struck all the coastal towns, as far as Byzantine territory. They say that the only man to be killed at Damascus was struck by a piece of stone as he climbed the Jayrun steps, the entire population having fled into the desert. The earthquake then reached the Euphrates, struck Mawsil, Sinjar, Nisibin, al-Ruha, Harran, Al-Raqqa, Mardin and other towns as well, reaching as far as Bagdad, Basra and other towns in Iraq: No-one had ever seen such an earthquake since the beginning of Islam.

English from Ambraseys (2009)

(a.H. 565) During Shawwal an earthquake occurred in Sham: it destroyed the greater part of Damascus, knocking down the crenellations of the mosque and causing the roof of the rostrum to collapse, which shook like a date-palm in a great wind.

It was worse in Aleppo, where half of the citadel was destroyed, and a great part of the city, where 80 000 inhabitants were buried under the ruins, and the walls of the fortifications collapsed. The inhabitants fled into the fields.

The citadel of Hisn al-Akrad collapsed, not a trace of the wall remaining. There was similar damage at Hamat and Homs. Nureddin travelled to Aleppo, which was exposed to the enemy, having been bereft of its ramparts.

This earthquake affected the whole earth (terre): it destroyed all the Muslim citadels of the land of Sham: Aleppo, ail its capitals, Antioch, Latakia, Jabalah, and all the cities of the littoral as far as the land of the Romans [Rum, i.e. the Byzantine Empire].

It is said that at Damascus only one man died: he was on the stairs of Jiron and was hit on the head by a stone. He was the only man to stay behind, while all the [other] inhabitants had left the town and made for the desert.

The earthquake spread as far as the Euphrates, reaching Mosul, Sinjar, Nasibin [Nusaybin], Odessa [ar-Raha], Hran, ar-Ruqat, and Mardin, as well as other regions: it spread towards Baghdad, Wasit, Basra and all the regions of Iraq.

Such an earthquake had not been seen since the beginning of Islam. (Sibt ibn al-Jauzi, Mir. 8/174).

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
18 June to 16 July 1170 CE Shawwal A.H. 565 none
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Mirror of time in histories of the notables can be read in Arabic here

Tsafrir and Foerster (1992b:232 footnote 16) list manuscripts for Mir'at al-Zaman as follows:

  • MS British Museum, Add. 23, 277, fol. 135b, 11. 11-17
Manuscript - 1506, Sibt b. al-Jawzi, Mir'at al-zaman fi ta'rikh al-ceyan. BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE DE FRANCE, PARIS

Sibt b. al-Jawzi, Mir'at al-zaman, ed. Haydarabad 1951.

Notes
Ibn al-Jawzi vs. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi

Ibn al-Jawzi lived in Baghdad and completed Kitab al-muntazam shortly before his death in 1200 CE. The work is arranged chronologically from "Creation" until A.H. 574 - 1178/1179 CE (de Somogyi, 1932:55).

Sibt ibn al-Jawzi (ca. 1185 - 1256 CE) was the grandson of Ibn al-Jawzi and was raised by Ibn al-Jawzi in Baghdad (Keany, 2013:83). Sibt in Arabic means grandson through one of the grandfather's daughters. After his grandfather's death, Sibt ibn al-Jawzi moved to Damascus where he was a Preacher as well as a Historian (Keany, 2013:83). Sibt ibn al-Jawzi wrote Mirror of time in histories of the notables (Mir’at al-Zamān fī Tawarīkh al-'Ayān - مرآة الزمان في تواريخ الأعيان) in 23 volumes in the 13th century CE.

The Cream of the History of Aleppo by Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din)

زبدة الحلب في تأريخ حلب by مال الدين عمر بن أحمد ابن العديم

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn al-Adim
Kamāl al-Dīn Abu ʾl-Ḳāsim ʿUmar ibn Aḥmad ibn Hibat Allāh Ibn al-ʿAdīm مال الدين عمر بن أحمد ابن العديم
Kamāl al-Dīn Abu Hafs 'Umar b. Ahmad
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Ibn al-Adim (aka Kemal ad-Din) was born in Aleppo in 1193 CE into a family celebrated for supplying qadis (Islamic judges) to the city over generations David Morray in Meri and Bacharach, 2006). He died in Cairo in 1262 CE, David Morray in Meri and Bacharach (2006) provides the following on Ibn al-Adim's life and works.

Ibn al-‘Adim was trained in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and became director of one of Aleppo’s principal Islamic schools, the Madrasah al-Hallawiyya. Successive Ayyubid rulers of Aleppo entrusted him with a number of diplomatic missions. The last of these was in AH 658/1260 CE, in which he went to Egypt to seek help against the Mongols, shortly before they took Aleppo. He died in exile in Cairo two years later.

Ibn al-‘Adim wrote a number of works, not all of which have survived. They include a treatise on handwriting, a thesis on the preparation of perfumes, and an address to a ruler of Aleppo on the birth of his son. But he is best known to modern scholarship for his chronicle of Aleppo and northern Syria, the Zubdat al-halab fi ta’rikh Halab (The Cream of the Milk as Regards the History of Aleppo). This is the principal source for events in the area during the author’s lifetime.

In his own day, however, Ibn al-‘Adim was celebrated for his Bughyat al-talab fi ta’rikh Halab (What Is Desirable in the Pursuit for the History of Aleppo). A characteristic production of the medieval adab (belles-lettres) tradition, the Bughyat al-talab is a biographical dictionary of notable people associated with Aleppo, from remotest antiquity to the compiler’s own times. In addition to factual information, an entry often contains examples of the subject’s verse, or transmission of hadith (Prophetic tradition). The original work, of which only a quarter survives, apparently filled forty volumes containing seventeen thousand pages of twenty lines each, and is believed to have been penned by Ibn al-‘Adim himself during the last two years of his life.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

On 12th Shawwal [29 June 1170] there were large and frightening earthquakes, one after the next, the like of which had never been seen. They were felt in most of the regions of Syria, Jazirah, as far as Mosul, and in Iraq, but above all in Syria. Great parts of Damascus, Baalbek, Emessa, Hamah, Shaizar, Barin, Aleppo etc. were ruined. Their walls and citadels were overthrown, and the houses collapsed on their inhabitants, as a result of which a countless multitude perished. When Nureddin received this news, he made for Baalbek, in order to rebuild the parts of its wall and fortress which had been ruined; but when he arrived he was told of what had happened in the rest of the country, and learned that the walls of these cities had collapsed and that they were left defenceless. Consequently he left someone at Baalbek to rebuild and defend it, and marched to Emessa, where he did the same; thence [he went] to Hamah and Barin. He employed every security measure [which he could] to protect the whole country against the Franks. Finally Nureddin came to Aleppo, and saw such results of the earthquake as were not to be seen in any other town. In fact, this place had been scourged by the disaster. The terror of the survivors was extreme, but they were not able to take refuge in this homes, for fear of another shock. Nureddin camped outside the city, and began to rebuild it in person, not stopping until he had repaired all of the walls and the principal mosques. As for the Frankish territory, the earthquake caused comparable disasters there. They occupied themselves with rebuilding their cities, fearing lest Nureddin attacked them. Thus each side was occupied with rebuilding its cities, for fear of the other. (Kemal al-Din, iii. 572).

Nureddin knew about the earthquake which had occurred in Sham and especially the damage in Aleppo, and of the evacuation of its inhabitants, and that the shocks had carried on for several days. It was on 12th Shawwal, a Monday, at sunrise. The number of victims, men and women, reached 5000. (Ibn al-Adim, Zubdat, 2/33, Kemal al-Din).

English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Nur al-Din was informed of the earthquakes which had struck Syria, especially the one which had destroyed Aleppo, and which, because of the continuing shocks, had caused the inhabitants to abandon the town and take refuge in the country from dawn on Monday 12 Shawwal.

English from Blochet (1900)

Nûr-ad-Din feared an attack from the Franks; he then went at the head of his army to al-Karak2, invades and raises war machines against it. The Franks then assembled and marched against him, preceded by the son of Honfroy3 and the son of ad-Dakik. Nûr-ad-Dîn then marched to meet them before they had made their junction with the rest of the Frankish army. They retreated because they were afraid of him, and went to meet with the rest of the army. Nûr-ad-Din advanced into the interior of their country, ransacking and burning what was in his way, until his army reached the Muslim countries. He camped at `Ashtarâ4 always with the intention of continuing the war. It is in this place that news came to him of the earthquakes which had occurred in Syria, which had wreaked havoc in Aleppo, whose population had fled. These earthquakes had repeated themselves several times over several days. This happened on the 12th Shawwal of this year, on Monday at sunrise. More than five thousand people perished there, men and women. The mosque Djâmi` of Aleppo had already been destroyed by flames, as well as the markets which surrounded it, at an earlier time, in the year 564. Nûr-ad-Din hastened to have it rebuilt and to have the markets rebuilt. It was said that it was the Ismailis who set it on fire5. He also learned in this place of the death of Majd-ad-Din-ibn-ad-Dayah, his foster brother, which had occurred in the month of Ramadan of the year 565: Nûr-ad-Din then returned to Aleppo and saw that the city walls and its markets were ruined. He camped outside the city and gave orders to rebuild the whole walled enclosure and also to build a second enclosure, concentric around the city, which formed a double fortification. His lieutenants restored the citadels and fortresses which had been ruined, Ba'albék, Homs, Hamah, Barain1 and others. Nur-ad-Din then undertook a sortie against Tell-Bashir, and there received the news of the death of his brother Kotb-ad-Dîn, which occurred at Mosul in the month of Dou 'l-shijdah.
Footnotes

2 See Quatremère (History of the Mamlouk sultans, t. II, part. 1, pp. 236-246), a very comprehensive study of this city as well as all the forms in which Western chroniclers have transcribed this name.

3. Honfroy, son of Honfroy of Toron.

4. Place located on the road that crosses the Hauran and leads from Damascus to the territory of Tiberias.

5. I give here some details about the citadel, the fortifications and the great mosque of Aleppo, according to the Description map of Aleppo and its surroundings (ms. ar. n° 1683). Although this work is more modest than the Khitat of Makrizi or the Description of Damascus, it does not provide less on this part of Asia previous very curious information. Fol. 167 r. The citadel of Aleppo was considered one of the three wonders of world; the river of gold which flows not far from the city was another. The city wall had 128 towers, the circuit of the citadel 6625... Fol. 172 r. The first who built it was Mikhaiil, others say the king Seleucus (see above, p. 14, n. 2). When Aboù-'Obaidah captured Aleppo, the walls of the citadel had just been repaired after a violent earthquake which happened before the conquest and which knocked down the walls of the city and the citadel. In the year 405 (1015) one of the towers was burned down. These fortifications (fol. 7, r.) had passed in proverb in antiquity. When Khosrav-Anoshirvân seized this city, he rebuilt the collapsed part [of the] Persian brick walls, in the portion of the enclosure located between the gate of the Gardens (bab-al-djinan, cf. in Cairo the bab-al-faradis gate) and the Victory gate (bab-an-nanr), and the princes of Islamism the towers of the walls. When the takafoûr (see above, page 514, n. 2) the king of Rûm besieged the city of Aleppo and destroyed it in the year 351 (in the month 'Dhoû'lkaadah) of the Hegyre (963), Prince Saif-ad-Din-Daûlah fled from the city ​​and the takafour seized it. Everyone in the place was killed. Saif-ad-Daûlah returned to the city and had the walls rebuilt in the year 353 (965). His son Sa'ad-ad-Daûlah continued the unfinished work of his father. The Banou-Mardâsh made constructions in Aleppo when they seized the city, as did those who reigned after them, so Kasim-ad-Daûlah-Ak-Sonkor and his son the atâbek 'Imâd-ad-Din-Zangi. His son Nour-ad-Din Mahmoud y built a front wall... The beginning of this construction was in the year 535 (1141). When âth-Thâhir-Ghyâth-ad-Din-Ghazi arrived at the royalty of Aleppo, he ordered the construction of a wall from the gate of the Gardens (bab-al-djinan) to the gate of the Victoire. He also ordered to dig a ditch in the year 592 (1196); he also ordered to raise the front wall that Noûr-ad-Din had the surrounding wall and the bastions built and rebuilt... The Djami or great mosque of Aleppo was not less famous than its fortifications. We read crazy. 23 v.: “The djâmi` mosque was built in a garden in place of a very large church that existed at the time of the Greek Empire. This church was consecrated to the name of Hélène (Hèlanah), the mother of the great Emperor Constantine (Kostantin). The djâmï of Aleppo, according to the same authority, was identical to the djâmi of Damascus for the coatings of gold, colored marble and mosaics. I heard that Solaiman, son of Abd-Allah, had built it and that this mosque like that of Damascus was one of the wonders of the world. Fool. 24v. "The djami" was set on fire by the Takafoûr (the Byzantine ruler) when he entered Aleppo in 351. When Saif-ad-Daúlah returned to this city he rebuilt part of the mosque. In the dome there was an ablution basin in white marble of all beauty. "After several embellishments, "on the fourth night of the month, the 27 Shawwâl of the year 574, under the reign of Malik-an-Nâsir-Mah-mûd, the Ismailis set fire to it. The bazaars that were around the mosque were engulfed in flames. Nour-ad-Din took all his pains to rebuild it. » Like so many other masterpieces of Muslim art of the good era, like the splendid mosque of Damascus, the djâmi' of Aleppo was destroyed by the Tatars and their allies... Fol. 25 r.: “It was burned down in the time of the Tatars in the year 669. At that time Kara-Sonkor was naïb (governor) of Aleppo. It was rebuilt and completed in the month of Radjab 684, the kadi Shams-ad-Din-Ibn-Sakr of Aleppo presided over its reconstruction” ..... Fol. 27 r. “When the Tatars seized Aleppo, on the tenth Sunday of the month of Safar in the year 658, the king of Sis (the king of Lesser Armenia) entered the great mosque and massacred a crowd of people there, he set fire to it from the side of the kiblah (the point towards which one turns to make the prayer, in the direction of Mecca). 'Imâd-ad-Din-a1-Kazwini informed Houlagou of the vandalism that had been committed [by the] Sis people. The Tartar conqueror had a considerable number of them put to death”... Fol. 27 v. "We couldn't manage to put out the fire. Allah then sent abundant rain which extinguished the fire. » The Mosque of Damascus was less happy. — Asad-ad-Din-Shirkoùh-ibn-Shàdi, who is often mentioned in this story, built another mosque djàmi' in front of the big mosque built by Solaiman as-Solaimâni, and next to it he had his tomb where he was later buried. — We can see in Quatremère (History of the Mamlouk Sultans, t. II. Appendix to Part 1re, pp. 262-288), a description of the great mosque of Damascus, taken from Mohammad-ibn-Shâkir. The two buildings having been built by the same prince and with the same ornaments; very complete description of the djâmi` of Damascus, [is] given in this place, [and] can give an idea of that of Aleppo.

1 It is, says Yakout (Mo'djem, t.I, p.465), a city which is also called Ba'rain, between Aleppo and Hamah on the western side. According to the same authority, Ba`rin is a small town between Homs and the Sahil (t.I, p.276). It is the same town as Barain.

French from Blochet (1900)

Noûr-ad-Din craignait pour ces personnes une attaque de la part des Francs; il se rendit alors à la tête de son armée à al-Karak2, investit la place et dressa ses machines de guerre contre elle. Les Francs se réunirent alors et marchèrent contre lui, précédés par le fils de Honfroy3 et le fils d'ad-Dakik. Noûr-ad-Dîn marcha alors à leur rencontre avant qu'ils n'eussent fait leur jonction avec le reste de l'armée des Francs. Ils reculèrent par suite dé la peur qu'ils avaient de lui, et allèrent se réunir avec le reste de l'armée. Nouir-ad-Din s'avança dans l'intérieur de leur pays, en saccageant et en incendiant ce qui était sur son passage, jusqu'à ce qu'il fût parvenu aux pays musulmans. Il campa à `Ashtarâ4 toujours avec le dessein de continuer la guerre. C'est dans ce lieu que lui arrivèrent les nouvelles des tremblements de terre qui s'étaient produits en Syrie, et qui avaient porté le ravage dans Alep, dont la population s'était enfuie. Ces tremblements de terre s'étaient répétés à plusieurs reprises durant plusieurs jours. Ceci se passa le 12 Shâval de cette année, le lundi au lever du soleil. Il y périt plus de cinq mille personnes, hommes et femmes. La mosquée djâmi` d'Alep avait déjà été détruite par les flammes, ainsi que les marchés qui l'environnaient, à une époque antérieure, en l'an 564. Noùr-ad-Din s'empressa de la faire rebâtir et de faire réédifier les marchés. On a dit que ce furent les Ismaïliens qui l'incendièrent5. Il apprit aussi dans ce mède lieu la mort de Madjd-ad-Din-ibn-ad-Dayah, son frère de lait, qui était survenue au mois de Ramàdân de l'an 565: Nour-ad-Din retourna alors à' Alep et vit que les murailles de la ville et ses marchés étaient ruinés. Il campa en dehors de la ville 'et donna ordre dé reconstruire toute l'enceinte fortifiée, et de bâtir aussi une seconde enceinte concentrique autour de la ville, ce qui forma une double fortification. Ses lieutenants firent restaurer les citadelles et les forteresses qui avaient été ruinées, Ba'albék, Homs, Hamah, Barain1 et autres. Nour-ad-Din entreprit alors une sortie contre Tell-Bâshir, et il y reçut la nouvelle de là mort de son frère Kotb-ad-Dîn, survenue à Mausil au mois dé Dou 'l-shijdah.
Footnotes

2 Voir dans Quatremère (Histoire des sultans mamlouks, t. II, part. 1, pp. 236-246), une étude très complète sur cette ville ainsi que toutes les formes sous lesquelles les chroniqueurs occidentaux ont transcrit ce nom.

3. Honfroy, fils d'Honfroy de Toron.

4. Endroit situé sur la route qui traverse le Hauran et qui mène de Damas au territoire de Tibériade.

5. Je donne ici quelques détails sur la citadelle, les fortifications et la grande mosquée d'Alep, d'après la Description topographique d'Alep et de ses environs (ms. ar. n° 1683). Quoique cet ouvrage ait des prétentions plus modestes que le Khitat de Makrizi ou la Description de Damas, il n'en donne pas moins sur toute cette partie de l'Asie antérieure des renseignements fort curieux. Fol. 167 r. La citadelle d'Alep passait pour une des trois merveilles du monde; le fleuve d'or qui coule non loin de la ville en était une autre. Le mur d'enceinte de la ville avait 128 tours, le circuit de la citadelle 6625... Fol. 172 r. Le premier qui la construisit fut Mikhaiil, d'autres disent le roi Séleucus (voir ci-dessus, p. 14, n. 2). Quand Aboù-'0baidah s'empara d'Alep, les murs de la citadelle venaient d'être réparés après un violent tremblement de terre arrivé avant la conquête et qui avait jeté à terre les murs de la ville et de la citadelle. En l'an 405 (1015) l'une des tours est incendiée. Ces fortifications.(fol. 7, r.) étaient passées en proverbe dans l'antiquité. Quand Khosrav-Anoshîrvân s'empara de cette ville, il reconstruisit la partie écroulée des murs en briques persanes, dans la portion de l'enceinte située entre la porte des Jardins (bab-al-djinan, cf. au Caire la porte bab-al-faradis) et la porte de la Victoire (bab-an-nanr), et les princes de l'Islamisme refirent les tours des murailles. Quand le takafoûr (cf. ci-dessus, page 514, n. 2) le roi de Roûm assiégea, la ville d'Alep et la détruisit en l'an 351 (au mois 'Dhoû'lkaadah) de l'hégyre (963), le prince Saif-ad-Din-Daûlah se sauva de la ville et le takafour s'en empara. Tout ce qui était dans la place fut tué. Saif-ad-Daûlah rentra dans la ville et en fit rebâtir les murailles en l'an 353 (965). Son fils Sa'ad-ad-Daûlah continua l'oeuvre inachevée de son père. Les Banoû-Mardâsh firent des constructions à Alep quand ils s'emparèrent de la ville, comme firent ceux qui régnèrent après eux, ainsi Kasim-ad-Daûlah-Ak-Sonkor et son fils l'atâbek 'Imâd-ad-Din-Zangi. Son fils Noûr-ad-Din Mahmoud y bâtit un avant-mur... Le commencement de cette construction fut en l'an 535 (1141). Quand âth-Thâhir-Ghyâth-ad-Din-Ghâzi arriva à la royauté d'Alep, il ordonna de bâtir un mur depuis la porte des Jardins (bab-al-djinan) jusqu'à la porte de la Victoire. Il ordonna aussi de creuser un fossé et cela en l'an 592 (1196); il commanda de même de relever l'avant mur que Noûr-ad-Din avait fait bâtir et de rebâtir le mur d'enceinte et les bastions ... La Djami ou grande mosquée d'Alep n'était pas moins célèbre que ses fortifications. On lit au fol. 23 v.: » La mosquée djâmi` était bâtie dans un jardin à la place d'une église fort grande qui existait à l'époque de l'empire grec. Cette église était consacrée au vocable d'Hélène (Hèlanah), la mère du grand empereur Constantin (Kostantin). La djâmï d'Alep, suivant la même autorité, était identique à la djâmi de Damas pour les revêtements d'or, de marbre coloré et de mosaïques. J'ai entendu dire que Solaiman, fils d'Abd-Allah, l'avait construite et que cette mosquée comme celle de Damas était une des merveilles du monde. Fol. 24 v. « La djâmi' fut incendiée par le Takafoûr (le souverain byzantin) quand il entra à Alep en 351. Quand Saïf-ad-Daùlah rentra dans cette ville il rebâtit une partie de la mosquée. Dans la coupole il y avait un bassin à ablutions en marbre blanc de toute beauté. » Après plusieurs embellissements, « quand vint la quatrième nuit du mois, le 27 Shawwâl de l'an 574, sous le règne de Malik-an-Nâsir-Mah-moûd, les Ismaïliens l'incendièrent. Les bazars qui étaient autour de la mosquée furent la proie des flammes. Noûr-ad-Din mit tous ses soins à la rebâtir. » Comme tant d'autres chefs-d'oeuvre de l'art musulman de la bonne époque, comme la splendide mosquée de Damas, la djâmi' d'Alep fut détruite par les Tatars et leurs alliés... Fol. 25 r.: « Elle fut incendiée à l'époque des Tatars en l'an 669. A cette époque Karâ-Sonkor était naïb (gouverneur) d'Alep. Elle fut rebâtie et terminée au mois de Radjab 684, le kadi Shams-ad-Din-Ibn-Sakr d'Alep présida à sa reconstruction »..... Fol. 27 r. « Quand les Tatars se furent emparés d'Alep, le dimanche dixième jour du mois de safar de l'an 658, le roi de Sis (le roi de la petite Arménie) entra dans la grande mosquée et y massacra une foule de gens, il y mit le feu du côté de la kiblah (le point vers lequel on se tourne pour faire la prière, dans la direction de la Mecque). 'Imâd-ad-Din-a1-Kazwini informa Houlagoû du vandalisme qu'avaient commis les gens de Sis. Le conquérant tartare en fit mettre à mort un nombre considérable »... Fol. 27 v. « On ne pouvait venir à bout d'arrêter l'incendie. Allah envoya alors une pluie abondante qui éteignit le feu. » La mosquée de Damas fut moins heureuse. — Asad-ad-Din-Shirkoùh-ibn-Shàdi, dont il est souvent question dans cette histoire, fit bâtir une autre mosquée djàmi' en face de la grande mosquée bâtie par Solaiman as-Solaimâni, et à côté il fit élever son tombeau où il fut inhumé dans la suite. — On pourra voir dans Quatremère (Histoire des sultans mamlouks, t. II. Appendice à la 1re partie, pp. 262-288), une description de la grande mosquée de Damas, tirée de Mohammad-ibn-Shâkir. Les deux édifices ayant été construits par le même prince et avec les mêmes ornements; la description très complète de la djâmi` de Damas, donnée dans cet endroit, pourra donner une idée de celle d'Alep.

