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1202 CE Quakes

daybreak 20 May 1202 CE

by Jefferson Williams









Various political states in 1200 CE Intesity map for 1202 Ce Quakes from Hough and Avni (2011)
                  Left - Various political states in 1200 CE (wikipedia- ExploretheMed - CC BY-SA 3.0)
                  Right - Hypothetical Intensity map for 1202 CE Earthquakes on the Lebanese Restraining Bend (from Fig. 4 Hough and Avni (2011)).

Introduction & Summary

Shortly before the 4th Crusade, a powerful earthquake struck a broad swath of Egypt, Cyprus, and the Levant at daybreak on 20 May 1202 CE. The earthquake is documented by Western and Muslim sources - several of whom provide contemporaneous eye witness accounts. Letters written about a month after the earthquake by Geoffrey of Donjon and Philipe du Plessis tell the tale of an earthquake which struck at dawn or slightly before dawn and ravaged Acre, Tyre, Tripoli, Arqa, Krak, Margat, Arsum, and Chastel Blanc. A letter by Robert of Auxerrre written some years later repeats the information provided by Philipe du Plessis.

'Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi experienced the earthquake in Cairo and wrote about it ~2 years later. Like Geoffrey of Donjon and Philipe du Plessis, he describes a powerful earthquake which struck in the early morning. Like a number of other Muslim authors, the date he provides in the Islamic calendar equates to 21 May 1202 CE. However, he also provides a date in the Coptic calendar which equates to 20 May 1202 CE. Also like other Muslim authors, he specified Monday as the day when the earthquake struck. However, 21 May 1202 CE fell on a Tuesday. 20 May fell on Monday. This indicates that the correct date for the earthquake is 20 May and suggests that the Islamic calendar used at the time was slightly different than the modern one1.

al-Baghdadi says that the initial early morning shock consisted of three violent shocks and lasted a long time in Cairo. It was followed by a weaker shock around midday. In letters he copied from Hemat (Hama) and Damascus, the initial shock is described as striking at dawn or in the early morning. In Hamat (Hama), the first shock is said to have lasted an hour and the second shock is said to have been of shorter duration but stronger. The second shock may reflect a triggered earthquake closer to Hama. The time of the second shock was not provided. In Damascus, the first shock is also said to have lasted a long time with one person saying that it lasted as long as it takes to read Surat Al-Kahf - about 30 minutes. Damascene Abu Shama was born about a year after the earthquake and says that for an hour the ground was like the sea. Descriptions of an earthquake lasting half an hour to an hour probably describe the initial shock and a sequence of powerful aftershocks and/or triggered secondary earthquakes. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi experienced the earthquake in Damascus and said that the initial shock lasted about 45 seconds - as long as it took to read Surat al-Kafirun. Among the various Muslim authors, there are reports of subsequent aftershocks lasting up to four days and four of the western accounts2 described earthquakes (plural) rather than a single earthquake. This probably reflects continuing after shocks and/or subsequent triggerred earthquakes. The fact that the earthquake created such widespread damage (Egypt/Lebanon/Cyprus/Syria), struck around daybreak in Cairo, Damascus, and Hama, and created a sequence of violent shocks suggests that two or more triggered fault breaks occurred within a time span of minutes or hours. Shocks reported a day or so later may reflect additional events. Ambraseys (2009) noted similarities between the 1202 CE earthquake and the trigerred Baalbek Quakes of 1759 which struck approximately a month apart.

The fact that strong shaking was clearly experienced in Egypt (e.g., in Cairo) and Jerusalem was said to have been spared any major damage is curious but can likely be explained by the fact that al-Baghdadi does not specifically mention building collapses or fatalities indicating that Egypt was scared but, like Jerusalem, was spared. If there were widespread collapses and fatalities in Egypt as indicated by some later writing authors3, another fault break to the south (e.g., in the southern Gulf of Aqaba and/or the Red Sea) might be indicated.