1 C'est, dit Yakout (Mo'djem, t.I, p.465), une ville que l'on appelle aussi Ba'rain, entre Alep et Hamah du coté de l'Occident. Suivant la même autorité, Ba`rin est une petite ville entre Homs et le Sâhil (t.I, p.276). C'est la même ville que Barain.

French from Blochet (1900) - embedded



Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
Sunrise Monday 29 June 1170 CE Sunrise Monday 12 Shawwal A.H. 565 (year assumed) none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • 12 Shawwal A.H. 565 fell on a Monday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Seismic Effects

Excerpt from Blochet (1900) Excerpt from Ambraseys (2009) Locations mentioned
Footnotes

1. According to Blochet (1900:41 n.1) citing Yakout (Mo'djem, t.I, p.465), Ba'rin is a small town between Homs and the Sahil (t.I, p.276) and is also known as Barain. Ba'rain, according to Yakout (Mo'djem, t.I, p.465) is between Aleppo and Hamah on the western side.

Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Ibn al-‘Adim. Zubdat al-halab fi ta’rikh Halab. 3 vols. Edited by Sami al-Dahhan. Damascus: Institut Francais de Damas, 1951–1968.

Freytag, G. Selecta ex historia Halebi Paris: Typographia Regia, 1819. - a Latin translation

Meri, J. W. and J. L. Bacharach (2006). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia, Vol. 1 Routledge.

Morray, David W. An Ayyubid Notable and His World: Ibn al-‘Adim and Aleppo as Portrayed in His Biographical Dictionary of People Associated with the City. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994

Kamāl al-Dīn (1896): Histoire d'Alep, in Revue de l'Orient Latin

Kamāl al-Dīn ʻUmar ibn Aḥmad Ibn al-ʻAdīm, Edgar Blochet (1900): Histoire d'Alep

Other works by Ibn al-‘Adim

Ibn al-‘Adim, Bughyat al-talab fi ta’rikh Halab. 11 vols. Edited by Suhayl Zakkar. Damascus: Dar al-Ba‘th, 1988

Sequel to the Two Gardens by Abu Shama

Al-Dhayl 'ala 'l-Rawdatayn by Abu Shama

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Abu Shama
Abū Shāma Shihāb al-Dīn al-Maḳdisī
Abū Shāma Shihāb al-Dīn Abuʾl-Ḳāsim ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Ismāʿīl ibn Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUthmān ibn Abī Bakr ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Muḥammad al-Maḳdisī (or al-Maqdisī)
Shihāb al-Dīn Abuʾl-Ḳāsim ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Ismāʿīl al-Maḳdisī
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Abu Shama was born in Damascus in 1203 CE and spent his entire life there except for a year in Egypt, two weeks in Jerusalem, and two al-Hidjaz to Mecca (Hilmy Ahmad in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:150). He became a professor at a madrassa in Damascus only five years before his death in 1268 CE (Hilmy Ahmad in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:150). His main works are summarized by Hilmy Ahmad in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, (1991:150).

  1. The Book of the Two Gardens, Concerning Affairs of the Reigns of Nūr al-Dīn and Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn (Kitab al-Rawdatayn fi Akhbar al-Dawlatayn), a history of Nur al-Din and Salah al-Din (printed in Cairo, 1288, 1292; extracts, with French translation by Barbier de Meynard, in Recueil des historiens des croisades, Hist. Or., iv, v, Paris 1898, 1906; German translation — careless and incomplete — by E. P. Goergens, entitled Buck der beiden Garten, 1879). It derives from first-hand authorities and preserves, in parts, the important works al-Bark al-Shdmi by Imad al-DIn al-Katib, Sirat Salah al-Din by Ibn Abi Tayy and a great number of Rasa'il by al-Kadl al-Fadil. The events are dealt with chronologically and the narratives are supported by documents mainly from al-Fadil and al-'Imad. In this book he names his sources when quoting, and keeps to their wording, except for al-'Ilmad.
  2. Sequel to the Two Gardens (Al-Dhayl 'ala 'l-Rawdatayn), a continuation of the preceding. In the first part of this book Abu Shama draws mainly on the Mir'at al-Zaman of Sibt Ibn al-Djawzi. In the later part he himself as an eyewitness is the main source. This book is more of a biographical than historical work, especially in the second part, and is less important than K. al-Rawdatayn. (Printed in Cairo, 1947, with the title: Tardjiim Ridjal al-Karnayn al-Sadis wa 'l-Sabi', extracts with French translation in the Recueil des historiens des croisades.)
  3. Ta'rikh Dimashk (in two versions), a summary of the vast work of Ibn 'Asakir with the same title (Ahlwardt, Verz. arab. Hs. Berlin, no. 9782)
  4. commentary on the Kaslda al-Shatibiyya (printed in Cairo).
  5. A commentary on the seven poems of his teacher 'Alam al-Din al-Sakhawi (d. 643/1245) in praise of the Prophet, is extant in manuscript (Paris, 3141, I).
All his other works are lost (Hilmy Ahmad in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:150).

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

[Nureddin besieges Kerak and Shabani He was on the road from Syria when, on 12th Shawwal of the above-mentioned year [a.H. 565] he received news of the earthquake which had ravaged and Aleppo and many other regions so badly. The Atabeg was then at Ashtera; he took the road to Aleppo . . . (Abu Shama, RHC, 150).

[According to al-`1mad al-Asfahani]
The Franks had citadels near Barin, Hisn al-Akrad, Safitha and ar-Raqa, which found themselves as it were drowned by the tide of earthquakes, and in particular the citadel of Hisn al-Akrad, not one wall of which is standing, and the repairs occupied the Franks completely.
We learned of the gravity of the damage which was suffered in several regions of Sham, but one piece of news made our hearts rejoice: in the territory of the infidels [i.e. the Franks] the damage was worse than in ours, for it was a feast day: they were all assembled in the churches and roofs collapsed on them.

The same author composed a eulogy on Nureddin which mentions this earthquake:

The unleashing of violence shook the earth with its inhabitants. It destroyed the solid citadels, justice overcame their [the Franks] force and they were blasted by fate. All the high buildings were dashed down and the fortresses were razed. God had decided, and so it was accomplished. The infidels [lit. polytheists (i.e. Christians)] were massacred, and this was a sign for the monotheists. The enemy suffered the same punishment as the people of Aad . .. al-Asfahani also said,
Behold a new sign which I find in the earthquake: [the earth] complains at being the home of the corrupt..
(Abu Shama, RHC, 154).

I read in the diwan of al-'Argala that Salah ad-Din Yussuf al-Ayub found himself on the day of the earthquake, in the company of Vbayd, his valet, who was known to be a man of ample physique, in a house at Huma. All of the city was destroyed except for this house. Then al-'Arqala said to Salah ad-Din, Grant to "Ubayd whatever he wishes: for it is due to his great size that the house stayed standing. (Abu Shama, 1/185, 186).

. . they have replaced their luxurious houses with huts which are as good as tombs with wooden roofs, or boats from which escape is impossible. (Abu Shama, 1/185, 186).

[Nureddin suspends the tax on wood. The poet Abu Shama says to him:] It is in order to recompense you for the lifting of taxes on wood for the sake of the people of Sham that Egypt offers you her riches. (Abu Shama 160, al-qmad al-Asfahani on Abu Shama).

English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

al-Imad al-Isfahani said:
the Frankish citadels of Hisn al-Akrad, Safita and Arqa, near Ba`rin, collapsed in the waves of the earthquake; the first of the three, in particular, was left without walls, and rebuilding work kept the Franks occupied for a long time. From all parts of Syria came news of earthquakes and their disastrous effects; but one piece of news gladdened hearts in the midst of such desolation: the damage inflicted on Frankish camps was even worse. For the earthquake caught them on a feast day, when they had gathered in church. Ceilings collapsed on their heads, and so punishment came whence they would never have expected it.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
29 June 1170 CE 12 Shawwal A.H. 565 none
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Abu Shama, Al-rawdatain fi Akhbar al dawlatayn, i.120, and Dhail, i/i.260ff. ed. Hilmi; also ed. M. Zahid al-Kauthari, Cairo, 1947 (1203–1268).

Abu Shama, Dhayl ‘ala al-raudatain fi Akhbar al dawlatayn, ed. al-Zujari and al-Hasani, Cairo, 1947.

Abu Shama (C), The Book of the Two Gardens, RHC H.Or. vol. 4, Paris, 1884.

Abu Shama, al-Rawdatayn fi akhbar al-dawlatayn al-nuriyya wa'l-salahiyya, Cairo 1870.

Abu Shama, Kitab al-rawdatayn, ed. Muhammad Hilmi Muhammad Ahmad, 2 vols., Cairo 1956-62.

ABUSHAMA, Opus dictum Kitab er-Raudatayn, sub titulo Le Livre deux jardins ou Histoire de deux auctore Abou Chamach, edited and translated by A.C. BARBIER DEMEYNERD, RHC Hist. Or., vol. 4, Paris 1896.

Chronicon by Bar Hebraeus

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Gregorius Abu’l-Faraj (1225/6-1286 CE), commonly known as ‘Bar Hebraeus’ (Bar 'Ebhraya), or the ‘Son of the Jew’, was born in Malatiyah (Melitene) to a Jewish father known as Aaron the Physician (Budge, 1932:xvi-xvii). After the Mongols sacked Malatiyah, the Mongol General Shawer Nawin fell ill and Aaron took care of his condition. This led to the family moving to Antioch where Bar Hebraeus continued his studies and, at the age of 17, became a Jacobite monk and a hermit (Budge, 1932:v). Bar Hebraeus later went to Tripoli in Phoenicia to further his studies and eventually became the Bishop of Gubos. He then moved to Lakabhin where he was also a Bishop and, after that, moved to Aleppo (Budge, 1932:xvii-xviii). In 1264 CE, Bar Hebraeus was elected Maphrian (Primate) of the East (Budge, 1932:xix). Besides his Chronicle, Bar Hebraeus wrote other books on philosophy, religion, grammar, science, and, possibly, medicine. He was also a lecturer in Mathematics and Astronomy (Budge, 1932:vii and wikipedia). His translations of Greek and Arabic texts indicates fluency in multiple languages besides Syriac. Presumably, he also would have been able to read Hebrew (Budge, 1932:vii). Bar Hebraeus traveled widely and died in Maraga, Persia, and was buried at the Mar Mattai Monastery, near Mosul (Budge, 1932:xxviii-xxxi and wikipedia). He is also known by the Latinized name Abulpharagius.

Bar Hebraeus began his studies to write his Chronicle in the great library at Maraghah only intending to write a history of the last eighty years continuing the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian which ends in 1196 CE (Budge, 1932:v). However, once he completed his 80 year history, he worked backwards, and using the Chronicle of Michael the Great [aka Michael the Syrian] as a foundation, he compiled his great work dealing with the profane history of the world from the Creation to the year of his death in 1286 CE (Budge, 1932:vii).

Excerpts
English from Budge (1932)

And in [that] year, which is the year five hundred and sixty-five of the Arabs (a.d. 1169), died Kutb ad-Din Mawdud, the son of Zangi, the lord of Mawsil. And he commanded that his son 'Emad ad-Din Zangi, the son of Mawdud, son of Zangi, should succeed him. And Kutb ad-Din had a deputy and administrator of his kingdom who was called Fakhr ad-Din 'abd al- MAsih, [339] who was from the country of Antioch, and he fell into captivity (or, bondage). Now because this 'Abd al-Masih hated 'Emad ad-Din he shared the opinion of the wife of Kutb ad-Din, and they changed the command. And they set up Saif ad-Din Ghazi, his younger son, in the place of his father, and the nobles swore fealty to him. And 'Emad ad-Din departed and went to Syria to his uncle Nur ad-Din, weeping and complaining t hat 'Abd al-Masih had robbed him of his inheritance and his kingdom. And on the second day of the week (Monday), on the twenty-ninth day of the month of HAZIRAN (JUNE), which is the twelfth day of the tenth month of the ARABS, there was a severe earthquake, and the earth rocked like a ship on the sea. [This was] an event (or, happening) the like of which had not been heard of for many generations. For the blessed Patriarch MAR MICHAEL said,
When we were standing in the temple (i.e. church) of the Monastery of MAR HANANYA during the morning service, on the day of the festival of ST. PETER and ST. PAUL, a sound like heavy thunder was heard from the earth. And we were lying prone on our faces before the holy table, to which we clung, and we were tossed about from one side to the other. And after a long time when, contrary to expectation, we returned as from the graves, and then our eyes like those of a man who is woke up from sleep, began to shed tears, and our tongues [to utter] praise.
And during that earthquake the walls of ALEPPO, and BA`ELBAK, and HAMATH, and EMESA, and SHAIZAR, and BAGHRAS and of their fortresses and great buildings fell down upon their inhabitants. The whole of the great church of the GREEKS which was in ANTIOCH fell down, and the altar of the church of KUSYANA of the FRANKS. As for us, that is to say the remnant of our people, He rendered us great help, having consideration of our feebleness, for there was among us neither king nor governor. Whilst all else in ALEPPO fell down, one church was protected. And in ANTIOCH three churches were protected for us, viz. the Church of the Bearer of God, and the Church of GEORGE, and the Church of MAR BAR SAWMA. And in GABBALA also our little church was protected, and so also in LAODICEA, for the glory of God, and the heartening of the feeble orthodox remnant. And that earthquake lasted twenty-five days.

And in the year fourteen hundred and eighty-two of the GREEKS (A.D. 1171), the governor 'ABU AL-KASIM brought for himself a wife who was the daughter of KARA 'ARSLAN of the fortress of ZAID.

English from Budge(1932) - embedded

  • see bottom paragraph on page 295 starting with And in [that] year, which is the year five hundred and sixty-five
  • from Budge (1932:295-296)
  • from archive.org


Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
The morning of Monday 29 June 1170 CE the second day of the week (Monday), on the twenty-ninth day of the month of HAZIRAN (JUNE) A.H. 565 none
  • Calculated using CHRONOS
  • Haziran in the Syriac calendar equates exactly with the month of June
  • 29 June 1170 CE fell on a Monday (calculated using CHRONOS)
  • When Bar Hebraeus quoted Michael the Syrian, he specified that the earthquake struck the Monastery Michael the Syrian was in during a morning service in the Church. In the text from Michael the Syrian that we currently have access to, the time of the service was not specified.
The morning of 29 June 1170 CE the twelfth day of the tenth month of the ARABS (i.e., 12 Shawwal) A.H. 565 none
Seismic Effects Locations Sources
Source discussion

There are strong similarities with Michael the Syrian's account and Bar Hebraeus even quotes Michael the Syrian in his account. Budge (1932:vii) noted that the Library at Maraghah, which Bar Hebraeus used to write Chronicon, contained many Syriac, Arabic, and Persian manuscripts, and also, of course, contemporary documents dealing with the extraordinary events which took place in the thirteenth century.

Online Versions and Further Reading

The Dissipater of Anxieties on the Reports of the Ayyubids by Ibn Wasil

Mufarridi al-kurub fi akhbar Bani Ayyub by Ibn Wāṣil

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn Wāṣil
Abū ʿAbd Allāh Jamāl al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Sālim ibn Naṣr Allāh ibn Sālim ibn Wāṣil
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Ibn Wasil (1208-1298 CE) was a historian and a qadi (Shari'a judge) (Gamal el-Din el-Shayyal in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3, 1991:967). He was born and died in Hama but lived or traveled to Damascus, Jerusalem, Aleppo, Sicily, al-Khusraw-shahi, Baghdad, and Cairo at various points in his life (Gamal el-Din el-Shayyal in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3, 1991:967). He wrote poetry and books on logic, philosophical theology, astronomy, medicine, and history (wikipedia). Gamal el-Din el-Shayyal in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3 (1991:967) produced the following summary of his three historical works

  1. al-Ta'rikh al-Salihi, a general history from the Prophet to 637/1240 (MS: British Museum, 6657)
  2. Nazm al-durar fi 'l-hawadith wa 'l-siyar (MS: Chester Beatty 5264)
  3. Mufarridi al-kurub fi akhbar Bani Ayyub - reaching to the year 661/1263, this is the most valuable source for the history of the Ayyubids. The full text, which can be reconstituted from the four incomplete manuscripts, is in process of publication by Djamal al-Din al-Shayyal, the three volumes published (Cairo 1954, 1957, 1961) reaching to the death of al-'Adil I.
The Dissipater of Anxieties on the Reports of the Ayyubids (Mufarridi al-kurub fi akhbar Bani Ayyub) contains a description of the earthquake.

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

This earthquake came to be known as the earthquake of Aleppo and its region, just as that of the year 552 was the earthquake of Hamat

Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Ibn Wasil, Mufarraj al-kurub fi akhbar Bani Ayyub, vol. 3, ed. M. Shayyal, Cairo, 1962

Ibn Wasil, Mufarraj al-kurub f i akhbar bans Ayyab, ed. Shayyal, Cairo 1953.

Ibn Wasil, Mufarraj al-kurub f i akhbar bans Ayyab, ed. Shayyal, Cairo 1962.

C. Waddy, An introduction to the chronicle called Mufarridi al-kurub ...., unpubl. Ph.D. thesis, London 1934

Hirschler, Konrad (2014). "Ibn Wāṣil: An Ayyūbid Perspective on Frankish Lordships and Crusades". In Alex Mallett (ed.). Medieval Muslim Historians and the Franks in the Levant. Brill. pp. 136–160.

Bibliography from Encyclopedia of Islam

Djamal al-Din al-Shayyal, Jamal al-Dln Ibn Wasil and his book, Mufarrij al-Kurub fi akhbar Bani Ayyub, unpubl. Ph.D. thesis, Alexandria 1948

Ibn Wasil, Mufarridi al-kurub, ed. Djamal al-Din al-Shayyal, i-iii, Cairo 1954-61

Brockelmann, I, 323, S I, 555

Bustani, DM, iv, 131

H. Hilmy M. Ahmad in B. Lewis and P. M. Holt (edd.), Historians, 94-5 and index

F. Gabrieli, ibid., 105

idem, Saggi orientali, Caltanisetta 1960, 97-106.

The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin by Ibn al-Shaddad

al-Nawadir al-sultaniyya wa’l-nahasin al-Yusufiyya by Ibn Shaddad

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn Shaddad
Baha’ al-Din Abu’l-Mahasin Yusuf ibn Rafi‘ ibn Tamim
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Richards (2020:1-4) reports that Ibn Shaddad was born in Mosul in 1145 CE. He moved to Baghdad where he lived for 4 years and became a mu'id (assistant professor) before returning to Mosul where he was a mudarris (professor) at a madrassa. After making Haj, he went to Damascus and Jerusalem and received an appointment as a Judge of the army (qadi al-'askar). He was a close confidant of Saladin and participated in diplomatic missions. in 1195 CE, he moved to Aleppo where he also served as a Judge (qadi). He died in Aleppo in 1234 CE at the age of 89. In addition to writing books on Islamic jurisprudence and the Hadith, he wrote a biography of Saladin titled The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin.

Excerpts
English from Richards (2020)

When Nur al-Din saw the Franks were active and heard of their descent on Damietta, he purposed to distract their hearts, so he put Kerak under siege in Sha`ban of this year [April-May 1170]. When the Franks on the coast moved against him, he raised the siege and marched to meet them but they did not stand to face him. Then he was informed of the death of Majd al-Din Ibn al-Dayal in Aleppo, which took place in the month of Ramadan of the year 565 [May-June 1170]. He was deeply distressed because Majd al-Din had been his leading supporter. He set out to return to Damascus and then he heard of the earthquake in Aleppo which ruined much of the region. It occurred on 12 Shawwal [29 June], when he was at `Ashtar2. He set out to go to Aleppo, but news came to him of the death of Qutb al-Din, his brother, in Mosul.
Footnotes

1 The Ibn al-Daya brothers were an influential family who held many castles. Majd al-Din Abu Bakr was Nur al-Din's foster-brother, hence the family name `son of the wet-nurse'.

2 In the Hawran, south of Nawa (Yaqut, iii, p. 679).

English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

There was an earthquake at Aleppo which destroyed a large part of that region. It was on 12 Shawwal in the year 565. Many confuse this earthquake with that of 552.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
29 June 1170 CE 12 Shawwal A.H. 565 none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • 12 Shawwal A.H. 565 fell on a Monday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela by Benjamin of Tudela

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Benjamin of Tudela was a Spanish Rabbi whose diary of his extensive travels is a fundamental source of information regarding the distribution of Jewish communities in the Mediterranean area, as well as for the political situation in the Holy Land (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005:861). His travel diary titled the Book of Travels documents a journey he took from Tudela, Spain departing sometime between 1159 and 1163 CE and returning in 1173 CE (Jewish Virtual Library).

Excerpts
English from Adler (1907)

At Tripolis in years gone by there was an earthquake, when many Gentiles and Jews perished, for houses and walls fell upon them. There was great destruction at that time throughout the Land of Israel, and more than 20,000 souls perished2.

... Thence it is a day's journey to Hamah, which is Hamath. It lies on the river Jabbok at the foot of Mount Lebanon3. Some time ago there was a great earthquake in the city, and 25,000 souls perished in one day, and of about 200 Jews but seventy escaped.
Footnotes

2 Socin, the author of Baedeker's Handbook to Palestine and Syria, p. 557, gives the year of the earthquake 1157. It is referred to again p. 31. There was a very severe earthquake in this district also in 1170, and the fact that Benjamin does not refer to it furnishes us with another terminus ad quem.

3 Hamath is often mentioned in Scripture, situated at no great distance from the Orontes. In the troublous time after the first crusade it was taken by the Ismailians or Assassins. The earthquake of 1157 caused great damage. Twenty years later the place was captured by Saladin.

Chronology

It is not clear which earthquake(s) Benjamin of Tudela is referring to as there were a number of earthquakes in the region between 1156 and 1159 CE in addition to the one in 1170 CE. Ambraseys (2009) notes that since Benjamin's only chronological indicators are 'in times gone by' and `some years ago', he could be referring either to the 12 August 1157 earthquake or to this one [1170 CE] or even to both. Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) noted the following
The text by Benjamin does not contain any explicit chronological references if we exclude the citing of the year 4933 of the Hebrew calendar, corresponding to 1173 of the Julian calendar, inserted by the author to indicate the year of his return to Spain. However, the implicit chronological references in this text allow us to date Benjamin's journey between the first half of the 1160s and 1173. In the passage that is referred to Tripoli of Syria, Benjamin writes that the earthquake had occurred "in the past years", and in the one concerning the city of Hamah, "several years before". According to Prawer (1988, pp.193-4), in both cases Benjamin was referring to the earthquake of 29 June 1170.
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading

Menology by Neophytus Enkleistus

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Neophytus Enkleistus aka Neophytos of Cyprus, Saint Neophytos, and Neophytos the Recluse (1134 to after 1214 CE) was a Cypriot monk, priest, and sometimes hermit hagiographer, who was born at Leukara, and died at Paphos (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). Neophytus wrote a menology which is preserved in manuscript Parisinus graecus 1189, in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005).

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

Not long after [the earthquake in Cyprus], a certain monk came to me from Antioch the Great, saying that a strange and terrifying earthquake had happened in that city: he said that not only was the earth severely shaken, but that it had groaned and cloven asunder and that the stones had been thrown down into a chasm. When the earth had come back together, the stones which were found around the akrocheila had flown up to the summit as if someone had thrown them there. And not only did walls and most of the houses collapse, but also the great church, as a result of which the patriarch was killed together with a great multitude of the people. (Neoph. 11/133v/211).

English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Then [after the Paphos earthquake of c. 1165], a short time later, a monk of the great city of Antioch came to see me, and told me that there had been a tremendous earthquake in that city; not only, he said, was the earth violently shaken, but it also made a roaring noise and was split open, and stones were thrown down as though into an abyss. As the earth joined together again, stones which were on the upper edges were hurled upwards as though they had been thrown by a ballista. Not only did the town walls and a large proportion of houses collapse, but also the great church, killing the patriarch and a great many other people.

English from Analecta Bollandiana (1907)

The island of Cyprus has often been affected by the great seismic movements of the Mediterranean countries. Yet Neophyte cites only one case, and he dates it from the beginning of his seclusion, that is to say around the year 1160. That night seven shocks were felt; fourteen churches collapsed in the vicinity of Paphos alone, and among them the great Church of the Virgin Aiweviwtiooa. Neophyte speaks of a second contemporary earthquake, of which he became aware shortly after the preceding catastrophe; it is that of Antioch. It was extremely violent. The walls and most of the houses were knocked down, as well as the great church, where the patriarch and a numerous people were killed.

French from Analecta Bollandiana (1907)

L’ile de Chypre a été souvent éprouvée par les grands mouvements sismiques des pays méditerranéens. Pourtant Néophyte n’en cite quwun seul cas, et il le date des commencements de sa réclusion, c’est-a-dire des environs de ’année 1160. Cette nuit-la sept secousses furent ressenties; quatorze églises s’écroulérent dans les seuls envi- rons de Paphos, et parmi elles la grande église de la Vierge Aiweviwtiooa. Néophyte parle d’un second tremblement de terre contemporain, dont il eut connaissance peu apreés la catastrophe pré- cédente ; c’est celui d’Antioche2. Il fut d’une violence extréme. Les murs et la plupart des maisons furent renversés, ainsi que la grande église, ot le patriarche et un peuple nombreux trouveérent la mort.
Footnotes

2 Probablement celui de 1170. ROHMRICHT, Geschichte des Konigreichs Jerusalem (Innsbruck, 1898), p. 348.

French from Analecta Bollandiana (1907) - embedded



Chronology Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading Notes
Comments by Ambraseys (2009) and Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Ambraseys (2009) stated the following

The contemporary hermit St Neophytus of Paphos was visited by a monk from Antioch, who told him that the earth opened, which indicates faulting. His account also implies that, when the earth closed up again, the stones in the erstwhile crack were hurled up to a great height. This suggests that the crack was closed by a strong aftershock. The same source says that 'a great multitude of people' were killed, which is probably an exaggeration in view of Michael the Syrian's number of 50.
Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) stated the following
The earthquake is recorded [...] in one contemporary Greek source, namely the work of Neophytus Enkleistus, a Cypriot saint and hagiographer.

Chronica universalis Senonensis

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) describe this text as a Chronicle mistakenly attributed to William Godel but in fact compiled by an unidentified author who belonged to the entourage of the archbishop of Sens.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

1170. A terrible earthquake occurred in the regions of Outremer on 3 Kal. July [29 June]; innumerable people perished, as many Christians as pagans, and numerous cities were overthrown. A great part of Antioch collapsed; the city of Jerusalem shook strongly, but it did not fall. (Chron. Univ. Senon 1169- 1171).

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
29 June 1170 CE 3 Kal. July 1170 A.D. none 3. Kal. July equates to 29 June.
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading Notes

Het'um Chronicle

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Bedrosian (2005) described this Chronicle as follows

The short but valuable Chronicle translated below was written in the Cilician Armenian kingdom in the late 13th or early 14th century. Covering the period from 1076 to 1296, it provides information, sometimes unique, about individuals and events associated with the rise, expansion and collapse of the Cilician state: Armenian kings, lords and clerics, Byzantines, Saljuqs, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mongols, Mamluks, and their activities. Unfortunately, this Chronicle is noteworthy for its laconic style and brevity. The author claims to have drawn his information from Armenian, "Frankish", Greek, and Syriac historical writings. Clearly his Armenian sources extended beyond lengthier contemporary works such as Smbat Sparapet's Chronicle and Het'um the Historian's Chronography, since information not found in those works appears in the Chronicle. The author also may have had access to foreign literary histories, but the entries are too brief to speak of borrowing. More likely our chronicler was relying on other unnamed chronicles and on his own records.

Though the Chronicle's late 13th-early 14th century provenance is certain, its authorship is not. In the 19th century Het'um the Historian (a noted general and writer of the 13th century) was regarded as the author. V. A. Hakobyan, editor of the critical edition of the classical Armenian text, pointed to two passages in the Chronicle (the entries for 1250 and for 1285) which, from a genealogical standpoint, could only have been written by King Het'um II (1289-93, 1294-97, 1299-1307). But beyond these two passages, written in the first person, there are no other entries containing information of a personal nature or information obtainable only from within the royal family. Furthermore, in other parts of the Chronicle where King Het'um II is mentioned, the third person is used. There is great variation in the spelling of personal and place names, which is not unusual in medieval sources; though one might question whether Het'um (King Het'um II or Het'um the Historian) would provide different spellings of his own name, sometimes on the same page. It is possible that King Het'um II was the original author and that the Chronicle suffered very greatly at the hands of later copyists.

In 1842 father M. Awgerean, who believed that Het'um the Historian was the author, published a less complete variant of the classical Armenian text of the Chronicle as an appendix to his Het'um patmich' t'at'arats' (Venice, 1951, reprint of 1842 edition, pp. 81-90). Awgerean's text of the Chronicle was translated into French by Eduoard Dulaurier [Recueil des historiens des croisades. Documents arméniens, (Paris, 1869) vol. I, pp. 471-490]. The critical edition of an expanded text was published by V. A. Hakobyan with an introduction and valuable notes [Manr zhamanakagrut'yunner XIII-XVIII dd. [Minor Chronicles of the XIII-XVIII Centuries] vol. I (Erevan, 1951) pp. 65-87]. This is the text translated here.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

A violent earthquake happened in 1170, cities and castles collapsed in the SEHL(N), i.e. SUR, AK'K'A, TRAPAWLIS, YARKA, LATIKN, VALANIN, ANTAK' and other cities on the day of Sts Peter's and Paul's feast. (27 December 1170] (Het'um Chron., in Hakobyan (1956, 59)).

English from Bedrosian (2005)

In 619 A.E. [1170] a severe earthquake occurred and many cities and fortresses were demolished, including in Se'hl [Sahil, (Levantine) coast].

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
7 Feb. 1170 - 6 Feb. 1171 CE A.E. 619 none
  • Calculated using CHRONOS
  • The day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul's feast is specified
  • Apparently in Armenia, the day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul's feast is celebrated on 27 December
  • The day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul's feast is celebrated on 29 June in the Catholic Church
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Het’um: Hethoum Patmic, Table chronologique de Hethoum, Comte de Gor’igos, RHC, Armen. vol. 1, Paris, 1869; Chronicle, in Hakobyan (1956), vol. 2.; (M) in V. A. Hakobyan Manr Zhamanakagrut’yunner XIII–XVIII DD, pp. 59, 76, 1976, Erevan (Pat. Het.).

Hakobyan, V. A. (1951, 1956), Manr zamanakagrut’yunner XIII–XVIII dar (Armenian short chronicles, thirteenth–eighteenth centuries), 2 volumes, Erevan

Hakobyan, V. A. (1951, 1956), Manr zamanakagrut’yunner XIII–XVIII dar (Armenian short chronicles, thirteenth–eighteenth centuries), Volume 1a - online open access - in Armenian

Hakobyan, V. A. (1951, 1956), Manr zamanakagrut’yunner XIII–XVIII dar (Armenian short chronicles, thirteenth–eighteenth centuries), Volume 1b - online open access - in Armenian

Hakobyan, V. A. (1951, 1956), Manr zamanakagrut’yunner XIII–XVIII dar (Armenian short chronicles, thirteenth–eighteenth centuries), Volume 2a - online open access - in Armenian

Hakobyan, V. A. (1951, 1956), Manr zamanakagrut’yunner XIII–XVIII dar (Armenian short chronicles, thirteenth–eighteenth centuries), Volume 2b - online open access - in Armenian

Bedrosian (2005), Chronicle Attributed to King Het'um II Translator's Preface

Bedrosian (2005), Chronicle Attributed to King Het'um II Translation - online open access

Concise History of Humanity by Abu'l-Fida

المختصر في أخبار البشر by أبو الفداء

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Abu'l-Fida أبو الفداء
Abū al-Fidāʾ أبو الفداء
Abulfeda Latinized
Ismāʿīl b. ʿAlī b. Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad b. ʿUmar b. Shāhanshāh b. Ayyūb b. Shādī b. Marwān إسماعيل بن علي بن محمود بن محمد بن عمر بن شاهنشاه بن أيوب بن شادي بن مروان
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Abu'l-Fida was a Syrian Prince, Historian, and Geographer who was born in Damascus in 1273 CE. He took part in military campaigns against the Crusaders at a young age (12) and was eventually made Governor of Hama in 1310 CE. He wrote poetry and books on various subjects but most of his texts have not survived. He is noted for two books which have survived - a Concise History of Humanity (Tarikh al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar al-Bashar) and Takwin al-Bulddn a descriptive book on Geography (H.A.R. Gibb in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:118-119). A Concise History of Humanity is largely a compilation which covers pre-Islamic history until 1329 CE. It's earlier sections are based on Ibn al-Athir (H.A.R. Gibb in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 1, 1991:118-119).

Excerpts
English from Baron (1872)

A.H. 565

... In the same year, Nur ed-Din besieged El-Carac for some time, but then he decamped. [] This year in Syria there was great earthquake that devastated the country. Nur ed-Din hastened to raise the ramparts (from his strong places) and to protect his possessions against any invasion. The Franks also had to suffer from the earthquake; so they feared (being attacked in their territory by) Nour ed-Din. Since work was also done on their premises to repair the damage, none of the two parties never dreamed of invading the lands of the other. — Kotb ed-Din Maudoud, son of Zengi and ruler of Mosul, died in the month of du'l-hiddja of this year (August-September 1170).

French from Baron (1872)

An 565 de l'hegire

... La même année, Nour ed- Din assiégea El-Carac pendant quelque temps, mais ensuite il décampa. [] y eut cette année en Syrie un grand tremblement de terre qui dévasta le pays. Nour ed-Din s'empressa de relever les remparts (de ses places fortes) et de protéger ses possessions contre toute invasion. Les Francs eurent également à souffrir du tremblement de terre; aussi eraignirent-ils (d'être attaqués dans leur territoire par) Nour ed-Din. Comme on travailla également chez eux à réparer les dommages, aucun des deux partis ne songea à envahir les terres de l'autre. — Kotb ed-Din Maudoud, fils de Zengui et souverain de Mosul, mourut dans le mois de dou'l-hiddja de cette année (août-septembre 1170).

Arabic and French from Baron (1872) - embedded



Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
25 Sept. 1169 to 13 Sept. 1170 CE A.H. 565 none calculated using CHRONOS
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Abu’l-Fida (C) Resume de l’histoire des croisades tiredes ´ Annales d’Abou’l-Feda, RHC H. Or., vol. 1, Paris, 1872.

Abu’l-Fida, Tarikh al-mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar, vol. 3, ed. Cairo, 1907.

Abal-Fida, al-Mukhtasar ft akhbar al-bashar, 4 vols., Cairo 1907 (trans. P.M.Holt, The memoirs of a Syrian prince, Wiesbaden 1983).

de Slane, Baron (1872). "Autobiographie d'Abou 'L-Fedā: Extraite de sa chronicle". Recueil des Historiens des Croisades: Historiens Orientaux (in French). Vol. 1. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale. pp. 166–186, 745–751.

Abulfedae tabulae quaedam geographicae, nunc primum Arab. ed., Lat. vertit, notis illustr. H.F ... (1835)

Concise History of Humanity Manuscript in Arabic at Library of Congress (USA)

Tarikh Abi al-Fida - online open access at archive.org

Concise History of Humanity - Arabic and Latin Translation - online open access at google books

Bibliography from the Encyclopedia of Islam

Autobiography (extracted from the History), trans, de Slane, in Recueil des Historiens des Croisades, Orientaux i, 166-186 (see also Appendice 744-51)

Dhahabi, Ta'rikh al-Islam, Suppl., Leiden MS. 765

Kutubi, Fawdt (Cairo 1951), i, 70

Ibn Hadjar, al-Durar at-kdmina, Hyderabad 1348, i, 371-3

Subkl, Tabakdt al-Shdfi'iyya, vi, 84-5

Ibn Taghrlbirdi, Cairo, ix, 16, 23, 24, 39, 58-62, 74, 93, 100, 292-4 (largely reproduced in MakrizI, Suluk, i, Cairo 1941, 87, 89, 90, 137, 142, 166, 196, 202, 238); idem, Les Biographies du Manhal Sdfi (G. Wiet, Cairo 1932) no. 432

F. Wiistenfeld, Geschichtsschreiber der Araber, 1881, 161-6

Brockelmann, II, 44-46; S II 44

M. Hartmann, Das Muwassah, Weimar 1896, 10

Carra de Vaux, Les Penseurs de I1 1 slam, Paris, i, 139-46

G. Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, iii, Baltimore 1947, 200, 308, 793-9

A. Ates in Oriens, 1952, 44.

Treasure of Pearls and the Collection of Shining Objects by Ibn al-Dawadari

Kanz al-durar wa-jāmiʿ al-ghurar by Ibn al-Dawādārī

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn al-Dawādārī
Sayf al-Din Abū Bakr ibn ʿAbdallāh ibn Aybak al-Dawādārī
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Ibn al-Dawadari was born in Cairo. The date of his birth and death is unknown and his background is obscure. Later in life, he moved to Damascus. He wrote several works in Arabic but few survive. He is most famous for Treasure of Pearls and the Collection of Shining Objects (Kanz al-durar wa-jāmiʿ al-ghurar ) which is an an abridgment in nine parts of a longer universal history entitled Durar al-tījān. An autograph manuscript of the Kanz is known. Ibn al-Dawādārī claims to have worked on the final draft between 1331 and 1335 CE. The last recorded event in his histories is from 1335 CE (wikipedia citing mostly the Encyclopedia of Islam).

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

(a.H. 565) That year there was a great earthquake in Aleppo, Baalbek, and their environs. Many people were killed. A bottomless fissure opened up in the mountains overlooking Baalbek. Earthquakes lasted for months, sometimes shaking day and night many times. (Ibn al-Dawadari, vii. 44).

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
25 Sept. 1169 to 13 Sept. 1170 CE A.H. 565 none calculated using CHRONOS
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading

Clearing up the Description of Earthquakes by Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti

كتاب كشف الصلصلة عن وصف الزلزلة by عبد الرحمن بن كمال الدين أبي بكر بن محمد سابق الدين خضر الخضيري الأسيوطي

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Al-Suyuti
As-Suyuti
Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti
Abu 'l-Fadl 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad Djalal al_Din al-Khudayri
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

al-Suyuti is presently recognized as the most prolific author in the whole of Islamic literature (E. Geoffroy in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 9, 1991:913-916). He was widely read and famous across the Islamic world during his lifetime and was known for extreme self-confidence in his mental abilities (e.g. he had memorized 200,000 hadiths and was a polymath) which mingled with arrogance and created acrimonious relations inside Egypt (E. Geoffroy in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 9, 1991:913-916). E. Geoffroy in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 9 (1991:913-916) describes his procedure as scientific in so far as he quotes his sources with precision and presents them in a critical way and states that he cannot be considered as a mere compiler. He may have authored close to a thousand books writing on many subjects (e.g., History, Biography, Science) besides religion and Islamic jurisprudence. as-Suyuti was born in Egypt in 1445 CE and at the age of eighteen taught Shafi'i law at the mosque of Shaykhu and gave juridicial consultations. In 1472 CE, he became a teacher of hadith at the same mosque. In 1486 CE at the age of 40, as-Suyuti retired from public life. By 1501 CE, he had completely isolated himself in his home on Rawda Island in Cairo where he worked on the editing and revision of his literary works. He died there in 1505 CE (E. Geoffroy in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 9, 1991:913-916). His book Clearing up the Description of Earthquakes (Kashf as-Salsalah 'an wasf Az-zalzalak) is a valuable reference for historical earthquakes and is one of the earliest extant earthquake catalogs.

Excerpts
English from Sprenger (1843)

A.H. 565 An earthquake in Syria, Mesopotamia and almost all the world; it destroyed many walls and houses in Syria, more particularly at Damascus, Emessa, Apamea, Aleppo and Balbek

English from Sprenger (1843) - embedded



An Original Manuscript - Arabic

  • The Noor book courtesy of Najib Abou Karaki (personal correspondence, 2022)



























Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
25 Sept. 1169 to 13 Sept. 1170 CE A.H. 565 none calculated using CHRONOS
Seismic Effects Locations Notes and Further Reading
References

Sprenger (1843). "As-Soyuti's work on Earthquakes, ." Journal of The Asiatic Society of Bengal 12(141): 741-749.

Nejjar, S. (1973-1974). Traité du tremblement de terre / Jalal ad-Din as-Suyut'i ; trad. annotée [de l'arabe] de Saïd Nejjar. Rabat, Cahiers du centre universitaire de la recherche scientifique.

Al-Sadani, A. (1971). (Jalal-Eddine Al-Suyouti) Kasff Al-Salsala Wa Wasf Al-Zalzalah, in Arabic. Rabat, Morocco.

WORKS & BOOKS OF IMAM JALALUDDIN SUYUTI

al-Suyuti, J. (1971). Kashf al-salsala 'an wasf al-zalzala. A. a.-L. Sa'adan. Fez.

Guest, A. R. (1902), ‘The Delta in the Middle Ages’, J. R. Asiat. Soc. for 1912, 941–982.

References from the Encyclopedia of Islam

al-Suyuti's biography, written by his disciple 'Abd al-Kadir al-Shadhili, Bahdjat al-adbidin bitardjamat Djaldl al-Din (mss. in London, Dublin, Kuwayt)

Shams al-Din al-Dawudi, Taradjamat al-Suyuti (ms. Tubingen)

Nadjm al-Din al-Ghazzi, al-Kawakib al-sa'ira bi-a'ydn al-mi'a a al-'ashira, Beirut 1945, i, 226-31.

E.M. Sartain, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti - remains the most complete study in a Western language

eadem, Jalal al-Din as-Suyuti's relations with the people of Takrur, in JSS, xvi (1971), 193-8.

S. Abu Djib mentions several studies in Arabic (op. cit., 331-2).

In his Muhammad's birthday festival (Leiden 1993, 45-70), N.J. Kaptein presents and translates al-Suyuti's fatwa which validates the practice of the mawlid nabawi

English from Sprenger (1843) on the A.H. 551 Earthquake (1157 CE)

551. In the night of Rabi 2nd, was a great earthquake. It was preceded and followed by others. In the night of the 25 th, at Aleppo, Hamat, and many other places, there were about forty shocks. It was one of the most tremendous earthquakes. On the 29th of the same, month, an earthquake took place towards the end of the day, and continued during the night.

The jirst of Ramazan three shocks.

On the third of the same month three earthquakes ; one at noon, the others at midnight.

In the middle of Ramazan there was an earthquake at night, and an- other in the morning, and two during the following night, and another shock the subsequent day. In the night of the 23d of Ramazan and in the second of Shawal, new shocks of earthquakes were felt which were more violent than the preceding ones, there were also earthquakes on the 7th, 16th and 17th, and in the night of the 22d. 552. In the night of 19th of Safr, a great earthquake took place which was followed by another shock ; a third one took place in the night of the 20th, and the following day in Syria. In the night of the 25th Jornada 1st, four shocks. In the night of the 4th of Jornada 2d, several shocks,

particularly at Aleppo and Emessa, where they were destructive ; also in Hamat, Kafertab, and Taima. In the 4th of Rajebatday time at Damascus it was so violent, that never the like had been seen ; it caused some des- truction. In the night of Friday the 8th of Rajeb there were three earth- quakes, which were followed by other earthquakes on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night, and several shocks after that. It did great damage in Hamat, Shiraz, and Emessa. In Damascus it did not begin before Monday the 29th of Rejeb, but caused great consternation. Another earthquake took place on the 24th of Ramazan, which was terribly felt at Aleppo, and Hamat (Apamea,) where it continued for sometime with intermissions. In the night of Saturday the 10th of Shawal and in the night of the 10th of Dilkada, and on the night of the 23d and 25th of the same month, people were so frightened by earthquakes, that they took refuge in the fields. Apamea was destroyed,

Other Authors

Ambraseys (2009) provided the following excerpts.

Source Language Date Source
Description
Excerpt
Annales Floreffienses 625 Latin late 15th c. Annals compiled at the abbey of Floreffe (near Namur, in Belgium) on the basis of 12th century material. It includes information from ancient times up to 1492 (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). 1170. There was an earthquake in the region of Outremer, in which as many Christian cities as pagan were overthrown.
Annales Colonienses maximi 121 Latin late 15th c. drawn up in the 1170s by a canon of Cologne cathedral, and continued up to 1220 (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). 1170... An earthquake in the East overthrew several cities, as many Christian as pagan.
Annales Gastinenses 774 Latin late 15th c. Shortened version of the Annales Uticenses, continued from 1161 to 1226 by the Benedictine monks of the abbey of Gatines (France) (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). 1170... In the regions of Outremer there was a great earthquake in the kingdom of Jerusalem, such that around 30 towns and villages collapsed; part of Antioch fell
Sembat, RHC a.Arm. 619/624 Latin (a.Arm. 619) On 19th June a violent earthquake was felt which overthrew the ramparts of Antioch and Aleppo. The magnificent church [of St Peter] in Antioch collapsed, and buried many people within its ruins.
Additional Latin sources listed by Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) include Guidoboni et al, 2004 note that a passing mention of the earthquake can be found in Chronicon Ad Annum 1234.

Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Ann. Flor. - Annales Floreffienses, ed. L. Bethmann, MGH, SS16, 1869, pp. 618–631 (compiled from 1140).

Annales Floreffienses, ed. L. Bethmann, MGH, SS 16, Hannover 1859, pp.618-31.

Annales Forolivienses ab origin urbis usque ad annum 1473, ed. G.Mazzatinti, RIS2 22/2, Citta di Castello 1903-1909.

Ann. Col. Max. - Annales Colonienses maximi, ed. G. Waitz, MGH, SRG 18, 1880.

Annales Colonienses maximi see Chronica Regia Coloniensis.

Chronica Regia Coloniensis (Annales Colonienses maximi) ed. G.Waitz, MGH, SRG in usum scholarum separatim editi 18, Hannover 1880, pp.1-299.

Ann. Gast. - Annales Gastinenses, in RHG 12, 1781, pp. 773–774; 18, 1822, pp. 322–323

Sembat, RHC a.Arm. 619/624

Sembt.: Sembat (Smbat, Sempad, Cempad), Chronicle, RHC, Doc.Armen., vol. 1, Paris, 1869; La chronique attribuee au conn ´ etable Smbat ´ , ed. and trans. G. Ded´ eyan, Paris: Geuthner, 1980

Annales Pisani antiquissimi, in F.Novati, Un nuovo testo degli "Annales Pisani Antiquissimi" e le prime lotte di Pisa contro gli Arabi, Centenario della nascita di Michele Amari, vol.2, Palermo 1910, p.13

Annales Vizeliacenses, ed. R.Huygens, CC-CM 42, Turnhout 1976, pp.195-233.

Ann. Vizel.: Annales Vizeliacenses, ed. R. Huygens, in Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis, 42 (1976), 195–233.

Ann. Admont.: Annales Admontenses, ed. W. Wattenbach, MGH SS9, 1851, pp. 570–593.

Archaeoseismic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Baalbek I can't find any archaeoseismic information on Baalbek for this time period.
Crak des Chevaliers (aka Hisn al-Akrad) possible ≥8
1170 CE Earthquake

Maps and Plans

  • Fig. 6 Reconstruction of Crak des Chevaliers from Guidoboni et al, 2004
Guidoboni et al, 2004 suggested that the change in the brickwork which can be observed in Crak des Chevaliers could be due to reconstruction after the 1170 CE earthquake(s).

Tell Ya'amun possible ≥8
Earthquake

Savage et al (2003:457-458) report the following:

To the south of the previously excavated Byzantine church, we uncovered two rooms with walls surviving to a height of 2 m. Each room has a door opening onto the flat stone pavement that separates these rooms from the church. The mosaic floors are preserved along with the bases of archways for ceiling supports. Coins, architectural stratigraphy, and style of mosaic decoration all indicate contemporaneity between the sixth-century church and rooms. The rooms were modified during the Umayyad period when the mosaic floor was repaired with flat paving stones along the damaged edges and some walls were reconstructed with differently sized stones. Further modification and re-use occurred during the Ayyubid-Mamluk period when new walls were built directly on top of the mosaic floors. The mosaic floor of the east room is extensively dented by collapsed wall stones, which suggests that use ended with destruction caused by an earthquake.

Chastel Blanc possible ≥8
Kázmér and Major (2015:188) estimated a minimum intensity of IX (9).
Kázmér and Major (2015) examined and dated seismic effects on the donjon of Chastel Blanc (Safita) along with fallen architecture and rockfall evidence from the nearby villages of Khirbat al-Qurshiyya and ‘Ayn-Qadıb. While they suggested that all three locations were affected by the 1202 CE earthquake, Chastel Blanc provided the most reliable date. Their intensity estimate however came from all three sites. The dropdown panel below summarizes their chronological reasons for assigning archaeoseismic damage at the donjon of Chastel Blanc (Safita) to the 1202 CE earthquake. See the full Chastel Blanc entry for additional discussions on Khirbat al-Qurshiyya and ‘Ayn-Qadıb.
1202 CE Earthquake at the donjon of Chastel Blanc

Kázmér and Major (2015:187) assigned the major damage of the donjon to the 1202 earthquake based on indirect reasoning

  • arguments related to the history of art place the construction of the donjon into the 12th century (early Gothic architecture)
  • there was a great tower standing in 1202, which has been seriously damaged by the earthquake of the same year, as the letter of the Phillipe de Plessis reported (Mayer, 1972, p. 309)1
  • the tower was in good and strong condition in 1212 (Wilbrand of Oldenbourg, Itinerarium Terrae Sanctae, 210). This means two things: either the letter written and sent immediately after the earthquake by Phillipe de Plessis overestimated the damages, or these damages have been successfully restored by 1212
  • there are Crusader-style repairs and modifications of the Gothic hall and installation of a window for the church bell
  • there was no major earthquake reported until 1271, when the Muslim forces occupied Safıta. After the fortress changed hands, it lost its strategic importance. Probably no major repairs occurred until the 20th century
  • no matter how scanty the written reports seem to be individually, together they allow us to suggest that the major damage to the Safita donjon occurred during the 1202 earthquake
Footnotes

1 Relevant excerpt from the letter of Phillipe de Plessis

English

At Chastel Blanc [Safıta], most of the walls collapsed, and the main tower, which we thought to have been built with outstanding strength and solidity, was so badly cracked and damaged that it would have been better for us if it had completely collapsed instead of being left standing in such a state. (translation from Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005, p. 224)

Latin

Castri autem Albi maxima pars murorum cecidit, turris autem maior, qua nullam credimus fortuis vel firmius edificatam, in hoc rimis et quassaturis debilitata est, quod melius nobis esset, si funditus corueret, quam ita stans permaneret (Mayer, 1972, p. 309).

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Baalbek



Crak des Chevaliers (aka Hisn al-Akrad)



Tell Ya'amun



Chastel Blanc



Landslide Evidence

Tsunamogenic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Byblos possible Morhange et al (2006:91) noted that
A review of the vertical movements having affected Lebanon during the late Holocene shows that tectonic uplift of the coastal areas occurred around 3000 yr BP, in the 6th century AD, and possibly in the 10th to 11th centuries AD (Pirazzoli 2005, Morhange et al., submitted).
Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Byblos



Paleoseismic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Kazzab Trench possible ≥ 7 Daeron et al (2007) dated Event S1 to between 926 and 1381 CE (2σ) and assigned it to the 1202 CE earthquake. Daëron et al (2005:529-530) presented surface faulting evidence that suggested younger less weathered fault scarplets on the Rachaıya-Serghaya faults and fresh mole-tracks on the Rachaıya fault were associated with one of the 1759 CE fault breaks while older more weathered faults scarplets on the Yammouneh fault were associated with one of the the 1202 CE earthquakes.
Jarmaq Trench possible ≥ 7 Nemer and Meghraoui (2006) date Event Z to after 84-239 CE. They suggested the Safed Earthquake of 1837 CE as the most likely candidate.
al-Harif Aqueduct probable ≥ 7 Sbeinati et al (2010) dated Event Z to between 1010 and 1210 CE (2σ) and suggested that it was probably caused by the 1170 CE earthquake.
Qiryat-Shemona Rockfalls possible Kanari et al (2019) assigned the 1033 CE earthquake to sample QS-4 although Kanari (2008) assigned the same sample to the 1202 CE earthquake. Either are possible.
Bet Zayda possible to probable ≥ 7 Marco et al (2005) dated Event E.H. 1 to between 1020 to 1280 CE (ages were unmodeled) and assigned this event to the 1202 CE earthquake. They observed 2.2 m of offset which results in a 7.1-7.3 estimate of Moment Magnitude when using a relationship from Wells and Coppersmith (1994).
Jordan Valley - Tell Saidiyeh and Ghor Kabed Trenches possible ≥ 7 Ferry et al (2011) detected 12 surface rupturing seismic events in 4 trenches (T1-T4) in Tell Saidiyeh and Ghor Kabed; 10 of which were prehistoric. The tightest chronology came from the Ghor Kabed trenches (T1 and T2) where Events Y and Z were constrained to between 560 and 1800 CE.
Dead Sea - Seismite Types n/a n/a The table below shows projected PGA and Intensity at 3 Dead Sea Sites and 2 Araba sites for an earthquake where the nearest fault break was at the al-Harif aqueduct with a Magnitude varying from 6.5-7.5. The al-Harif aqueduct is chosen because Event Z from Sbeinati et al (2010)'s studies at the al-Harif aqueduct appears to have been caused by the 1170 CE earthquake. The estimated Intensity (IEst.) from seismic evidence at the sites whose ages were close to the 1170 CE Quake are also shown. Considering that Lu et al (2020a) estimated a minimum PGA of 0.13 g and Williams (2004) estimated a minimum PGA of 0.23 g to generate a seismite in the Dead Sea, it seems that the 1170 CE Quake would have had to have been very powerful (M ≥ 7.5) to entertain the possibility of leaving a mark in the Dead Sea and would not have left a mark in the Araba under any conditions. A calculator is provided for experimentation.
Location Assumed Distance (km.) Range of Projected PGA's (g) Range of Projected Intensities IEst. from site
Dead Sea - En Feshka 380 0.05 - 0.13 4.4 - 6.1 8.1 - 8.9
Dead Sea - En Gedi 415 0.04 - 0.12 4.2 - 5.9 n/a
Dead Sea - Nahal Ze'elim 425 0.04 - 0.11 4.1 - 5.8 8.2 - 9.0
Araba - Taybeh Trench 535 0.03 - 0.07 3.5 - 5.2 ≥ 7
Araba - Qatar Trench 600 0.02 - 0.06 3.1 - 4.8 ≥ 7
Calculator
Seismic Attenuation

Variable Input Units Notes
Magnitude
km. Distance to earthquake producing fault
Variable Output - Site Effect not considered Units Notes
unitless
unitless Conversion from PGA to Intensity using Wald et al (1999)
  

Approximate distances to al-Harif aqueduct

Location Approx. Distance
to Al-Harif Aqueduct (km.)
En Feshka 380
En Gedi 415
Nahal Ze 'elim 425
Taybeh Trench 535
Qatar Trench 600

Dead Sea - En Feshka possible 8.0 - 8.8 (28 cm.)
8.1 - 8.9 (40 cm.)
8.0 - 8.8 (48 cm.)
Kagan et. al. (2011) identified several seismites from around this time.
Depth (cm.) Thickness (cm.) Seismite Type Modeled Age (± 1σ) Modeled Age (± 2σ) Quake Assignment (Kagan) Quake Assignment (Williams)
28 2 4 1220 CE ± 21 1222 CE ± 46 1202 CE Quake and 1212 CE Quake not assigned
40 6 4 1170 CE ± 20 1168 CE ± 43 1170 CE Quake not assigned
48 2 4 1137 CE ± 19 1133 CE ± 42 1117 or 1138 CE earthquakes not assigned
Dead Sea - En Gedi unlikely to possible
  • Seismites assigned to earthquakes in 1202, 1212, and 1293 CE from Agnon et al (2006)
Migowski et. al. (2004) listed the 1170 CE and 1202 CE earthquakes as masked or overprinted by the 1212 CE earthquake however Agnon et al (2006) appear to have identified both the 1202 and 1212 CE earthquakes in the En Gedi Core (see above).
Dead Sea - Nahal Ze 'elim unlikely to possible No seismites were assigned to the 1170 CE earthquake in Nahal Ze'elim at sites ZA-1 or ZA-2 although siesmites were assigned to the temporally proximal 1202 and 1212 CE earthquakes. For more info, see 1202 CE Quakes -> Paleoseismic Evidence -> Dead Sea - Nahal Ze'elim.
Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Kazzab Trench

Daeron et al (2007) dated Event S1 to between 926 and 1381 CE (2σ) and assigned it to the 1202 CE earthquake. Daëron et al (2005:529-530) presented surface faulting evidence that suggested younger less weathered fault scarplets on the Rachaıya-Serghaya faults and fresh mole-tracks on the Rachaıya fault were associated with one of the 1759 CE fault breaks while older more weathered faults scarplets on the Yammouneh fault were associated with one of the the 1202 CE earthquakes.



Jarmaq Trench

Nemer and Meghraoui (2006) date Event Z to after 84-239 CE. They suggested the Safed Earthquake of 1837 CE as the most likely candidate.



Displaced Aqueduct at al Harif, Syria

Sbeinati et al (2010) dated Event Z to between 1010 and 1210 CE (2σ) and suggested that it was probably caused by the 1170 CE earthquake.



Qiryat-Shemona Rockfalls

Kanari et al (2019) assigned the 1033 CE earthquake to sample QS-4 although Kanari (2008) assigned the same sample to the 1202 CE earthquake. Either are possible.



Bet Zayda (aka Beteiha)

Marco et al (2005) dated Event E.H. 1 to between 1020 to 1280 CE (ages were unmodeled) and assigned this event to the 1202 CE earthquake. They observed 2.2 m of offset which results in a 7.1-7.3 estimate of Moment Magnitude when using a relationship from Wells and Coppersmith (1994).



Tell Saidiyeh and Ghor Kabed Trenches

Ferry et al (2011) detected 12 surface rupturing seismic events in 4 trenches (T1-T4) in Tell Saidiyeh and Ghor Kabed; 10 of which were prehistoric. The tightest chronology came from the Ghor Kabed trenches (T1 and T2) where Events Y and Z were constrained to between 560 and 1800 CE.

Note: Although Ferry et al (2011) combined archaeoseismic interpretations, their paleoseismic evidence, and entries from earthquake catalogs to produce earthquake dates and some overly optimistic probabilities, only the paleoseismic data is presented here. Ferry et al (2011)'s archaeoseismic data was researched and is treated separately.



Dead Sea - Seismite Types



Dead Sea - En Feshka

Kagan et. al. (2011) identified several seismites from around this time.

Depth (cm.) Thickness (cm.) Seismite Type Modeled Age (± 1σ) Modeled Age (± 2σ) Quake Assignment (Kagan) Quake Assignment (Williams)
28 2 4 1220 CE ± 21 1222 CE ± 46 1202 CE Quake and 1212 CE Quake not assigned
40 6 4 1170 CE ± 20 1168 CE ± 43 1170 CE Quake not assigned
48 2 4 1137 CE ± 19 1133 CE ± 42 1117 or 1138 CE earthquakes not assigned


Dead Sea - En Gedi

Migowski et. al. (2004) listed the 1170 CE and 1202 CE earthquakes as masked or overprinted by the 1212 CE earthquake however Agnon et al (2006) appear to have identified both the 1202 and 1212 CE earthquakes in the En Gedi Core (see above).



Dead Sea - Nahal Ze 'elim

No seismites were assigned to the 1170 CE earthquake in Nahal Ze'elim at sites ZA-1 or ZA-2 although siesmites were assigned to the temporally proximal 1202 and 1212 CE earthquakes. For more info, see 1202 CE Quakes -> Paleoseismic Evidence -> Dead Sea - Nahal Ze'elim.



Notes

Ambraseys (2009)


Figure 3.12 An isoseismal map produced by kriging of the earthquake of 29 June 1170
produced by kriging of 45 groups of intensity points. Estimated location: 34.7° N, 36.4° E,
MS = 7.3 (±0.3). (from Ambraseys, N. N., 2009)

AD 1170 Jun 29 Shaizar

The earthquake, preceded by foreshocks, occurred early in the morning of 29 June 1170, and it was as destructive as that of 12 August 1157. Its epicentral region overlaps that of the earthquake of 1157, making it difficult to define its extent, which includes Shaizar, Hama, Barin, Safita, Hisn el Akrad, Homs, Qusayr (now Qalat el-Zau), Hisn al-Akkar, Arqa and Baalbek. An isoseismal map is given in Figure 3.12.

In Shaizar the earthquake ruined what the war and the earthquake 13 years earlier had spared. It caused considerable destruction to the walls [21] and citadel [5] and great parts of the town were destroyed [8], killing many people [1, 5]. The town did not recover until 1232, when it was finally rebuilt [37]. Hama, which had been almost totally ruined 13 years before and partly rebuilt, replacing many of its houses with huts [7], was again badly damaged [4], perhaps even totally ruined [1, 8]. There was considerable destruction of its hastily rebuilt walls [21] and citadel and many people lost their lives [5]. It is said that only one house was left intact [7].

Nevertheless, it is likely that what a traveller who passed through the region some years later says, namely that some 25 000 people perished in Hama, and that of about 200 Jews only 70 escaped, is no more than a gross exaggeration [19]. It may be that he refers to the losses in the town and rural areas combined [2]. Again here the walls were quickly repaired [5]. Great parts of the border castle of Barin were destroyed [8]. Of its citadel not a wall remained standing, and the settlement abutting on Frankish territory was damaged [5]. The repairs occupied the Franks completely for some time [6].

Safitha was also almost totally destroyed, and not one wall was left standing [6]. Hisn Akkar was probably shattered [24] but details are lacking. Homs heavily damaged [4] and great parts of the town were ruined [8] causing many victims [5]. Its walls and citadel were shattered, but quickly repaired [5, 8]. Again here the language used by some occidental authors grossly exaggerates damage [1, 2]. It is said that the castle of Qusayr was also ruined, but details are lacking.

Hisn al-Akrad was seriously damaged, particularly its citadel. It is said [4, 6] that its walls were destroyed, which cannot be true [31] because the Franks rebuilt part of them [6] and the inner enceinte underwent modifications. A massive battered embankment was built up against the wall, which provided resistance for future earthquakes (E1). A11 that is known about Arqa, from a single source only, is that the castle collapsed [22]. In Baalbek the earthquake caused considerable damage to houses and defences. Some parts of its wall and citadels were ruined [8, 21, 36]; and a number of people lost their lives [5]. The damage was quickly repaired [8]. In the mountains overlooking the town, deep fissures opened in the ground [19]. On one of the gates an inscription commemorates repairs in 1168(?) [32]. Damage was considerable at Jabalah, Baniyas (Valanin), Margat (Marqab), Tripilis, Jubail and Damascus. It is said that Jabalah collapsed [1, 4]; however, certain churches are reported as having withstood the shock [2, 21] and there is no evidence that the earthquake affected this port. The same is said about the castle of Baniyas [22], information not found in any other source. Margat is reported as destroyed [33]. It is mentioned by Rohricht (1874) among the localities damaged or affected by the earthquake, but the name of this locality does not appear in any of the references that he mentions in support [29].

A large part of the city of Tripoli was ruined and its castle [22] and the Great Church collapsed [2], but the town was far from being destroyed as some chroniclers maintain [1, 10]. The Syrian Church and the harbour survived the shock, apparently with no serious damage [2]. Jubail suffered damage that is unspecified but was serious enough for the Franks to request immediate repairs. Oddly, Beirut is not mentioned in the sources. In Damascus, one of the large urban centres in the region, the earthquake caused general panic, and in places serious damage to dwellings [2, 5, 8, 10]. The inhabitants left the town [4] and made for the plains of Ghuta. Strangely the only damage to public buildings recorded in the urban area is the knocking down of the crenellations of the Great Mosque and the collapse of the roof of the rostrum. In all only one man died, having been hit by a stone [4]. However, damage to the rural district was widespread and serious.

Further away from the epicentral area, in Aleppo, the largest urban centre in the region, which had already been damaged by the large earthquake of 1157, damage was widespread and in places serious. The descriptions of damage by Christian and Muslim authors are somewhat coloured by their religious perspective, both sides considering the earthquake to be a result of divine justice. Information that the whole city of Aleppo collapsed and became a hill of ruins is a gross exaggeration [1-4, 21]. More sober sources point out that damage was not total. A considerable part of the city [5], or parts of it, were damaged such that the people were not able to take refuge in their homes for fear of another shock [8], an observation suggesting that most dwellings survived the shock. Since the shocks carried on for several days, and despite the fact that the people were apprehensive about camping outside Aleppo lest they found themselves surprised by the Franks [5], they evacuated the city [9]. There is no doubt that many public buildings, dwellings and some parts of the city walls suffered different degrees of damage, some of them seriously. Half of the citadel was ruined [4], but the Syrian Church suffered absolutely no damage and the Ulu Carni survived with only some minor damage to its minaret [26], the crescent of which was hurled almost 200 m [2, 3, 21, 27].

It is said that as a result of the earthquake the ground in the whole city cracked, and was reduced to a series of crevasses and fissures filled with a black fluid [2, 3], which is probably an allusion to liquefaction of the ground along the banks of the Quwayq River. The death count is suspect, with estimates ranging from 5000 [9] to 80 000 [4, 34]. Nevertheless, with Aleppo's jails crowded with several thousand Christian prisoners there is no evidence that any of them died. Damage was very quickly repaired, with the Muslim army camped outside the city supervising the work until all of the walls and the principal mosques had been repaired [5, 8].

It is not certain what happened in Harim or Baghras, since all that is known, from a Muslim source, is that its walls 'fell down' [21]. Antioch, on the River Orontes, a large urban centre already badly damaged by the earthquake of 1157, suffered some damage. Some battlements of the city wall on the riverbank were thrown down, as well as part of the ramparts, while in places cracks that had opened in the ground filled with water [2, 15, 16]. The Cathedral Church of St Peter was shattered and one of its domes fell on the Greek patriarch and his clergy [28] and the altar of the church of St Cosma caved in [21]. In contrast, the Syrian Churches of St Mary, St George and Bar Suma were not damaged [2, 21]. The death toll was relatively low, about 50, most of whom were in the church of St Peter [2, 18]. The walls of the city and its church were rebuilt [2, 3]. Internal evidence suggests that it is unlikely that Antioch was severely damaged; in fact the earthquake seems to have caused fear more than anything else. Again here, some chroniclers exaggerate the situation, saying briefly that Antioch was completely flattened [1,16], overthrown [3], destroyed [4, 22], or swallowed up in the ground [15]. Others say that parts of the city collapsed [10, 12, 14], whereas better-informed sources restrict their accounts to damage in diverse places [2].

There are no records of 'destruction' [1, 4] in the coastal town of Latakia, except for statements that its castle was damaged [22] while its church was left unscathed [21]. The fortress of Hunain may have been damaged, and there is evidence that the wall towers of Sur suffered some unspecified damage [22], the earthquake causing considerable concern in the port area [1]. Nothing is known in any detail about Acre except that its castle allegedly collapsed [22], though this is not substantiated by other sources. The earthquake was felt in the region of Nazareth [25], causing some unspecified damage to the Church in Nazareth [23], and it was perceptible in Jerusalem [12].

There is no evidence that the shock was noticeable at Ashtera [6, 30] or in Cyprus [18]. To the east of the epicentral region it is known that the walls of Samosata had to be repaired, but it is not clear whether this was due to the earthquake [2]. Edessa was unscathed, but the nearby monastery of St Ananias was shaken to the extent that the clergy clung to the altar [3, 21]. Not only in the monastery, but also in the whole country, there was absolutely no damage [2]. The earthquake was felt as far as Raqqa [4], perhaps causing some unspecified damage [6], and in the region of Mardin, Sinjar, Mosul and Nisibis [4]. There is no evidence that the shock was felt in Baghdad, Basra, Harran or Wasit. These localities are mentioned in the sources merely to indicate the general direction in which the earthquake shaking propagated [4].

The duration of aftershocks given in the sources varies from a fortnight to four months, but in general there is little hard evidence that aftershocks were either numerous or destructive. In all, an estimated 30 towns and fortified sites were significantly damaged or destroyed, leaving both the Franks and the Muslims open to military attacks from each other. The Franks believed that damage was worse on the Muslim side [6] and it took them some time to realise that the earthquake had overthrown several cities, as many Christian as Muslim [13]. Thus each side was occupied with repairing the damage, for fear of the other [8]. Ironically, this resulted in a period of unofficial truce, since both sides were repairing the fortifications of their border citadels as quickly as possible. As after the earthquake of 1157, repairs were hasty and for many years little proper rebuilding was done. For instance Antioch, although not so badly affected, seems to have suffered from a shortage of funds since, according to a source writing about ten years later, the repairs did not reach 'even a mediocre standard'.

It is interesting that it was only after the first large shock of 1157 that wood was used extensively in the rebuilding works, demonstrating its earthquake-resistant properties. It was, however, some time before these properties were appreciated to the extent that its higher cost was partially offset by tax relief on wood [7]. The earthquake was felt in most of the regions of Sham, Jazirah, as far as the borders of Mosul and in Iraq, while the area of maximum intensity was in Syria [5, 8], which, incidentally, was misspelled in some occidental sources as Styria [17], thus placing a spurious earthquake in Steiermark, in what was then Hungary. This error passes on unnoticed to modern writers [37, 38, 40]. Undoubtedly the earthquakes of 1157 and 1170 were of sufficient political importance to interest chroniclers throughout Europe, a subject that is outside the scope of this survey. For this event there are several detailed accounts by eye-witnesses, and virtual unanimity regarding the date.

One of the most important sources for the effects of the earthquake in Frankish Syria is William of Tyre (1130-86). Three different versions of William's account are extant: a Latin text, an Old French text and the abridged English translation by the travel writer Samuel Purchas (c. 1577-1626). The Latin text is rhetorical and self-consciously literary in its style, and, therefore, may well exaggerate the earthquake's effects, although in terms of content it closely resembles the briefer and plainer Old French version. Both texts agree that the event took place on 29 June (3 Kal. July in the Latin, Feast of Sts Peter and Paul in the Old French: from the narrative context, it is clear that the year is 1170), at the first hour of the day, i.e. 6 am, and that Jabalah, Laodicea, Aleppo, Shaizar and Hama/Haman (Hamah) were seriously damaged. The Latin text adds `Emissa' (Hims) Regarding aftershocks, the Latin text claims that they lasted 'three or four months, or longer', the Old French `nearly four months'. These two texts agree that aftershocks were felt three or four times per day or night. The remarks of both texts on the effects on Palestine are obscure. The Latin text says only that 'the superiors of our province, Palestine' (Superiores tamen nostrae provinciae, Palestinae videlicet) escaped harm, whereas the Old French asserts that 'the part of Palestine which is around Jerusalem did not suffer sufficient damage to lose towns or men' (en la terre de Palestine qui est vers Jerusalem, ne corut pas cist grant damage de perdre les viles ne les genz). The latter version would indicate that any damage in Palestine was slight.

Purchas' summary translation gives `Hanuin' where the Latin and Old French texts above have Hama/Haman. While this may just be an error, either in Purchas or in the Latin text which he was using (which may well have been different from the text established in modern editions), it is noteworthy that there was a Frankish fortress just over 30 km from Baniyas called Hunain (Le Strange 1890, 418; Dussaud 1927, 25), which was within the area affected by the earthquake. Detailed accounts of the effects of this earthquake in northern Syria are found in the Syriac and Armenian versions of Michael the Syrian. The descriptions are somewhat coloured by the author's religious perspective, but this does not detract from the important information which they contain. A lacuna at the beginning of the passage in the Syriac version seems to have contained the date, but this is supplied by Chabot (Mich. Syr. iii. 337 n. 7) from Bar Hebraeus, whose account is clearly based on Michael's. The Armenian version of Michael confusedly gives 29 June of a.S. 1493 (1182) and a.Arm. 613 (1164), which seems to be due to a systematic chronological error. Both accounts begin with Michael and his clergy celebrating the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul (29 June) in the monastic church of St Anania, near Edessa. The Syriac version notes that 'absolutely no damage' was suffered locally. The same version says that the clergy 'were thrown from side to side', while in the Armenian text 'it seemed as if the earth was going up and then suddenly down'. Both versions mention the destruction of Aleppo, the cracking of the ground there and the black water which issued forth. The collapse of St Peter's church in Antioch is also found in both texts, although the Syriac text adds the information that about 50 people were killed. This is omitted in the Armenian version, although it does mention that the Greek church collapsed, killing the clergy. Both texts also give the story of the expulsion of the dying Greek patriarch and the return of the Frankish bishop. Generally, though, the Syriac text contains more information on the damage to Syrian towns. This includes the town of Samosata, which is not mentioned in any other source and would extend the northern terminus of the damage zone. The same text is quite unusual in noting that the earthquake caused disasters in the 'rural areas' as well as the cities. Most East Mediterranean sources tend to mention the effects of earthquakes only on cities or entire regions.

The record of the contemporary Ibn al-Jauzi is preserved in his nephew's Mirat az-Zeman. The date of a.H. 565 Shawwal (June-July 1170) is entirely consistent with the date given by the majority of Christian sources. Ibn al-Jauzi gives details of the damage in Islamic Syria, particularly in Aleppo (for which he gives a death toll of 80 000, which is possible) and Damascus, as well as many other places. He also notes that the earthquake `spread towards Baghdad, Wasit, Basra and all the regions of Iraq', which is an indicator of the area over which it was generally felt.

Ibn al-Athir, writing a generation later than Ibn al-Jauzi, gives the date of a.H. 565 Shawwal 12 (29 June 1170), which is completely concordant with the main Christian sources. Ibn al-Athir focuses in particular on Nur ed Din's remedial works, and includes Ba'albek among the cities which were damaged. Abu Shama (c. 1203-68) includes in several passages on this earthquake the account of 'Imad ad-Din al-Asfahani (1125-1201). He notes that Nur ed Din was at Ashtera when he was told of the earthquake, and it may be significant that he mentions no damage in that place. Abu Shama probably exaggerates the damage to the Frankish stronghold of Hisn al-Akrad, for he says that `not one wall. .. was left standing'. He notes that in Hims Salah ad-Din survived because of his large valet, who presumably held the roof up. More importantly, he records Nur ed Din's use of wood in the rebuilding work, which he financed partly through tax relief. In another passage, too lengthy to be quoted here, Abu Shama relates how Nur ed Din attempted to obtain money from waqfs for the rebuilding work, which was opposed by the qadi Radhi ad-Din (Abu Shama, 1/17, 18). Kemal ad-Din (1192-1262) does not add much new information, except in quoting Ibn al-Adim, who claims that the death toll in Aleppo reached 5000. This earthquake was sufficiently grave to attract the interest of chroniclers in Europe, such as Robert de Torigni, who was probably a close contemporary. It also appears in numerous twelfth- and thirteenthcentury European chronicles collected by Alexandre (1990, 163f.). Some of them give new information, such as the Annals of Gatines, which say that a total of about 30 towns and villages collapsed. The Annals of Vezelay give 15 days of aftershocks, and the Annals of Admont 14 days (the latter chronicle, presumably because of a scribal error, places the earthquake in Styria (in modern Austria) rather than Syria).

The contemporary hermit St Neophytus of Paphos was visited by a monk from Antioch, who told him that the earth opened, which indicates faulting. His account also implies that, when the earth closed up again, the stones in the erstwhile crack were hurled up to a great height. This suggests that the crack was closed by a strong aftershock. The same source says that 'a great multitude of people' were killed, which is probably an exaggeration in view of Michael the Syrian's number of 50. This event is also mentioned by Ibn Shaddad (writing in the thirteenth century). This event may in addition be alluded to by the twelfth-century Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela, in two passages referring to the destruction by earthquake of Tripolis and Hamah respectively (21/17; 49-50/31-2). Since Benjamin's only chronological indicators are 'in times gone by' and `some years ago', he could be referring either to the 12 August 1157 earthquake (q.v.) or to this one, or even to both.

Abu 'l-Faraj (1226-86) practically copies Michael the Syrian, but his account is useful for that very purpose, since it supplies the date missing in Michael. The Armenian chronicler Sembat (fl. c. 1275) dates this event correctly to a.Arm. 619 (1170), and says that it was felt in Armenia on 19 June, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul; '19' may well be a scribal error for '29'. The Chronicle of Hetum Patmi (c. 1296) also includes this event.

According to Ibn al-Dawadari (writing in the fourteenth century), this earthquake caused cracks in the mountains above Ba'albek, and aftershocks continued for months. Ibn Shihnah (S.67/64) (died 1485) notes details of the damage to the Ulu in Aleppo. See also Ajami (29b/24; viii. 13a/9), al-Ghazzi (n.d. iii. 95) and al-`Umari (f. 78v).

References

[1] Will. Tyr. RHC Oce xviii/971-973; Lat. Old Fr; Purchas vii (trans. New York 1943); ii. 370-371).
[2] Mich. Syr. xix. 6/iii. 337-339; C. 370; C. 370; iv. 696.
[3] Mich. Syr. Arm. 332; C i. 370-377.
[4] Sibt ibn al-Jauzi 8/174; Chicago edn, 174.
[5] Ibn al-Athir B. xi. 355; Tornberg xi. 232-233; C 572; At. 261; Bahir sub ann.
[6] Abu Shama, RHC. 150, 154.
[7] Abu Shama, Raud 1/160, 185, 186.
[8] Kemal ad-Din, A iii. 572, R 143/332.
[9] Ibn al-Adim, Zubdat, 2/33; Tarikh u. 330.
[10] Rob. Tor. 220b/246; ii. 20.
[11] Annal. Flor. MGH Ss xvi 625.
[12] Chron. Univ. Senon.
[13] Ann. Col. Max. 121.
[14] Ann. Gast. 774.
[15] Ann. Magdeburg. 193.
[16] Ann. Vizel. 228-229; in Bouquet xii 345; RHFxii. 345.
[17] Ann. Admont. 584.
[18] Neoph., 11/133v/211.
[19] Ibn Dawadari, Cairo edn. 1972 vii. 44.
[20] Benj. Tud. 49-50/31-32, 22/17.
[21] Abu'l Faraj, ch, 295-297; Dyn. Hd. 370-371.
[22] Het'um, M 59; C. a. Arm. 619; II. i. 76.
[23] Mayer (1977, 338).
[24] Richard (1972).
[25] Anonymous (1846), see Rohricht (1898), 348, n. 3.
[26] Ibn al-Shihnah S. 67/64 Nawadir.
[27] Ajami viii. 13a/9; 29b/24.
[28] Rey (1896, 376).
[29] Rohricht (1898, 348); for the mislocation of the site in Bosra see Berchem (1902).
[30] Berchem (1902, 420).
[31] Hagenmayer (1890, 420).
[32] Alouf (1908, 61).
[33] Annales 5689.
[34] al-Umari, f. 78v.
[35] Ziadeh (1953, 57).
[36] Kohl et al. (1925, 8).
[37] Mallet (1850, 28).
[38] Rethly (1952, 24).
[40] Hoernes (1902, 17, 56-57).

Notes

In the summer of the following year, which was the seventh year of the Lord Amalric, in the month of June, there was an earthquake around Eastern parts which was greater and more violent than any which were said to have happened in the memory of men of the present century. It razed to the ground a swathe of most ancient and well-fortified cities throughout the whole Orient, burying their inhabitants in the ruins and causing the collapse of buildings so as to reduce them to grinding poverty. There was no place, even as far as the ends of the earth, where there was not the distress of familial bereavement or domestic sorrow: everywhere there was grief and death to be faced. Among the places [affected] were the greatest cities of our provinces of Syria and Phoenicia - distinguished for their antiquity through the progression of centuries, they were utterly razed. In Caelo- Syria, Antioch, the metropolis of many provinces and once the mistress of many kings, was completely flattened together with its residents; the walls, its great strong towers, which were constructions of incomparable solidity, churches, and all manner of buildings were overthrown by the shock. Even today, and with much work, vast sums of money, continual care and tireless devotion [the Antiochenes] have been unable to restore it even to a mediocre standard. In the same province those famous maritime cities, Gabul [Jabalaj and Laodicea, also fell down; and in the Mediterranean districts which are held by the enemy, Berrhoe, which is also called Halapia [Aleppo], Caesara [Shaizar], Hama, Emissa and many other [cities collapsed]; and of the dependent towns which were affected, no number can be given. And in Phoenicia, Tripolis, that noble and populous city was struck on 3 Kal July at the Ist hour of the day by such a shock that there was no escape for scarcely anyone roundabouts. The whole city became as a pile of stones, a tomb of crushed citizens, and a public sepulchre. Even Tyre, which is the much famed metropolis of the same province, had its citizenry endangered and its robust towers thrown down by a more violent earthquake. They found that, as for us, so for the enemy, with the cities half-ruined; they were open to hostile attacks. Thus while each feared the wrath of a strict judge, he feared to molest the other. For each side their own grief was enough, and as long as domestic concerns weighed on them, they put off inflicting harm on the other. Therefore there was peace, albeit briefly .. .

And this revelation of divine anger did not last merely an hour, as is mostly the case, but during the [following] three or four months, or longer, this terrifying movement [of the ground] was felt three or four times or more per day or night. For every [ground] movement was mistrusted, and nowhere was safe repose to be found. But often when a man was sleeping his soul, ever watchful, would tremble with fear and suddenly shatter his repose and cause his body to shake. However the superiors of our province, Palestine, under the protection of God, escaped all these evils. (Will. Tyr. RHC xviii/971-973 Lat.).



[2] In the summer following that year, in the month of June there were earthquakes [lit. "collapses"] in these parts of the land of Syria greater in size than had ever been heard of for across the entire country it struck many of the ancient cities and the fortifications of many castles. The inhabitants were buried in the ruins, so great was the number of all kinds of people buried in the ground. In the country which is called Caelo-Syria the most part of the walls and houses of the noble city of Antioch collapsed: several churches collapsed, which it was hardly possible to repair and restore to their former state. In these parts two fine coastal cities also collapsed in the earthquake, Gibel [Jabala] and Lalische [Laodicea]. Others which are in enemy territory also collapsed, viz. Halape [Aleppo], Cesaire [Shaizar] and Haman. Very large numbers of castles collapsed in the land of Phoenicia. On the day of the feast of the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, around the hour of Prime [c. 6 am], the ground suddenly collapsed in the city of Tripolis. So badly was the ground affected that it resembled no more than a pile of stones, and entombed all the people who were buried underneath it. There was [also] destruction in the famous city of Tyre: while not many people were killed, some great towers collapsed and were reduced to rubble. One also saw on the land there fortifications which had been breached and were damaged. It would [thus] have been an easy thing for the Turks to have conquered our cities and castles on a large scale, but such was their fear even at the wrath which had come from Our Lord that they had no facility for making war; it was the same for us Christians, as each sought to have himself shriven and to repent of his sins and await the death which was before him, giving no thought at this time to taking up arms. And this upheaval which had struck the earth was not all finished, but it went on for nearly four months: three or four times per day or night, an earthquake [crolle] was felt in a town. Everyone was in such a state of fear that it took only the slightest noise to make them believe that they were about to die. Such was the misery of the living that they were unable to mourn for the dead: while they slept they had no repose, nor did they stop trembling, and it seemed to them that their houses would collapse on them. By the grace of Our Lord, the part of Palestine which is around survived. (Will. Tyr. RHC xviii. 971-973 Old Fr.).



The year following [1169] a most terrible earthquake, utterly overthrowing strong cities, involving the inhabitants in the ruins, filling every place in the land with laments. Thus fared it with the cities of Syria and Phoenicia throwne to the ground, and Antiochia in Coelesyria was quite overthrowne; the walls, towers, churches, houses so ruined, that to this day they cannot be reduced to a meane restoration. Gabul, Laodicea, Nerea called otherwise Halapia, Caesara, Hanuin, Emissa, and many other cities in the province, townes without number, fared likewise. Tripolis was made a heape of stones, and publike sepulchres scarcely any escaping. Tyrus lost her towers. These terrors continued three or foure monthes, thrice or foure times a day. (Will. Tyr. Purchas vii).


[4] In that same year 1481, on Monday 29th haziran [June], there was a violent earthquake: the earth was shaken like a boat on the sea...

As we were in the convent of Mar Hanania, we prostrated ourselves on our faces in front of the altar, and seized hold of it. We were thrown from one side to the other, and we prayed the Lord, but [silently,] from the heart, that he would deign to put an end to this plague. After a long time, when we revived, against all hope, it was as if we were coming out of .a tomb, such was our fear. Then, like someone who has just woken from sleep, our eyes began to weep and our tongues to praise, above all when we saw, and realised, and were assured, that not only in the convent, but in the whole country, there had been absolutely no damage. And when we found out what damage had been caused in [other] countries and cities...

In this earthquake Berrhoe, which is the city of Aleppo, collapsed: the impiety of that city was as great as that of Sodom and Gomorrah, and we saw with our own eyes the numerous kinds of iniquities which they committed. Several thousand Christian prisoners were to be found there, and they were permitted to go to church only on Sundays, with chains on their feet and necks... Those who said that God could not save or deliver the [Christian] prisoners from their [the Muslims] hands were piled up in heaps during the earthquake; their walls and houses were overturned; and the air and the water were infected [by the corpses] of those who had suffocated. The whole city cracked, and was reduced to a series of crevasses and fissures; black [fluids] (les noirs) came up over it, and it became as a hill of ruins. And the clearest proof that the sword of anger had been drawn against Aleppo is that nowhere else was there such a disaster.

In Antioch the wall on the river bank collapsed; the great church of the Greeks collapsed entirely; the sanctuary of the great church of Mar Peter was overthrown, as well as churches and houses in diverse places. Around 50 people perished in Antioch itself. Similarly, the whole of Gabala collapsed. A large part of the city of Tripoli and its great church were destroyed. In the other coastal towns, as well as Damascus, Emessa and Hamat, and in all the other cities and rural areas this earthquake caused disasters, but nowhere did one hear talk of a disaster comparable to that which occurred in Aleppo.

The prince who was seigneur of that town [Antioch] cut his hair and, putting on sack-cloth, assembled the people and went up to Qusair in order to ask pardon of their patriarch. They pressed him to return to the church, but he declared, "If you do not expel the Greek patriarch, I will not enter [the city]". When they went down into [Antioch], they found the latter crushed by the earthquake; they took him, as he was still breathing, and carried him outside the city; he died on the way. Then Amaury returned to Antioch. The walls of the city and its church were rebuilt.

Nureddin rebuilt the wall of Aleppo; in the same way the seigneur of Samosata rebuilt the walls, and each one of the Turkish or Frankish princes rebuilt their places.

As for us, it remains to be said that God saved a great many of our people who lived in these cities... In Aleppo, when the whole city collapsed, our church was preserved, and not a single stone of it fell. In Antioch three churches were preserved for us, that of the Mother of God, that of Mar Guiwarguis and that of Mar Bar gauma. Moreover, the little church which we had at Gabala was saved, as well as [those] in Laodicea and Tripolis . (Mich. Syr. xix. 337-339).



In the same year [a.S. 1493/a.Arm. 613] a terrible earthquake was felt on 29th June, at the moment when the Mass of the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul was being celebrated. The earth shook in its foundations until the ninth hour, and it seemed as if the earth was going up and then suddenly down. At that moment we were in the convent dedicated to Mar Hanan, and we forbade anyone to go outside the church until the wrath of God had been appeased. To tell the truth, we did not dare to watch the end of this plague, for in interpretation of the signs of this [celestial] wrath, we said to ourselves that the end of the world was coming. However, when the Lord had recalled His creative goodness, and when nature had regained her usual calm, and we looked at each other, everyone's eyes were full of tears and our mouths were zealous for blessing and praising God. We learned that the walls of Aleppo had been overturned with all its buildings, except for only one church. The ground opened up and vomited forth black water, which flowed through the town and drowned thousands of people. This was a terrible effect of divine justice, for Christians were being sold in the markets like beasts: the blood of the faithful was poured out like water; so frequent were the massacres... At Antioch [the church of] St Peter was overthrown, as well as that of the Greeks, crushing the sacred ministers together with many of the faithful. The prince and all the city, having put on hair-shirts, went and prostrated themselves before their patriarch, begging him to return to the city, for they were convinced that this calamity was due to his anathe-. mas. The patriarch answered them, "Expel in ignominy the Greek patriarch". They obeyed this order, but found the latter mortally wounded by a stone, which had struck him when the church collapsed. They went immediately and informed the patriarch of the Franks that the Greek patriarch was in agony. The Frankish patriarch enjoined them nevertheless to put him on a litter and to throw him outside the city, which was done. Thus that man died miserably. Then the patriarch of the Franks of Herim returned to Antioch and the city was consoled. The work of rebuilding the ruins was begun immediately. Although this strange earthquake caused destruction everywhere to fortifications, cities and churches, the mercy of Christ protected in Antioch always and above all the sanctuaries of the orthodox, not because of our good works, but solely for having conserved the tradition of our fathers. (Mich. Syr. Arm. 332).




(a.H. 565) During Shawwal an earthquake occurred in Sham: it destroyed the greater part of Damascus, knocking down the crenellations of the mosque and causing the roof of the rostrum to collapse, which shook like a date-palm in a great wind.

It was worse in Aleppo, where half of the citadel was destroyed, and a great part of the city, where 80 000 inhabitants were buried under the ruins, and the walls of the fortifications collapsed. The inhabitants fled into the fields.

The citadel of Hisn al-Akrad collapsed, not a trace of the wall remaining. There was similar damage at Hamat and Homs. Nureddin travelled to Aleppo, which was exposed to the enemy, having been bereft of its ramparts.

This earthquake affected the whole earth (terre): it destroyed all the Muslim citadels of the land of Sham: Aleppo, ail its capitals, Antioch, Latakia, Jabalah, and all the cities of the littoral as far as the land of the Romans [Rum, i.e. the Byzantine Empire].

It is said that at Damascus only one man died: he was on the stairs of Jiron and was hit on the head by a stone. He was the only man to stay behind, while all the [other] inhabitants had left the town and made for the desert.

The earthquake spread as far as the Euphrates, reaching Mosul, Sinjar, Nasibin [Nusaybin], Odessa [ar-Raha], Hran, ar- Ruqat, and Mardin, as well as other regions: it spread towards Baghdad, Wasit, Basra and all the regions of Iraq.

Such an earthquake had not been seen since the beginning of Islam. (Sibt ibn al-Jauzi, Mir. 8/174).


Also in that year on 12th Shawwal, there was another terrible earthquake, the like of which had never been seen. Its effects were felt in Sham, Jazirah, Mosul, Iraq and also in other countries, while the area of maximum intensity was Sham. It caused a considerable amount of destruction in Damascus, Baalbek, Homs, Hamat, Caesarea, Barin and Aleppo. It destroyed walls and citadels and there were countless victims.

When Nureddin heard what had happened, he marched to Baalbek in order to repair the defences of the citadel, not having received any other information. After he had arrived at Baalbek he was acquainted with the destruction suffered in other towns, viz. damaged fortifications and vanished inhabitants. He left a garrison at Baalbek to protect and repair the town, and then travelled to Homs, where he did the same, then went on towards Hamat and Barin.

Nureddin was very curious to know about the situation in the Frankish territory, and in particular in the citadel of Barin. Not a wall remained standing there, and the city abutted on Frankish territory. He left a detachment of elite [troops] there under the command of a great emir. He also organised the works programme in such a way that it continued night and day.

Next Nureddin arrived at Aleppo and saw the effects of the earthquake: this city could not be compared with the others, for it had been completely destroyed by several shocks. The survivors were still gripped with fear: if they had been able to safeguard themselves against the terror of collapsing [buildings], they would have found no shelter from the earthquakes. Moreover, they were apprehensive of camping outside Aleppo, lest they found themselves surprised [i.e. attacked] by the Franks. When Nureddin saw what the earthquake had done to Aleppo and its population, he himself took charge of the rebuilding works. He supervised the workmen and stayed there until the reconstruction of the city was complete, and spent a fortune [on it].

As for the Frankish possessions - God curse them - the earthquake also had effect there. They [the Franks] began to rebuild their towns, fearing lest Nureddin attack them. Each camp made tremendous efforts to repair its possessions, for fear that the other would make an incursion. (Ibn al-Athir-B. xi. 355).


[Nureddin besieges Kerak and Shabani He was on the road from Syria when, on 12th Shawwal of the above-mentioned year [a.H. 565] he received news of the earthquake which had ravaged and Aleppo and many other regions so badly. The Atabeg was then at Ashtera; he took the road to Aleppo . . . (Abu Shama, RHC, 150).


[According to al-`1mad al-Asfahani] The Franks had citadels near Barin, Hisn al-Akrad, Safitha and ar-Raqa, which found themselves as it were drowned by the tide of earthquakes, and in particular the citadel of Hisn al-Akrad, not one wall of which is standing, and the repairs occupied the Franks completely.

We learned of the gravity of the damage which was suffered in several regions of Sham, but one piece of news made our hearts rejoice: in the territory of the infidels [i.e. the Franks] the damage was worse than in ours, for it was a feast day: they were all assembled in the churches and roofs collapsed on them.

The same author composed a eulogy on Nureddin which mentions this earthquake:
The unleashing of violence shook the earth with its inhabitants. It destroyed the solid citadels, justice overcame their [the Franks] force and they were blasted by fate. All the high buildings were dashed down and the fortresses were razed. God had decided, and so it was accomplished. The infidels [lit. polytheists (i.e. Christians)] were massacred, and this was a sign for the monotheists. The enemy suffered the same punishment as the people of Aad . ..
al-Asfahani also said,
Behold a new sign which I find in the earthquake: [the earth] complains at being the home of the corrupt..
(Abu Shama, RHC, 154).


I read in the diwan of al-'Argala that Salah ad-Din Yussuf al-Ayub found himself on the day of the earthquake, in the company of Vbayd, his valet, who was known to be a man of ample physique, in a house at Huma. All of the city was destroyed except for this house. Then al-'Arqala said to Salah ad-Din,
Grant to "Ubayd whatever he wishes: for it is due to his great size that the house stayed standing.
(Abu Shama, 1/185, 186).

. . they have replaced their luxurious houses with huts which are as good as tombs with wooden roofs, or boats from which escape is impossible. (Abu Shama, 1/185, 186).

[Nureddin suspends the tax on wood. The poet Abu Shama says to him:] It is in order to recompense you for the lifting of taxes on wood for the sake of the people of Sham that Egypt offers you her riches. (Abu Shama 160, al-qmad al-Asfahani on Abu Shama).


On 12th Shawwal [29 June 1170] there were large and frightening earthquakes, one after the next, the like of which had never been seen. They were felt in most of the regions of Syria, Jazirah, as far as Mosul, and in Iraq, but above all in Syria. Great parts of Damascus, Baalbek, Emessa, Hamah, Shaizar, Barin, Aleppo etc. were ruined. Their walls and citadels were overthrown, and the houses collapsed on their inhabitants, as a result of which a countless multitude perished. When Nureddin received this news, he made for Baalbek, in order to rebuild the parts of its wall and fortress which had been ruined; but when he arrived he was told of what had happened in the rest of the country, and learned that the walls of these cities had collapsed and that they were left defenceless. Consequently he left someone at Baalbek to rebuild and defend it, and marched to Emessa, where he did the same; thence [he went] to Hamah and Barin. He employed every security measure [which he could] to protect the whole country against the Franks. Finally Nureddin came to Aleppo, and saw such results of the earthquake as were not to be seen in any other town. In fact, this place had been scourged by the disaster. The terror of the survivors was extreme, but they were not able to take refuge in this homes, for fear of another shock. Nureddin camped outside the city, and began to rebuild it in person, not stopping until he had repaired all of the walls and the principal mosques. As for the Frankish territory, the earthquake caused comparable disasters there. They occupied themselves with rebuilding their cities, fearing lest Nureddin attacked them. Thus each side was occupied with rebuilding its cities, for fear of the other. (Kemal al-Din, iii. 572).

Nureddin knew about the earthquake which had occurred in Sham and especially the damage in Aleppo, and of the evacuation of its inhabitants, and that the shocks had carried on for several days. It was on 12th Shawwal, a Monday, at sunrise. The number of victims, men and women, reached 5000. (Ibn al-Adim, Zubdat, 2/33 (Kemal al-Din)).


On the day of the Apostles Peter & Paul there was a terrible earthquake in Outremer, in which the city of Tripolis, part of Damascus and most of Antioch collapsed. The Arabs were not spared from this tribulation: for Halapre [Aleppo] which is the capital of the Kingdom of Loradin, and certain cities of the Saracens, did not escape this plague. (Rob. Tor. f. 220b/246).


1170. There was an earthquake in the region of Outremer, in which as many Christian cities as pagan were overthrown. (Ann. Flor. 625).


1170. A terrible earthquake occurred in the regions of Outre-mer on 3 Kal. July [29 June]; innumerable people perished, as many Christians as pagans, and numerous cities were overthrown. A great part of Antioch collapsed; the city of Jerusalem shook strongly, but it did not fall. (Chron. Univ. Senon 1169- 1171).


1170... An earthquake in the East overthrew several cities, as many Christian as pagan. (Ann. Col. Max. 121).


1170... In the regions of Outremer there was a great earthquake in the kingdom of Jerusalem, such that around 30 towns and villages collapsed; part of Antioch fell. (Ann. Gast. 774).


1169. In Syria, Antioch and other cities were shaken to the foundations by an earthquake: one of these, swallowed up by an opening in the ground, gave the appearance only of flooded abysses. (Ann. Magdeburg. 193).


1170. Around the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul [29 June] there was a great earthquake for 15 days in the Outremer regions, as a result of which several towns and forts of the Christians and Saracens collapsed, as well as the most part of the ramparts of Antioch.' (Ann. Vizel. 228-229).


1170... [There was] an earthquake [lasting] 14 days in Styria, and in the coastal districts it overthrew several cities. (Ann. Admont. 584).


Not long after [the earthquake in Cyprus], a certain monk came to me from Antioch the Great, saying that a strange and terrifying earthquake had happened in that city: he said that not only was the earth severely shaken, but that it had groaned and cloven asunder and that the stones had been thrown down into a chasm. When the earth had come back together, the stones which were found around the akrocheila had flown up to the summit as if someone had thrown them there. And not only did walls and most of the houses collapse, but also the great church, as a result of which the patriarch was killed together with a great multitude of the people. (Neoph. 11/133v/211).


One must not confuse the two earthquakes of 552 and 565. (Ibn Shaddad, an-Nawader as-Sultanya, 43; Ibn Wasil, Mufardy 1/185).


The same (Ibn Shaddad, 58)

At Tripolis in years gone by there was an earthquake, when many Gentiles and Jews perished, for houses and walls fell upon them. There was great destruction at that time throughout the Land of Israel, and more than 20 000 souls perished. (Benj. Tud. 22/17).


Thence [from Karjaten/Kirjathim] it is a day's journey to Hamah, which is Hamath. It lies on the river Jabbok at the foot of Mount Lebanon. Some time ago there was a great earthquake in the city, and some 25 000 souls perished in one day, and of about 200 Jews but 70 escaped. (Benj. Tud. 49-50/31-32).


On the second day of the week [Monday] on the 29th day of the tenth month of the Arabs, there was a severe earthquake, and the earth rocked like a ship on the sea. [This was] an event the like of which had not been heard of for many gen-. erations. For the blessed Patriarch Mar Michael said "When we were standing in the church of the monastery of Mar Hananya during the morning service, on the day of the festival of St Peter and St Paul, a sound like heavy thunder was heard from the earth. And we were lying prone on our faces before the holy table, to which we clung, and we were tossed about from one side to the other. And after a long time, contrary to expectation, we returned as from the graves, and then our eyes, like those of a man who is woke up from sleep, began to shed tears and our tongues to utter praise.". And during that earthquake the walls of Aleppo and Baelbak and Hamath and Emesa and Shaizar and Baghras and of their fortresses and great buildings fell down upon their inhabitants. The whole of the great church of the Greeks which was in Antiochia fell down, and the altar of the church of Kusyana of the Franks. As for us, that is to say the remnant of our people, He rendered us great help, having consideration of our feebleness, for there was among us neither king nor governor. Whilst all else in Aleppo fell down, one church was protected. And in Antiochia three churches were protected for us, the church of the Bearer of God, the church of George, and the church of Mar Bar Sawma. And in Gabbala also our little church was protected, and so also in Laodicea, for the glory of God. And the earthquake lasted 25 days. (Abu'l-Faraj 339/295-296).


(a.Arm. 619) On 19th June a violent earthquake was felt which overthrew the ramparts of Antioch and Aleppo. The magnificent church [of St Peter] in Antioch collapsed, and buried many people within its ruins. (Sembat, RHC a.Arm. 619/624).


A violent earthquake happened in 1170, cities and castles collapsed in the SEHL(N), i.e. SUR, AK'K'A, TRAPAWLIS, YARKA, LATIKN, VALANIN, ANTAK' and other cities on the day of Sts Peter's and Paul's feast. (27 December 1170] (Het'um Chron., in Hakobyan (1956, 59)).


(a.H. 565) That year there was a great earthquake in Aleppo, Baalbek, and their environs. Many people were killed. A bottomless fissure opened up in the mountains overlooking Baalbek. Earthquakes lasted for months, sometimes shaking day and night many times. (Ibn al-Dawadari, vii. 44).


References

Ambraseys, N. N. (2009). Earthquakes in the Mediterranean and Middle East: a multidisciplinary study of seismicity up to 1900.

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)


Location map from Guidoboni et al, 2004


Left - Hypothesis 1 Right - Hypothesis 2 from Guidoboni et al, 2004



(089) 1170 June 29 Eastern Syria and Lebanon

sources 1

Documents Annals and chronicles sources 2 historiography literature catalogues d. catalogues p. History of the earthquake's interpretation

The earthquake of 29 June 1170 is one of the largest seismic events ever to occur along the northern part of the Dead Sea Transform Fault System (DSTFS), the c.1000-km. long western boundary of the Arabian plate. The importance of the earthquake on 29 June 1170 has left an indelible mark upon the scholarly and scientific seismological tradition. The first references to it can in fact be found in the earliest Mediterranean area catalogue, namely that of the humanist Giannozzo Manetti [1457]. In the scientific seismological tradition this earthquake has had a variety of interpretations, even contradictory ones, which have persisted until now.

The correct dating of the shock on 29 June 1170 already appears - though not without some uncertainty - in the main descriptive catalogues of the 19th century. However, the persistence of discrepancies and uncertainties among the various catalogue authors has led to a "multiplication" of the event and the generation of shocks for which there was no evidence in the sources. These flawed data have then been transferred unaltered into some second-generation catalogues as well - to modern parametric catalogues, that is to say. Thus, a survey of the parametric catalogues of the last 25 years provides an overview of the different interpretations which still survive. In Ben-Menahem's catalogue (1979), which is subdivided into geographical and tectonic areas, the 1170 earthquake is correctly dated to 29 June and is placed in the section devoted to the northern end of Levant Fault System (p.278, event 14). The parameters reported are those of a high energy earthquake (ML = 7.9), and the description of effects is limited to the regions lying between the Lebanon and southwestern Syria, though the damage zone is extended to Israel and Caesarea. In a second work, Ben-Menahem (1991, pp.20, 203) slightly downsizes the parameters of the event (ML = 7.5 and I0 = X-XI) and gives the epicentral coordinates recorded by Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989), thus shifting the area of greatest effects further north. The information relating to the effects remains, however, substantially the same as for the previous catalogue, with the addition of information about the destruction of Antioch and the damage and victims in the Orontes Valley. Poirier and Taher (1980, p.2192) correctly date the events to 12 Shawwal of the year 565 of the Hegira, but give 30 June instead of 29 June 1170. Amongst the worst-hit locations, only Aleppo, Antioch and Damascus are listed. Another work of the same year, Poirier et al. (1980), provides more detail, but the damage area cannot be distinguished from the felt area.

Al-Hakeem (1988, p.22, event 185) also mistakenly dates the earthquake to 30 June 1170 and estimates its epicentral intensity at grade IX MM. A further three 12th century events, also recorded in this catalogue, are given without the month or day, and could be duplications of the earthquake of 29 June 1170, perhaps inherited from some 19th century catalogues.

Bektur and Alpay (1988, p.41, event 88) record the earthquake with the correct date and with I0 = IX MSK-64. According to them, the shock caused many thousands of vic- tims and was felt in Cyprus. A further three earthquakes are also recorded in this cat- alogue, with misdatings probably resulting from transcription errors in previously used texts.

In Amiran et al. (1994, p.270) the dates are largely gleaned from previous catalogues (including that of Ben-Menahem, 1979) and Islamic sources. The earthquake is correctly dated to 29 June 1170 and, according to the picture provided by the authors, was devastating in Syria, causing damage in Tyre and hundreds of deaths in Palestine. The main shock parameters (magnitude and intensity) remain uncertain, along with the most seriously affected locations. The information provided in the catalogue of Ambraseys et al. (1994, p.36 and p.101) is very limited because the event falls outside its scope. As to the effects of the 1170 earthquake in the Egyptian area, already recorded by Ben-Menahem (1979, 1991) and before that by Mallet (1853) and Sieberg (1932a), Ambraseys et al. (1994) express some doubts because the local sources for that period have been lost.

In the study by Khair et al. (2000) on the seismic zonation of the Dead Sea fault area, all the known strong (MS 5.9) earthquakes that occurred along the DSTFS during the past four millennia are listed. As far as we know, this list is the latest available catalogue. The data contained in it are, however, based only on previous works and other historical catalogues, i.e. not on original sources. In their proposed seismic zonation scheme, the 1170 earthquake (p.68) is located in the Karasu seismogenic zone, i.e. the northernmost portion of the DSTFS, in the region straddling the present- day Syro-Turkish border. The ML (7.5) and epicentre (35.9°N, 36.4°E) values are taken from Ben-Menahem (1991) and Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989).

The variety of interpretations substantially derives from the nature of the texts providing the basic data used by the various authors: these are mostly scientific works and historical catalogues of the 19th and 20th centuries, from which we may have inherited errors as well as omissions. Exceptions to this are Poirier and Taher (1980) and Al- Hakeem (1988), who used primary sources, but solely from the Arabic tradition. This group of sources, although very important and authoritative (see below), constitutes only one of the three main independent cultural-linguistic traditions relevant to the 1170 earthquake (Latin, Syriac and Arabic). The data used by Poirier and Taher (1980) are based on the accounts of two historians: Sibt ibn al-Jawzi (but erroneously referred to as Ibn al-Jawzi, who was in fact his uncle), and Ibn al-Athir (1160 - 1231). The latter is one of the most authoritative Arabic sources for this earthquake, although the picture he provides is incomplete.

Since the historical sources used are direct and authoritative but belong to a single cultural and linguistic area, it is clear that the reconstruction of the event is necessarily limited, and that, at best, they can provide only a partial interpretation. Worthy of mention among more recent studies is that of Ambraseys and Jackson (1998), in which there is a list of historical and recent Eastern Mediterranean earthquakes associated with surface fault breaks. On the basis of a previous catalogue by Ambraseys and some vaguely defined "unpublished data", the event of 29 June 1170 is listed (p.392, event 32) as a large shock (7.0 MS < 7.8), located in the Afamiyah (ancient Apamea, now Qalat al Madiq) area, in the Orontes Valley (western Syria), with the epicentre at 35.5°N and 36.5°E. Our survey of the seismological literature clearly shows that the earthquake lacks an agreed and reliable interpretation. Figure 40 illustrates the different locations of the epicentre as indicated by the various authors in the catalogues and studies cited. A piece of research on this specific subject (Guidoboni et al. 2004) has revealed a more complex and better documented situation, and hence allowed an assessment of 16 additional localities. It is within this context that the two-earthquake hypothesis has been formulated.
Fig. 40


Fig. 40 - Epicentres from catalogues published between 1979 and 2000 (from Guidoboni et al. 2004) from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Chronology: one or more events?

According to contemporary sources, the earthquake occurred at about 06:00 local time, that is to say, about 03:45 UT. The detailed account by William of Tyre explicitly records it "around the first hour of the day", in terms of the canonical hours. All the texts analysed give 29 June 1170 as the date of the main shock. The Latin sources date it to the third day before the Calends of July or the feast of St.Peter and Paul, in the seventh year of the reign of Amalric I (King of Jerusalem from 1163 to 1174). The Syriac sources give 29 Haziran in the year 1481 (of the Greeks); the Arabic sources give 12 Shawwal in the year 565 of the Hegira. These different styles of dating all correspond to 29 June 1170. In spite of this agreement, it is legitimate to ask whether there was in fact one or more than one earthquake. Leaving aside the geological features of the area, it is the extent of the effects area that suggests the answer. From this specific standpoint we have analysed all the contemporary sources, attempting to highlight any element that may be help to provide an answer. We have focused on the terms with which the selected contemporary sources defined the chronology of the event, seeing whether the terms used are singular or plural and how the date is stated. Although it is hard to be quite sure, we think that only William of Tyre contains anything which would allow us to suppose that there were two events: one generically dated to June 1170, the other more specifically to 29 June 1170. While remaining critically cautious, we can observe in his text a narrative sequence supporting this hypothesis. Indeed, in the first part of the text he says that in June 1170 an earthquake affected seven cities very badly (in order of mention: Antioch, Gabala, Laodicea, Aleppo, Schayzar, Hama, Emesa (Hims). They are located north of Tripoli and correspond to the historical region that the author calls Coelesyria. Then on 29 June Tripoli and Tyre were struck (the area is called Phoenicia by the author, and corresponds to present-day Lebanon).

We could not find any other evidence suggesting two events, and the other contemporary sources agree in identifying 29 June as a single event. Although the two-event interpretation has a sound scientific basis, we have to point out that the historical sources of the period had cognitive limitations. For in the 12th century world-view, systematic analysis was not a key element: at that period the availability of day-to-day data on the shocks that were felt was not the only variable. Taking account of the particular cultural picture which the contemporary sources, provide, we have formulated two hypotheses:
  1. that the identified effects can be interpreted as those of a single earthquake; it is on this basis that the parameters have been interpreted (see fig. 42 a and b)
  2. that there were two strong earthquakes; for this hypothesis the parameters cannot be calculated because the two areas are not easily differentiated and so there may well be zones with overlapping effects (see fig. 43).
The historical context

Our research aim has been to paint a broad picture of the earthquake's effects, beginning with the territorial divisions in medieval Syria, which included what is now the Lebanon and Israel and was then divided into three Latin states. These territories were formed after the military conquest by the Crusaders. From north to south these territories were: the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem; to the north was the Kingdom of Lesser Armenia. The rest of the territory was under Muslim domination (see map in fig. 41).

The production of sources for the 1170 earthquake at the time or immediately afterwards was thus fostered by the particular historical period in which the earthquake took place, that is to say, between the second (1147-1149) and the third Crusade (1189- 1192). These circumstances explain why such an earthquake is documented by sources in different languages which complement one another from the point of view of the territories struck. This evident fact, however, escaped the notice of the authors cited above, who drew on the tradition of the Arabic texts.

The earthquake's propagation zone was enormous: it struck Al-Mawsil, Sinjar, Nisibin, Al-Ruha, Harran, Ar-Raqqah, and Mardin, reaching as far as Baghdad, Basra and other towns in Iraq; but the sources do not specify in detail the effects in these localities. The earthquake was strongly felt at the monastery of Mar Hananya, but the building did not suffer any damage. There was no damage in Palestine.

The earthquakes lasted for three or four months, or perhaps longer. There were times when three or four or even more shocks were felt by day or night.

Effects of the earthquake

By selecting the data according to the importance and authoritativeness of the various authors, it has been possible to outline a general picture of the damage and felt effects of this large earthquake. It is important to note, however, that this reconstruction is not without its omissions and problems, due to the type of text to be interpreted, the availability of the sources, as well as the difficulty of identifying toponyms: indeed, in the sources the same place is given different names in different languages. In spite of the difficulties and constraints, mainly resulting from the historical time that separates us from the event in question, our analysis has highlighted previously unknown effects at 16 locations.

The whole territory belonging to the cities of Antioch to the north and Tripoli to the south, both along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and in the hinterland, along the Bekaa Valley and the River Orontes up to the area of Aleppo was seriously affected, with widespread destruction.

On the coast of modern Lebanon, in what used to be the County of Tripoli (now Tarabulus), the fortified settlements of Archis (also called 'Arco., present-day Mathanat ad Dulbah), Gibelacar (modern Akkar al Atiqah), and even the city of Tripoli itself were completely destroyed. The latter suffered such extensive damage that most of the inhabitants were killed. The contemporary sources agree in describing the state of devastation at Tripoli: William of Tyre called it "untidy piles of stones"; Amalric I, in his letter to Louis VII of France, described it as being destroyed "down to its very foundations", with the death of nearly all the people living there.

In Amalric's letter, the fortresses of Archis and Gibelacar are also said to have been "destroyed from their very foundations". Apart from the particular aims of the letter (mentioned above), we think these dramatic expressions may also be idioms of the time. Medieval Latin sources in fact use such terms to indicate the "complete functional loss" of a building, rather than its total destruction. In any case, we believe that such an expression, even if used in a contingent and perhaps somewhat generic manner, could only refer to very serious and extensive damage. At Baalbek, in the Bekaa Valley in present-day northern Lebanon, the city walls and citadel collapsed.

Farther north, in the territory of the County of Tripoli, there was serious damage to the castle of Margat (present-day al-Marqab), and Crak des Chevaliers (now Qalat al- Hisn). The latter was an important fortified castle, an imposing structure of dark basalt built on a spur of Gebel Alawi, about 750 m above sea-level. It dominated the road to the Crusader port of Valenie/Banyas, and thus controlled the coastal road which ran north from Tripoli to the Principality of Antioch (Molin 2001). This fortification is referred to in the Muslim sources as Hisn al-Akrad, now Qalat al-Hisn. The sources say that it suffered the "complete" collapse of the walls. The texts describe it as "sinking beneath the waves of the earthquake" (Abu Shama), and it was written of the walls - perhaps without exaggeration - "there remained no trace" (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi). It is understandable that the Muslim sources perhaps exaggerated such devastation, for the castle was an enemy fortification. However, the dam- age was certainly extensive. According to Molin (2001), who also assessed it from an archaeological standpoint, Crak des Chevaliers underwent profound transformations following the destruction caused by the various earthquakes, including that of 1170, which struck it at the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century. The famous and imposing fortress rises high even today, so well preserved as to be considered the greatest medieval fortress in the world. However, it is the result of radical modifications and reconstructions carried out from the last decades of the 12th century to around 1220 (see fig. 44). From these we can understand the complexity and remarkable size of the fortress.

There was further destruction at Ba`rin (known by the Crusaders as Montferrand or Mons Ferrandus), where the city walls collapsed, as well as at the Frankish-Crusader citadel of Safita (also known by its Frankish name of Chastel Blanc), situated between Crak des Chevaliers and the Mediterranean coast. The historian Abu Shama (the only one who cites this location) records Safita as having "subsided": this is another term used by the narrators of the times, often to indicate landslides and the subsidence or collapse of buildings.

In the hinterland territory around the River Orontes, then controlled by the Muslims, the earthquake caused serious damage to the walls and citadels of Hims (ancient Emesa), Hamat (Hamah) and Shayzar. Even though the last of these is in a poor state of preservation, it still rises from a rocky spur overlooking the left bank of the Orontes.

Along the Mediterranean coast between Tripoli and Antioch there was destruction in the territories of the states controlled by the Crusaders. In the Principality of Antioch, the ports of Laodicea (present-day A1-Ladhiqiya) and nearby Gabala (modern Jablah) were struck. According to Michael the Syrian, the latter collapsed entirely. Further north, the earthquake caused extensive destruction in Antioch and Aleppo, two great cities which were enemies at that time.

Antioch (Antakya) was an important city of ancient origins (founded in 301 BC by Seleucus I), and the capital of the Frankish Principality of Antioch. The fortified city rose along the slopes of Mount Silpius. Its walls, dating back to the early Byzantine period (they were probably built after the violent earthquake of 526 AD, see Guidoboni et al. 1994), were 18 km long, and formed a triangle at the top of which a tenth-century citadel was built on a mountain peak to defend the whole city (Cuneo 1986; Molin 2001). The earthquake in Antioch must have been highly destructive if it is true that, as the sources report, it caused the collapse of the towers and walls, famous at the time for their strength. It is nonetheless true that to say "the walls had been destroyed" was a sort of literary topos, intended to convey that there were gaps in the walls (owing to collapses of a greater or lesser extent) and that their defensive function could no longer be guaranteed. Thus they no longer existed as a fortification.

Furthermore, many buildings and churches in Antioch also collapsed, in particular the cathedral of St.Peter; the collapse of this church was considered by many Catholic Christians in a highly ideological light and was contrasted with the "resistance" of the three churches of the Mother of God, St.George and St.Barsauma. What had happened? According to the sources (Michael the Syrian, Ibn al-Athir and William of Tyre), the Franks perceived it as divine intervention because the Orthodox Christian patriarch was officiating at mass with the clergy when the earthquake occurred. Fifty people died altogether and Antioch is described as being half-destroyed.

Aleppo (Alab) lay to the east of Antioch. Along with Damascus and Cairo, it was one of the main political, economic and cultural centres of the Mediterranean Muslim world. It was an important and highly populated city, with a fortified citadel, high and imposing defensive walls, and large mosques. From the descriptions in the sources, the severity of effects in the city become clear. The historian Ibn al-Athir recalls that in Aleppo "the effects of the earthquake could not stand comparison with those of the fig. 43 Earthquakes on June 1170: hypothesis 2): probable areas of two different seismic events separated by the dashed black line, according to the interpretation that we have given to the text by William of Tyre, coeval Latin source (elaborated after Guidoboni et al. 2004). other cities", leaving us to suppose that effects were perhaps more serious than at Antioch, Damascus or Tyre; he then states that "the survivors were still prey to panic, which prevented them from returning to the places that were unscathed". The presence of "unscathed" places suggests differentiated effects, as always happens in large Urban areas. According to the historian Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, the citadel that dominated Aleppo only partially collapsed; he then adds, as confirmation of the severity of the effects, that there was great damage to the city and that 80,000 of its inhabitants perished.

In the Syriac sources there are expressions that may appear to be contradictory, but it should be borne in mind that the earthquake was a sign of divine wrath. Source narratives might therefore stress that the damage was limited, particularly in regard to powerfully symbolic buildings such as the churches, especially in that scenario of military and religious conflict. Michael the Syrian, the most important of the Syriac sources, refers to Aleppo in two different passages in the following terms: i) "the whole city became a waste hill" and "the whole town fell down"; ii) the Catholic church of the city remained intact and "not a single stone [of the church] fell down". We believe that the effects of the earthquake at Aleppo were very serious and destructive, presumably not lower than grade X MCS, with some areas of the city perhaps less damaged than others, as is normally the case.

Bernardo Maragone (c.1108 - c.1188), diplomat and authoritative Italian author of the Annales Pisani, reports that there were also serious collapses in the castle of Uringa. According to Mayer (1989), this is the medieval and modern Arab town of Harim (Harenc in Latin), situated in present-day northern Syria near the Syro-Turkish border, between Antioch and Aleppo.

The earthquake also caused damage in Damascus and Tyre (now Sur), although significantly less than in the other centres mentioned above. In Damascus, the balconies of the Umayyad Great Mosque collapsed along with the tops of the minarets; there is mention of the death of just one person hit by a falling stone. In Tyre, situated on the coast of southern Lebanon, about 150 km south of Tripoli, several towers collapsed, but without causing much serious inconvenience for the inhabitants. The earthquake had a vast area of propagation. North-eastwards it affected present-day Turkish territory, being felt in Al-Ruha (Edessa in the Latin sources, present-day Urfa), Harran, Mardin, and Nisibin (present-day Nusaybin, in the Turkish province of Mardin Ili, near the Syrian border). From the very fact that they are mentioned, we deduce that the earthquake must have been strongly felt at these locations, and the damage threshold of V-VI MCS may have been approached. To the south of this area it spread in the desert of eastern Syria, where al-Raqqa (Ar-Raqqah) is mentioned, on the banks of the Euphrates; it was felt as far east as present-day Iraq, in Singar (modern Sinjar), Mosul (Al-Mawsil), and to the south, as far as Baghdad, Basra (Al-Basrah) and "other cities", not specified by the sources. The historian Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi (the only source to mention these locations) does not specify the level of effects. In attributing an intensity level we have taken account of two criteria: i) the types of source and the context of the narratives, which lead us to believe that such places would not have been mentioned if the earthquake had not been felt fairly distinctly; ii) the geographical situation, i.e. the distance of these cities from the epicentral area.

This decision has been reinforced by an analysis of the valuable witness report by Michael the Syrian: he in fact testifies that the earthquake was also strongly felt in the monastery of Mar Hananya, but that the building suffered no damage. This monastery is now Dair az-Zalaran (also known as Kurkmo Dayro in Syriac and Deyrulzafran in Arabic), and .is situated about 6 km south east of the city of Mardin, in south-eastern Turkey. The account by William of Tyre is clear in indicating that in Palestine there was neither damage nor victims. Further confirmation of that comes from another Latin source, the Chronicon quod dicitur Guillelmi Godelli (see the Latin sources), from which it can be deduced that the main shock on 29 June 1170 in Jerusalem was strongly felt, but without any damage of note ("the holy city of Jerusalem shook strongly, but did not collapse thanks to God's goodness"). In our opinion, the shaking at Jerusalem can bE confirmed at V-VI MCS, as indicated by Ben-Menahem (1979, 1991); but we do not havE any confirmation for the suggested damage at Caesarea, on the Mediterranean coast about 230 km south of Tripoli - also mentioned by Ben-Menahem. Lastly, our research has not found any evidence to suggest that the earthquake was fell in Egypt, as was argued by Ben-Menahem (1979) but questioned by Ambraseys et al (1994).

Social and economic effects

The accounts of the two Arab historians Sibt ibn al-Jawzi and Ibn al-Athir also provide some information about the effects that the earthquake caused on the anthropic context In Aleppo, the surviving inhabitants sought refuge in the surrounding countryside; man: fig. 44 Crak des Chevaliers, one of the most famous medieval castles in the Mediterranean area, was damaged in the 1170 earthquake. Plan of the castle, which stands 750 m above sea level. Note the extensive and complex internal articulation and.the fortifications. The double external wall and the complicated entry system made access difficult (from Molin 2001). survivors, however, were also terrified of remaining outside the city, for fear of an attack by the Franks. The governor of Aleppo and Damascus, the famous Nur al-Din (Elisseeff 1967), having taken note of the very serious damage that had struck Aleppo, set up camp nearby and personally directed the work of reconstructing the walls and buildings, also taking into account the fact that the city could be treacherously attacked by the Crusaders. By way of confirmation of the seriousness and extent of the damage, the sources report that the cost of the reconstruction work was extremely high. Another location visited by Nur al-Din was the city of Ba`rin. The Syrian governor was indeed worried for his own safety, given that the location was very close to the Crusaders' military outposts. The historian Ibn al-Athir records that there was frantic repair work in the Crusaders' territories as well, since they feared an attack from Nur al-Din ("both parties rushed to reconstruct, each one fearing the other"). Indeed, the reconstruction was immediate and required enormous sums of money in Antioch too. At Crak des Chevaliers (Hisn al-Akrad) the work went on for a long time. As has been mentioned above, Amalric I donated the castles of Archis and Gibelacar to the Hospitaller Knights in order to improve his shaky finances, on condition that they rebuilt them. In Damascus, most of the population was panic-stricken and, fearing new shocks, abandoned the city and sought refuge in the desert.

Historical sources: an overall view

The earthquake struck during the period between the Second and Third Crusades. The serious damage it caused remained impressed on the memories of contemporaries, and was passed down to later generations. Hence the large number of sources which record it, each adding to the information provided by the others.

Three independent source traditions can be distinguished: Latin (including Italian and French), Syriac and Arabic. Another small and more heterogeneous group consists of Armenian, Greek and Hebrew sources. The corpus of sources set out here is the same as that used in Guidoboni et al. (2004), where those in Latin have been shown to make a fundamental contribution to our understanding of the event.

The most important Latin sources are three documents: a letter and a document from Amalric I, an appeal from pope Alexander III and the chronicle of William of Tyre. He was a contemporary writer, and indeed the most important Latin author in the Holy Land. He was in Syria from 1162 onwards, and was appointed archbishop of Tyre in 1175. The letter from king Amalric I of Jerusalem to king Louis VII of France (1137- 1180) was written in July-August 1170. The document of 1170, also from Amalric I, certifies that the castles of Archas (Arche) and Akkar (Gibelacar) are ceded to the Knights of the Order of St.John of Jerusalem (the Hospitallers), on condition that they are rebuilt. The appeal to the Church of France for funds was drawn up on 8 December 1170 on the orders of pope Alexander III (1159-1181).

The other Latin sources are much briefer and in more general terms than the above, so we only list those which date to the 12th century: As far as Syriac sources are concerned, the most important is the chronicle compiled by Michael the Syrian, a contemporary writer. His text was used by Bar Hebraeus, a 13th century writer, in his chronicle. There is also a brief reference to the earthquake in the Chronicon ad annum Christi 1234, compiled in the first half of the 13th century. Of the Arabic sources, the most informative are Ibn al-Athir, a historian from Mosul who visited Baghdad and Aleppo, and Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, who settled at Damascus. Both these writers lived in the second half of the 12th century and the first half of the 13th. Reports of the earthquake in the works of 13th century writers are much briefer and more telegraphic. The writers concerned are: the historian and biographer Ibn al- Adim, a native of Aleppo; the historian and textual scholar Abu Shama, from Damascus; the historian Ibn Wasil, who was also an ambassador; and the historian and geographer Ibn Shaddad, a native of Aleppo who later lived in Egypt. Of later writers, we pick out Ibn Qadi Shuhba, a Syrian who lived in the second half of the 14th century and the first half of the 15th.

The earthquake is recorded not only in the above-mentioned three traditions, but also in one contemporary Jewish source, the traveller Benjamin of Tudela, a native of Spain, in one contemporary Greek source, namely the work of Neophytus Enkleistus, a Cypriot saint and hagiographer; and it gains a passing mention in a few Armenian sources: namely, what are known as the Annals of King Het`um (Chron. min. Arm., 1.3, p.76) and a brief anonymous chronicle (Chron. min. Arm., 11.24, p.502).

Latin sources

ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTS

A few weeks after the earthquake, in July-August 1170, king Amalric I of Jerusalem sent a letter to king Louis VII of France (1137-1180). It has been published in Mayer (1989, p.484):
To Louis by the grace of God the most Christian king of the Franks, most dear lord and father, from Amalric, by the same grace of God king of Jerusalem, greetings. Amidst the daily torments of our enemies, which have so weakened the eastern church that it is close to ruin, there has come an extraordinary disaster through the just but hidden judgment of God. For on the day of the passion of the apostles Peter and Paul [29 June], a terrible earthquake suddenly and unexpectedly reduced the city of Tripoli to ruins, killing almost everyone who was there. It also shook Margat, Gabulum [Gabala] and Laodicea, and almost all the castles and towns between Tripoli and Antioch in such an amazing and indescribable way that no trace of buildings can be seen. In Antioch, too, quite apart from the fact that houses and other buildings were torn apart and almost all reduced to ruins, so that we are bound to speak with a deep groan of grief, town walls were damaged to such an extent that they seem to be beyond repair, and indeed they are. The result is that Antioch and Tripoli and their dependent provinces will be occupied by the enemies of the Cross of Christ, if Tripoli, Archas [Archis], Gibellum [Gibelacar], Laodicea, Margat and Antioch do not receive clandestine aid. But by the will of God, the land of the Gentiles is all laid waste, and their towns and fortresses have been more widely destroyed, not without some of their people being killed.

Ludovico dei gratia christianissimo Francorum regi, domino et patri karissimo, Amalricus per eandem gratiam Iherosolimorum rex salutem. Cotidianis, quibus Orientalis ecclesia usque ad sui defectum contunditur, inimicorum infestationibus, inusitata celitus iusto, sepe tamen oculto, dei iudicio accessit calamitas. In passione namquam apostolorum Petri et Pauli subitus et hactenus inauditus terre motus totam Tipolim funditus delevit et omnem fere in ea carnem suffocavit. Similiter Margat, Gabulum, Laodiciam et omnia pene castella et civitates, que suet a Tripoli usque Anthiochiam, miro et ineffabili modo excussit, ut nec edificiorum vestigia appareant. In Anthiochia quoque, quod non sine gravi gemitu loquimur, edificiorum et domorum, que ferme omnes corruerunt, discidium tacentes, tanta murorum ruina facta est, ut inreparabilis esse videatur et sit. Constat ergo quia Anthiochia et Tripolis cum provintiis sibi suffraganeis, nisi celitus .eis subveniatur, ab inimicis crucis Christi occupabuntur: Tripolis, Archas, Gibellum, Laodicia, Margat et Anthiochia. Sed deo disponente terra gentilium miserabilitus tota dissipata est urbesque et munitiones non sine suorum occisione latius deiecte.
According to a document dating to 1170 (published in Cartulaire de l'Ordre de St.Jean de Jerusalem), Amalric I ceded the castles of Archis (Arche) and Gibelacar to the Hospitallers, on condition that they were rebuilt:
In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Since it is our duty devoutly to seek the common benefit of the Christian community by means of wise justice and intuitive reasoning, and to excel in many other good works, we have taken steps, in accordance with the dictates of Divine Clemency, to ensure that the castles of Arche and Gibelacar, which have been reduced to ruins by the earthquake, are not lost to the Christians. Let it therefore be known that [...] I, Amalric, by the grace of God, fifth king of the Latins of Jerusalem and regent of the County of Tripoli, have given to God and to the holy House of the Hospital and to Gilbert, by the grace of God, the venerable Master of the House, the above-mentioned castles of Arche and Gibelacar, in perpetuity with all their rights and appurtenances, in order that they shall be rebuilt [...]. In the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 1170, in the first indiction".

In nomine summe et individue trinitatis, patris filiii et spiritus sancti, amen. Quoniam communi christianitatis utilitati pie providere censura justicie et rationis intuitu ceteris etiam bonis operibus precellere dinoscitur, castro quod dicitur Arche et Gibelacar, terre motu funditus eversis, prout divina nobis administravit dementia, ne christiculis amitterentur subvenire curavimus Patet igitur scire volentibus quod ego Amalricus, Dei gratia Jerosolimorum rex Latinorum quintus, Tripolis comitatum procurans, Deo et sanctae domui Hospitalis Jerusalem, et Giberto, Dei gratia domus ejusdem venerabili magistro prenominata castra, Archas videlicet et Gibelacar, restauranda perhenniterque cum suis omnibus pertinentiis et juribus possedenda donavi Anno dominice incarnationis M C L XX, indiction prima.
As the editor of the letter points out, its dating presents some problems, for Gilbert d'Assailly, Grand Master of the Order of Hospitallers, proves to have resigned from this post around September 1169. However, negotiations to resolve the crisis at the head of the Order may well account for his still appearing formally in that position in 1170, and hence being the legal recipient of a royal deed of gift. Furthermore, his successor, Caste de Muriols, was certainly elected some time in 1171, though the exact date is not known (Delaville Le Roulx 1904, pp.78-9; king 1931, pp.98-9).

Worries over the situation resulting from the earthquake are evident in an appeal to the Church of France, drawn up on 8 December 1170 on the orders of pope Alexander III (1159-1181) to gather funds for the earthquake-stricken towns and castles in the Holy Land, and especially for the Church of Nazareth:
Bishop Alexander, servant of the servants of God. Beloved sons, to all the faithful in the realm of France, [we give] apostolic blessing and [we wish them] good health. You will all have been able to learn, from the accounts of travellers, of the trials, tribulations, sufferings and troubles experienced by the towns, castles and other places in the Eastern Lands; nevertheless, it has seemed appropriate to us, not without much concern, to remind you of these things, and to urge you even more insistently to exercise your charity in the face of these disasters. By the inscrutable will of God, many towns and castles have been wholly or partly reduced to ruins or razed to the ground by the earthquake, and a multitude of people have lost their lives in the ruins. And emboldened by this, the enemies of Christ have tyrannically occupied some Christian places. Amongst these is a large and populous village belonging to the Church of Nazareth, where, for their sins, clergy and other inhabitants have been taken prisoner. For this reason, and because of other troubles, the canons of the above-mentioned church find themselves in a state of such want and poverty that, unless the other faithful come to their aid, they will no longer be able to remain in His church and pay their Creator his tribute. [-J. Issued at Tuscolo on the sixth day before the Ides of December [8 December]".

Alexander episcopus servus servorum Dei. Dilectis filiis universis fidelibus per regnum Francie constitutis salutem et apostolicam benedictionem. Civitatum, castellorum et aliorum locorum, terre Orientalis desolationem, tribulationes et angustias, pariter et dolores, licet ex relatione commeantium vestra potuerit universitas didicisse, vobis tamen non sine merore necessarium duximus significare et ad compassionem tantorum malorum vestram sollicitare studiosius caritatem. Divino siquidem et occulto iudicio faciente ex terre motu plures civitates et oppida, quedam ex toto, quedam ex parte diruta et funditus evulsa, in ruina quorum ingens hominum multitudo est suffocate. Unde quidam inimici contrarii Christi audaciam assumentes nonnulla loca Christianorum invasion tyrannica occuparunt; inter quae magnum et populosum casale ecclesie Nazarene peccatis exigentibus capientes clericos et ceteros habitatores in captivitatem duxerunt. Inde est, quod canonici prescripte ecclesie turn ex hoc, turn ex aliis malis et angustiis supervenientibus ad tantam devenere inopiam et paupertatem, quod nisi a Dei fidelibus adiuventur, in ecclesia sua non poterunt diutius ad summi conditoris obsequium permanere. Datum Tusculano VI idus decembris.
ANNALS AND CHRONICLES

As we have already pointed out, the most important Latin source is the chronicle of William of Tyre (pp.934-6), which provides a long and detailed description of the earthquake:
A very great earthquake struck almost the whole of the East, and destroyed some very ancient cities. The following summer, that is to say in the seventh year of king Amalric's reign [king Amalric I of Jerusalem, 1163-1174], in the month of June, there was an earthquake of such violence in eastern parts that none greater is known to the memory of man in this century. It reduced to ruins some of the most ancient and best fortified cities in all the East, plunging their inhabitants into disaster and reducing buildings to rubble, with the result that there were very few survivors. From one end of these lands to the other, there was no place where families did not lose a member or suffer some domestic tragedy: lamentations and funerals were everywhere. Amongst these places, even cities in our provinces of Coelesyria and Phoenicia - great cities ennobled by their centuries-old history, have collapsed in ruins. In Coelesyria, the earthquake totally destroyed the city of Antioch, the capital of many provinces and once the head of many realms, killing its inhabitants. Its walls and the very strong towers along their circuit - a work of incomparable strength - were shaken with such violence, together with churches and other buildings, that even today, in spite of continuous work, enormous expenditure, constant care and devoted zeal, they can scarcely be said to have been restored to an acceptable condition. The coastal towns of Gabulum [Gabala] and Laodicea in the same province were also destroyed, as well as other inland towns held by the enemy: Verea - also called Halapia [Aleppo] - Cesara [Shayzar], Hama, Emissa [Hims] and many others; not to mention countless smaller places. In Phoenicia, furthermore, on the third day before the Calends of July [29 June], towards the first hour of the day, the noble and populous city of Tripoli was suddenly shaken by so violent an earthquake that scarcely anyone who was there escaped alive. The whole city became a heap of rubble, burying the inhabitants, and crushing them beneath this public tomb. At Tyre, the most famous city in the province, on the other hand, an even more violent earthquake proved to be no danger to the population, though it did cause the collapse of some very solidly built towers. In enemy territory as well as our own, towns were seen to be half in ruins, and therefore helpless before the wiles and attacks of their enemies. Consequently, as long as each one feared to bring down upon himself the wrath of the stern judge, he took care not to injure his neighbour. Each had his own sufficient troubles, and since domestic affairs brought their own problems, harming one's neighbour was abandoned. A brief truce was arranged, thanks to the efforts of men, and a treaty was drawn up out of fear of divine judgment. And since each man expected due heavenly punishment for his sins, he held back from hurling himself upon the usual objects of his hostility, and curbed his aggression. In this case, divine wrath manifested itself not just once, as usually happens, but for three or four months or more; three or four times a day, and perhaps even more, by day and night, an awesome shaking of the earth was felt. Every shock was regarded with apprehension, and nowhere was it possible to live in calm and safety. And even the minds of those who slept were so cast down by the fears of waking hours, that the calm of sleep was broken, and their bodies suddenly shook in agitation. However, our upper provinces - Palestine, that is to say - with all that they contain, were spared these great ills by the grace of God".

Terremotus maximus pene universum concutit Orientem et urbes deicit antiquissimas. Estate vero sequente, anno videlicet domini Amalrici septimo, mense Iunio, tantus tamque vehemens circa partes Orientales terremotus factus est, quantus qualisque memoria seculi presentis hominum nunquam legitur accidisse. Hic universi Orientalis tractus urbes antiquissimas et munitissimas funditus diruens, habitatores earum ruina involvens edificiorum casu contrivit, ut ad exiguam redigeret paucitatem. Non erat usque ad extremum terre locus, quem familiaris iactura, dolor domesticus non angeret: ubique luctus, ubique funebria tractabantur. Inter quas et provinciarum nostrarum Celessyrie et Phenicis urbes quam maximas et serie seculorum antiquitate nobiles, solotenus deiecit: in Celessyria multarum provinciarum metropolim olimque multorum moderatricem regnorum Antiochiam cum populo in ea commorante, stravit funditus, menia et in eorum circuitu turres validissimas, incomparabilis soliditatis opera, ecclesias et quelibet edificia tanto subvertit impetu, quod usque hodie multis laboribus, sumptis inmensis, continua sollicitudine et indefesso studio vix possint saltem ad statum mediocrem reparari. Ceciderunt in eadem provincia urbes egregie, de maritimis quidem Gabulum et Laodicia, de mediterraneis vero, licet ab hostibus detinerentur, Verea, que alio nomine dicitur Halapia, Cesara, Hamam, Emissa et alie multe, municipiorum autem non erat numerus. In Phenice autem Tripolis, civitas nobilis et populosa, tercio Kalendas Iulii tanto terremotus impetu circa primam diei horam subito concussa est, ut vix uni de omnibus, qui infra eius ambitum reperti sunt, salutis via pateret: facta est tota civitas quasi agger lapidum et oppressorum civium tumulus et sepulchrum publicum. Sed et Tyri, que est eiusdem provincie metropolis famosissima, terremotus violentior, absque tamen civium periculo, turres quasdam robustissimas deiecit. Inveniebantur tam apud nos quam apud hostes opida semiruta, insidiis et hostium viribus late patentia, sed dum quisque districti iudicis iram sibi metuit, alium molestare pertimescit. Sufficit cuique dolor suus et dum quemlibet cura fatigat domestica, alii differt inferre molestias: facta est, sed brevis, pax, hominum studio procurata, et foedus compositum, divinorum iudiciorum timore conscriptum, et dum indignationem peccatis suis debitam expectat quisque desuper, ab his que hostiliter solent inferri manum revocat et impetus moderatur. Nec ad horam, ut plerumque solet, fuit ista ire dei revelatio, sed tribus aut quattuor mensibus, vel etiam eo amplius, ter aut quater vel plerumque saepius vel in die vel in nocte sentiebatur motus ille tam formidabilis. Omnis motus iam suspectus erat et nusquam tuta quies inveniebatur, sed et dormientis animus plerumque, quod vigilans timuerat perhorrescens, in subitum saltum, rupta quiete, corpus agitari compellebat. Superiores tamen nostre provincie, Palestine videlicet, horum omnium domino protegente fuerunt expertes malorum.
The fact that the author draws attention to the greater violence of the earthquake at Tyre, without the city suffering much damage, may reflect a desire on his part to emphasise both the solidity of its buildings and the divine protection bestowed upon it. Of the other Latin sources listed above, we quote only the Annales Pisani of Bernardo Maragone:
In the year of our Lord 1171, in the third indiction. Since the times of Dathan and Abiron and of Sodom and Gomorrah, there have never been such amazing and disturbing prodigies as those which then took place in the land of Jerusalem. The city of Tripoli with its great church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all its people, and half the city of Antioch, with the church of St.Peter the Apostle, where the the saint's throne was preserved, as well as many villages and castles belonging to the above cities, were destroyed by an earthquake on the very day of the feast of St.Peter, which falls on the third day before the Calends of July [29 June]. And the earthquake caused the death of at least forty thousand Christians and many animals. On the same day, Aleppo, Cesara [Shayzar] and Hama, large towns belonging to the Saracens, together with their depend- ent villages and castles, including the great castle of Uringa [Harim], were destroyed by the earthquake. It caused the death of more than two hundred thousand Saracens".

Anno Domini MCLXXI, indictione III. A temporibus Dathan et Abiron et Sodome et Gomorre non fuerunt tam miranda et stupenda prodigia, qualia evenerunt in terra Ierosolimitana. Civitas Tripoli cum magna ecclesia dedicata ad honorem beate Virginis Marie, cum toto populo, et medietas civitatis Antioche cum ecclesia beati Petri apostoli, in qua cathedra eius fuit, et cum aliquantis villis et castellis predictarum civitatum, ipsa sollempnitate sancti Petri, que est III Kalendas Iulii, a terre motu subverse sunt. De quo terre motu XL milia hominum chrisitanorum et ultra perierunt, et bestie multe. Similiter eodem die Alap, Cesaria, Emma, civitates magne Sarracenorum, cum parte villarum et castrorum earum, et Uringa castrum magnum, a terre motu subverse sunt. De quo terremotu CC milia Saracenorum et ultra perierunt.
Syriac sources

The most important Syriac source is the chronicle of Michael the Syrian, which records:
In the same year fourteen hundred and eighty-one [of the Greeks, 1170], on Monday 29 Haziran [June], there was a violent earthquake, and the earth trembled like a boat on the sea [the beginning of Michael the Syrian's account is missing in the original Syriac, and so the opening sentence has been supplied from the parallel passage in Bar Hebraeus] [...] We were in the monastery church of Mar Hananya, and lay prostrate before the altar, to which we clung and were tossed about from one side to the other [...] when we saw and heard and were assured that there was absolutely no damage in the monastery nor in the whole region. And when we heard what horrors had taken place in the lands and in the cities [...] In this earthquake, the city of Berotha, that is to say Aleppo, collapsed in ruins... And those who said that God could not save or deliver the prisoners from their hands [i.e. from the Arabs], were suddenly heaped up in piles by the earthquake: their walls and their houses were reduced to ruins, and the air and the water became infected by (the bodies of) the suffocated. The whole city was rent asunder and became a series of cracks and fissures. The black ones (?) went up on them. The whole city became a heap of ruins. And what shows most clearly that the sword of anger had been drawn against it, is that nowhere else was there such horror. The seaward wall of Antioch collapsed, and the great church of the Greeks collapsed completely. The sanctuary of the great church of St.Peter collapsed, as well as houses and churches in various places. About fifty souls died in Antioch. Jabala completely collapsed. And in Tripoli a large part (of the city) and the great church similarly collapsed. And in the other coastal cities, and at Damascus, Homs and Hama, and in all the other towns and villages, the earthquake caused major disasters; but nowhere else had a disaster similar to that which had happened to Aleppo been seen or heard of [...] Although the whole town of Aleppo collapsed, our church was preserved and not a single stone fell from it. And in Antioch three churches were saved for us: that is to say, the church of the Mother of God, and those of St.George, and St.Barsauma. In Jabala, too, the little church we had was preserved, and the same is true of the churches in Laodicea and Tripoli.
Arabic sources

Arabic sources call this earthquake "the Aleppo earthquake". The account provided by Ibn al-Athir is rich in detail:
In that same year [565 H.], on 12 Shawwal [29 June], the earth shook a number of times in a terrifying way: no-one had ever seen anything like it. The earthquake struck the whole region of Syria, Mesopotamia, Mawsil and Iraq. The most devastating effects were produced in Syria: there was very serious damage at Damascus, Ba'alabik, Hims, Hamat, Shayzar, Ba`rin, Aleppo and elsewhere; walls and citadels were destroyed everywhere; the walls of houses fell on to the inhabitants, who were killed in great numbers. When Nur al-Din heard about the earthquake, he came to Ba'alabik to rebuild the ruined walls and citadel, unaware that the earthquake had brought destruction to other places as well. When he arrived, he was told of the situation in the rest of the country: town walls destroyed and inhabitants scattered. When he had put someone in charge of reconstruction and defence at Ba'alabik, Nur al-Din made his way to Hims, in order to guarantee protection to its people; then he went to Hamat, and then to Ba`rin. The whole country was in severe danger from the Franks, especially the citadel of Ba`rin, which was near their positions and had lost all its surrounding walls. So he left part of his army there under the command of a general, so that reconstruction work could be carried out night and day. Then he went to Aleppo, where the effects of the earthquake were beyond comparison with what had happened at other towns. The survivors were still in a state of panic, which kept them from returning to places that had not been damaged, for fear of further shocks. Moreover, they were terrified at the idea of remaining in the countryside near Aleppo, because there was the danger that the Franks might attack. When Nur al-Din saw the effects of the earthquake on the town and its inhabitants, he camped outside Aleppo and directed the work of reconstruction himself, overseeing the work of the labourers and masons until the town walls, mosques and houses had been rebuilt. The cost of the work was enormous. In the territory of the Franks as well, - may God destroy them - the earthquake caused a great deal of damage. They too worked feverishly at reconstruction, fearing an attack by Nur al-Din. In this way, both sides hurried to rebuild, each out of fear of the other.
Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi also provides a great deal of information:
In the month of Shawwal, there were terrible earthquakes in Syria, causing severe damage at Damascus: the balconies of the mosque [the Great Umayyad Mosque] collapsed, as well as the tops of the minarets, which shook like palm trees on a stormy day. [...] The earthquakes which struck Aleppo were even stronger: half of its citadel collapsed, and there was severe damage in the city; 80,000 people are reckoned to have died in the ruins. The walls of all the fortresses were damaged, and the people fled into the countryside. Hisn al-Akrad collapsed, and no trace of its walls was left. The same thing happened at Hamat and Hims. When Nur al-Din came to Aleppo, he was worried that the collapse of its walls would expose it to enemy attack. The earthquake was felt everywhere. Muslim fortresses were destroyed throughout the province of Syria: at Aleppo, at other towns, and at Antioch. The earthquake even reached Laodicea and Jabala, and struck all the coastal towns, as far as Byzantine territory. They say that the only man to be killed at Damascus was struck by a piece of stone as he climbed the Jayrun steps, the entire population having fled into the desert. The earthquake then reached the Euphrates, struck Mawsil, Sinjar, Nisibin, al-Ruha, Harran, Al-Raqqa, Mardin and other towns as well, reaching as far as Bagdad, Basra and other towns in Iraq: No-one had ever seen such an earthquake since the beginning of Islam.
The accounts provided by the other four 13th century Arab historians are much briefer. According to Abu Shama
al-Imad al-Isfahani said:
the Frankish citadels of Hisn al-Akrad, Safita and Arqa, near Ba`rin, collapsed in the waves of the earthquake; the first of the three, in particular, was left without walls, and rebuilding work kept the Franks occupied for a long time. From all parts of Syria came news of earthquakes and their disastrous effects; but one piece of news gladdened hearts in the midst of such desolation: the damage inflicted on Frankish camps was even worse. For the earthquake caught them on a feast day, when they had gathered in church. Ceilings collapsed on their heads, and so punishment came whence they would never have expected it.
Ibn Wasil simple records:
This earthquake came to be known as the earthquake of Aleppo and its region, just as that of the year 552 was the earthquake of Hamat
Ibn al-Adim reports
Nur al-Din was informed of the earthquakes which had struck Syria, especially the one which had destroyed Aleppo, and which, because of the continuing shocks, had caused the inhabitants to abandon the town and take refuge in the country from dawn on Monday 12 Shawwal [30 June].
Finally, Ibn Shaddad reports:
There was an earthquake at Aleppo which destroyed a large part of that region. It was on 12 Shawwal in the year 565. Many confuse this earthquake with that of 552.
Hebrew source

A 12th century Jewish traveller, Benjamin of Tudela, a native of Spain, made a long journey to visit numerous Hebrew communities in the Near East. In his account he mentions some violent earthquakes that hit Tripoli and Hamah, and that caused the death of many Jews. The text by Benjamin does not contain any explicit chronological references, if we exclude the citing of the year 4933 of the Hebrew calendar, corresponding to 1173 of the Julian calendar, inserted by the author to indicate the year of his return to Spain. However, the implicit chronological references in this text allow us to date Benjamin's journey between the first half of the 1160s and 1173. In the passage that is referred to Tripoli of Syria, Benjamin writes that the earthquake had occurred "in the past years", and in the one concerning the city of Hamah, "several years before". According to Prawer (1988, pp.193-4), in both cases Benjamin was referring to the earthquake of 29 June 1170. The text of the two passages is the following:
Some years ago there was an earthquake at Tripoli, in which many Jews and Gentiles lost their lives, because houses and walls collapsed on top of them. At that time, the whole of Tres Isra'el was laid waste, and more than twenty thousand people died there. [...1. Hamah, that is to say Hamath, is one day's journey [from Hims]; it stands on the banks of the river Jabboq, at the foot of Mt.Lebanon. Some years ago, there was a great earthquake in the city and in a single day twenty-five thousand people were killed, of whom about two hundred were Jews, but seventy survived.
Greek source

We think we can add to our corpus of sources the text of Neophytus Enkleistus, who was living on the island of Cyprus:
Then [after the Paphos earthquake of c.1165], a short time later, a monk of the great city of Antioch came to see me, and told me that there had been a tremendous earthquake in that city; not only, he said, was the earth violently shaken, but it also made a roaring noise and was split open, and stones were thrown down as though into an abyss. As the earth joined together again, stones which were on the upper edges were hurled upwards as though they had been thrown by a ballista. Not only did the town walls and a large proportion of houses collapse, but also the great church, killing the patriarch and a great many other people.
In the period of this earthquake, between Syria and Turkey there was also a small Armenian kingdom (Lesser Armenia or Armenian Cilicia). Presumably some mention of this earthquake in several Armenian chronicles was due to direct contact with the affected areas. There are two Armenian texts that contain some reference to this earthquake: the so-called Annals of King Het`um (Chron. min. Arm., 1.3, 76) and a short anonymous chronicle (Chron. min. Arm., 11.24, 502), both published by Hakobyan (1951-56).



Intensity Table from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)



References

Guidoboni, E. and A. Comastri (2005). Catalogue of Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the Mediterranean Area from the 11th to the 15th Century, INGV.

Guidoboni et al. (2004)


Figure 5 - Cities hit by the earthquake in June 1170, cited in the text of William of Tyre,
coeval Latin author. Circles indicate the seven locations that could have been hit by an
earthquake occurring before 29 June; they are all situated in the area north of Lebanon
(Coelesyria region); squares indicate the two cities of Lebanon cited as having been hit by
the earthquake on 29 June (Phoenicia region); and dots indicate the remaining locations cited
by the other sources with no distinction (June or 29 June) (see Table 3). Taking into consideration
the hypothesis of two distinct events, there is a central area, roughly between Arche and Akkar,
of highly uncertain attribution from Guidoboni et al, 2004



References

Guidoboni, E., et al. (2004). "The large earthquake on 29 June 1170 (Syria, Lebanon, and central southern Turkey)." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 109(B7).

Sbeinati et al (2005)


Fig. 10. Map of intensity distribution for June 29, 1170 earthquake.(from Sbeinati et al, 2005)

〈084〉 1170 June 29

Sources
In this year [565 A.H.] [1169 September 25-1170 September 14], there was a great earthquake, destroying Al-Sham. (Abu Al-Fida)
Also in this year [565 A.H.] 12 Shawwal [1170 June 29], there were successive great terrible earthquakes which had never been seen before. Al-Sham, Al-Jazira, Al-Mousel, Iraq and other countries were affected. They were strongest in Al-Sham, where most of Damascus, Baalbak, Homs, Hama, Shaizar, Barin, Aleppo and others were destroyed, with their ramparts and fortresses, houses collapsed over their residents, killing countless numbers of people. Sultan Nur ed-Din visited these later towns and ordered to rebuild their ramparts and fortresses, while he found Aleppo had not been destroyed as these towns previously. Bilad Al-Firnj [in that time during the Crusader wars the Syrian coastal area was occupied by the Crusaders and called in Arabic Bilad Al-Firanj] was affected. (Ibn Al-Athir)
during the year of 1170, there was a very large earthquake that occurred in Northern Syria, causing heavy damage in Lattakia and other cities. (Saadeh, 1984)
Parametric catalogues

Seismological compilations References

Sbeinati, M. R., R. Darawcheh, and M. Monty (2005). "The historical earthquakes of Syria: An analysis of large and moderate earthquakes from 1365 B.C. to 1900 A.D.", Ann. Geophys. 48(3): 347-435.

Hough and Avni (2011)


Fig. 4. Intensity distribution determined by Ambraseys (2009) for the 1170 earthquake.
Circles indicate locations at which intensity values can be estimated from available
historical sources. (from Hough and Avni, 2011)

Hough and Avni, 2011 estimated M 6.6 for the 1170 CE earthquake using an attenuation relationship developed from the 1927 Jericho Quake and site specific Intensity estimates which were curated (generally downgraded to lower values) from Ambraseys (2009).

References

Hough, S. E., and R. Avni (2011). "The 1170 and 1202 Dead Sea Rift earthquakes and long term magnitude distribution on the Dead Sea fault zone." Isr. J. Earth Sci. 57.

Ambraseys et al (1994)

1170 June 29 12 Sharvwal 565 North Syria

A catastrophic earthquake in northwest Syria was said to have been felt in Egypt.1 There is no evidence of the effects there, nor has a reference so far been found in later Egyptian sources.2

Footnotes

1 Ibn al-Athir, Bahir, pp. 144-5; Abu Shama, I/ii, 467; Ibn Qadi Shuhba, p. 189.

2 For the effects of the earthquake in Syria, see al-Suyuti, pp. 44-5/30-1; Taher (1979), pp. 92-119/60-74. The event is mentioned in most histories of the Crusades, e.g. Runciman (1971), II, 389.

References

Ambraseys, N. N., et al. (1994). The seismicity of Egypt, Arabia, and the Red Sea : a historical review. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Abou Karaki (1987)

30 JUNE 1170 A.D. 12 SHAWWAL 565 A.H. Monday at dawn

Event continuing in the year 598 A.H. (1202 A.D.)

NAJA: We had already reported a type I error in (BM1)

- (565), Earthquake associated with the Bekaa faults, namely the Yammouneh, Shaba or Serghaya faults; strong at Baalbek, and at Damascus; felt in Mesopotamia and Palestine ML = 6.7 (BM1) which refers to the work of (Will) and (SIEB).

- June 29, 1170, 34°,6N 36°,2E, Io=XI -XII, ML = 7.9 (BM1) felt in Mesopotamia, in Cyprus, Egypt. Destructions at Damascus, Tire, Sidon, and Baalbek, Tripoli ruined. Damages and Victims in Palestine,..., (BM1) also refers to the work of (Will) and (SIEB) and 5 other contributions.

NAJA: It is certain that these "two events" are in fact only one; this is due to a type I error; this mistake was made by (Will - 1928), and propagated by (SIEB-1932); the error was pointed out in Willis (1933), corrected and verified by (AMBR1-1962) but taken over by (BM1-1979). What is remarkable are the quantifications, the dispersion notes in the magnitude calculations for the "two" cases 6.7 and 7.9, as well as the locations of two sites considered as independent.

- June 30, 1170, 12 SHAWWAL 565 A.H., Aleppo (IX-X), Antioch (IX), Damascus (VIII). (PTAH); Aleppo was totally destroyed, there were 80,000 victims; damage in the Antioch area (PRETA).

- Very numerous descriptions and testimonies in (TAHA) which can justify the intensity estimates proposed by (PTAH and PRETA), but we give the complete list of the cities mentioned, as well as the most significant testimonies, the following for example... according to Ibn Wasil, "This earthquake is known as the earthquake of Aleppo and its region, it resembles the earthquake of Hama of the year 552 apr. H. (TAHA)." Briefly, the cities and regions mentioned are Syria, Mesopotamia, Iraq, Mosul, but the maximum force was in Syria: Damascus, Baalbek, Homs, Hama, Chizar, Baarine, Aleppo (where the citadels, the walls and the houses collapsed and where there were victims under the ruins, impossible to count), Antioch, Latakia, and the whole coast; but they say there was only one victim in Damascus, killed by a stone that fell on her, because the people of Damascus had already evacuated to the desert,... The tremors followed one another for many days,... Here is another significant testimony..: "there was an earthquake in Aleppo, which caused a lot of destruction, it is another earthquake than that of Hama of the year 552 A.H., then the reader should not think that it is a mistake, there were indeed two earthquakes", (TAHA). It remains to mention that these events were widely commented upon by the people of the time, and often inspired the survivors with poems which reflect extent of damage, see (TAHA pp. 81-120).
French

30 JUIN 1170 apr. J.C., 12 CHAW 565 apr. H., le lundi à l'aube.

Evénement se poursuivant en l'année 598 apr. H. (1202 apr. J.C.)

NAJA : Nous avions déjà signalé une- erreur du type I dans (BM1)

- - (565), Séisme associé aux failles de la Békaa, soient les failles de Yamouné, Shaba ou Sergaya ; fort à Baalbek, et à Damas ; ressenti en Mésopotamie et en Palestine ML = 6,7 (BM1) qui se réfère aux travaux de (Will) et de (SIEB).

- 29 juin 1170, 34°,6N 36°,2E, Io=XI -XII, ML = 7,9 (BM1) ressenti en Mésopotamie, à Chypre, en Egypte. Destructions à Damas, à Tyr, à Sidon, et à Baalbek, Tripoli ruiné. Dommages et victimes en Palestine,..., (BM1) se réfère également au travaux de (Will) et (SIEB) et à 5 autres contributions.

NAJA : il est certain que ces "deux événements" n'en sont en fait qu'un s'eul ; cela est dû à une erreur du type I ; cette erreur a été commise par (Will - 1928), et propagée par (SIEB-1932) ; l'erreur été soulignée dans Willis (1933), corrigée et vérifiée par (AMBR1-1962) mais reprise par (BM1-1979). Ce qui est remarquable, ce sont les quantifications , la dispersion constate dans les calculs de magnitudes pour les "deux" cas 6,7 et 7,9, ainsi que les localisations de deux sites consi¬dérés comme indépendants.

- 30 Juin 1170, le 12 CHAW. 565 apr. H., Alep (IX-X), Antioche (IX), Damas (VIII). (PTAH) ; Alep fut totalement détruite, il y a eu 80 000 victimes; des dommages dans la zone d'Antioche (PRETA).

- Descriptions et témoignages très nombreux dans (TAHA) qui peuvent justifier les estimations d'intensités proposées par (PTAH et PRETA), mais nous donnons la liste complète des villes mentionnées, ainsi que les témoignages les plus significatifs,, le suivant par exemple... d'après Ibri-Wasel, "Ce tremblement de terre est connu sous le nom du séisme d'Alep et de sa région, il .ressemble au séisme de Hama de l'année 552 apr. H. (TAHA)." Brièvement, les villes et les régions citées sont la Syrie, la Mésopotamie, l'Irak, Mossoul, mais la force maximale se situait en Syrie : Damas, Baalbek, Homs, Hama, Chizar, Baarine, Alep (où les citadelles, les murailles et les maisons se sont effondrées et où il y avait des victimes sous les ruines, impossibles.à compter), Antioche, Lattaquié, et toute la côte ; mais on dit qu'il n'y avait qu'une seule victime à Damas, tuée par une pierre qui est tombée sur elle, car les habitants de Damas l'avait déjà évacué pour le désert,... Les secousses se sont succédées pendant de nombreux jours, ... Voici un' autre témoignage significatif..: "il y a eu un séisme à Alep, qui a causé beaucoup de destruction , c'est un autre séisme que celui de Hama de l'année 552 apr. H., alors le lecteur ne devrait pas penser qu'il s'agit d'une erreur, il y a bien eu deux séismes", (TAHA). Il reste à mentionner que ces événements ont été largement commentés par les gens de l'époque,, et 'ont souvent inspiré aux survivants des poêmes qui reflètent d'étendue des dommages, voir (TAHA pp. 81-120).

References

Abou-Karaki, N. (1987). Synthèse et carte sismotectonique des pays de la bordure Orientale de la Méditerranée: sismicité du système de foilles du Jourdain – Mer Morte, University of Strasbourg, France. Ph.D. Diss.

Archeoseismic claims of Ben-Menahem

Paleoclimate - Droughts

References

References

Ambraseys, N. N. and M. Barazangi (1989). "The 1759 Earthquake in the Bekaa Valley: Implications for earthquake hazard assessment in the Eastern Mediterranean Region." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 94(B4): 4007-4013.

Ambraseys and Jackson (1998). "Faulting associated with historical and recent earthquakes in the Eastern Mediterranean region." Geophysical Journal International 133(2): 390-406.

Ambraseys and Jackson (1998). "Faulting associated with historical and recent earthquakes in the Eastern Mediterranean region." Geophysical Journal International 133(2): 390-406.

Guidoboni, E., et al. (2004). "The large earthquake on 29 June 1170 (Syria, Lebanon, and central southern Turkey)." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 109(B7).

Hough, S. E., and R. Avni (2011). "The 1170 and 1202 Dead Sea Rift earthquakes and longâterm magnitude distribution on the Dead Sea fault zone." Isr. J. Earth Sci. 57.

Kázmér, M. and B. Major (2015). "Sāfitā castle and rockfalls in the ‘dead villages’ of coastal Syria – an archaeoseismological study." Comptes Rendus Geoscience 347(4): 181-190.

Kázmér, M., et al. (2010). Distinguishing damages from two earthquakes—Archaeoseismology of a Crusader castle (Al-Marqab citadel, Syria). Ancient Earthquakes, Geological Society of America. 471: 0.

Mayer Das syrische Erdbeben von 1170: Ein unedierter Brief Kanig Amalrichs von Jerusalem: CHAP.

Molin, K. (2001). Unknown Crusader Castles, Bloomsbury Academic.






Ancient Texts (partial list)


Benj. Tud.: Benjamin of Tudela, The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, text and transi. M. Adler, London, 1907.

http://books.google.com/books?id=oBWAAAAAMAAJ
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2988-benjamin-of-tudela
http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/mhl/mhl20.htm
https://archive.org/details/itineraryofrabbi01benjuoft
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_of_Tudela
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14981/14981-h/14981-h.htm

MichaelTheSyrian, Chronicle

https://archive.org/details/ChronicleOfMichaelTheGreatPatriarchOfTheSyrians
http://rbedrosian.com/Msyr/msyrtoc.html

Galatariotou, C. (2004). The Making of a Saint: The Life, Times and Sanctification of Neophytos the Recluse, Cambridge University Press.

Hagenmeyer, H. (1902). Chronicon S. Maxentii Pictavensis.

ROBERT DE TORIGNI, Chronique de Robert de Torigni, abbé du Mont Saint Michel, suivie de diverses opuscules historiques de cet auteur et de plusieurs religeux de la meme abbaye, edited by L. DELISLE, Société de l’His- toire de Normandie, Rouen 1872-1873.

http://books.google.com/books?id=hl0UAQAAMAAJ
http://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Robert%2C%20de%20Torigni%2C%20d.%201186.%20Chronique%22
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_of_Torigni

Smbat, S. and G. Dayan (1980). La Chronique attribuée au connatable Smbat, Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner.

http://books.google.com/books?id=DOGZAAAAIAAJ
http://rbedrosian.com/cssint.htm

WILLIAM OF TYRE, Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum a tempore successorum Mahumeth usque ad a. 1184, cum vet. Trans. Gallica dicta Estoire de Eracles empereur et la conqueste de la terre d’Outremer», RHC Hist. Occid., vol. 1, Paris 1844.

http://books.google.com/books?id=BmtqPwAACAAJ
http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/williamtyre.html





Ancient Arabic Texts (partial list)


AJAMI ABU DARR, Sibt ibn al-Ajami, Kunuz al-dhahab fi tarikh Halab, translated by J. SAUVAGET, Materiaux pour servir à lâ histoire de la ville dâ Alep, Beirut 1950.

Ibn al-Athir, 'Izz al-Din, (Kitab) al-Kamil fil-tarikh, ed. C. J. Tornberg, Leiden, 1851-76; (C) RHC Hist.Orient., Paris, 1872; 12 volumes, ed. Tornberg, Leiden, 1851-1876.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_ibn_al-Athir
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complete_History IBN AL-DAWADARI, Kanz al-durar wa jamiâ al-ghurar, edited by AL-MUNAJJID, vol. 7, Cairo 1960.

IBN AL-DAWADARI, Kanz al-durar wa jamiâ al-ghurar, edited by AL-MUNAJJID, vol. 7, Cairo 1960.

Al-Gawzi, S. I. and S. S. Hajjar (1982). Mir'at al-Zaman i tarih al-a'yan, S. Sayde Hajjar.

http://books.google.com/books?id=SrebOwAACAAJ
http://books.google.com/books?id=DbCFBX6b3eEC&pg=PA719&lpg=PA719&dq=Mir%E2%80%99at+al-zaman%22&source=bl&ots=btqPS__oiT&sig=2Md4QRv_y8etcJfGhX9M7blZ1do&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tpLcU9KLN8bD8AGEh4CwAg&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=Mir%E2%80%99at%20al-zaman%22&f=false
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibt_ibn_al-Jawzi

ABU SHAMA, Dhailâ ala al-raudatain fi akbar al-daulatayn, edited by M. ZAHID AL-KAUTHARI, Cairo 1947.
ABUSHAMA, Kitâb al-Raudatayn fi akbar al-daulatayn, edited by M. HILMI, 2 vols., Cairo 1956-1962.
ABUSHAMA, Opus dictum Kitâb er-Raudhateïn, sub titulo «Le Livre deux jardins ou Histoire de deux Règnes» auctore Abou Chamach, edited and translated by A.C. BARBIER DEMEYNERD, RHC Hist. Or., vol. 4, Paris 1896.

IBN AL-SHIHNAH, an-Nawadir as-Sultanya, British Library, London, Ms. Or. Add. 2, 36

AL-UMARI YASIN, al-Athar al-jaliyya fi hawadith alardiyya, Ms., Iraq Academy, Baghdad; also British Library, London, Ms. Or. 6300.

Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu jam al-buldan, ed. F. Wfistenfeld, Leipzig, 1866-73, 4 volumes.

https://archive.org/details/YaqutMudjamAlBuldamDeir
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%27jam_Al-Buldan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaqut_al-Hamawi