The death toll was exaggerated by some of the authors. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, for example, said that 1.1 million died. The number of deaths would have been substantial but would be hard to estimate precisely as the earthquake struck while a fatal plague had gone viral and after the Nile failed to overflow leading to famine. A tsunami, described by several of the Muslim authors - usually striking Western controlled Cyprus - may have been caused by an offshore slope failure. The same tsunami may have also struck the Lebanese littoral but there are no such descriptions of a tsunami on the Lebanese littoral in Western or Muslim sources. Several of the Muslim authors also describe a landslide which is said to have have killed a number of people and appears to be located in mountains outside of Baalbek. Several contemporaneous and local Muslim sources describe specific damage in Damascus including details of damage to the Great Mosque of Damascus. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, who was living in Damascus at the time, described people fleeing to the square in the Damascus. This is a common response to powerful earthquakes and the kind of detail that appears more often in contemporaneous or well sourced later reports. They probably slept there afraid or unable to re-enter their damaged homes4. Older earthquake catalogues mis-date and sometimes duplicate this earthquake supplying years of 1201, 1202, 1203, and/or 1204. This appears to be based on erroneous dates provided by some of the authors. An analysis of the earliest historical sources, however, give us an unambiguous date - 20 May 1202 CE. Nevertheless, it is possible that duplicate dates provided by some authors5 may speak to a powerful foreshock/aftershock/triggered earthquake months or years separated from the 20 May 1202 CE event.

Damage is described over a large area which tends to expand as the authors gain more time separation from the event. According to the earliest authors Jerusalem, Iraq, Antioch, Armenia, and Tortosa are reported to have been spared or to have experienced only light damage. These earlier reports of limited damage should take priority. The collapsible panel titled 'Areas affected' contains a table of affected areas based on accounts in approximate geographic agreement with the earliest authors. There is some Paleoseismic evidence (e.g., Kazzab Trenches and Bet Zayda) and Archaeoseismic evidence (e.g., al-Marqab Citadel, Chastel Blanc, and Tel Ateret) for these earthquakes. Paleoseismic evidence in the southern Araba from around this time has usually been interpreted to be a result of the 1068 or 1212 CE earthquakes.
Footnotes

1 Sibt ibn al-Jawzi wrote about the earthquake in two seperate passages incorrectly dating it in the first passage and more or less dating it correctly in the second. Although, like other Arabic writers, his second date was daybreak 21 May instead of 20 May 1202 CE, this likely stems from a calendar difference between the modern Islamic calendar and the one used at the time. He also dates the earthquake in the second passage to 20 Ab which in the Syriac calendar equates to 20 August but in an older predecessor of the Syriac calendar (Babylonian Akkadian) equates to 20 May. He probably meant 20 May.

2 Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Chronicle of Ernoul, and History of Heraclius

3 Abu Shama writing from Damascus before 1268 CE and al-Dawardi writing from Cairo between 1331 and 1335 CE.

4 Thousands of people slept in the parks of Northridge, CA after the 1994 Northridge Quake (personal recollection by Jefferson Williams) - an earthquake which is estimated to have made ~125,000 people temporarily homeless.

5 Ibn al-Athir in two seperate passages dates what appears to be the same earthquake to Sha'ban A.H. 597 (7 May 1201 CE to 4 June 1201 CE) and A.H. 600 (10 Sept. 1203 CE to 28 Aug. 1204 CE). Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi dates what appears to be the same earthquake in two separate passages to A.H. 597 (12 Oct. 1200 CE to 30 Sept. 1201 CE) and 20 May 1202 CE (in A.H. 598). Ambraseys and Melville (1988:186) note the following:

Two separate notices are also found in the chronicle of Sibt b. al-Jauzi (d. 1256), this time under 597 and 598 H. The first account, under Sha'ban 597 H., echoes that of 'Abd al-Latif [aka al-Baghdadi], while mentioning a few additional places. The date, however, is the one given by Ibn al-Athir. Sibt b. al-Jauzi supports this date by saying (p. 480) that after these earthquakes in 597/1201, died both 'Imad al-Din [the historian whose work he had earlier quoted for an account of the famine in Egypt that year] and the author's own grandfather the historian Ibn al-Jauzi]. It is generally accepted that both men did indeed die in 597/1201 and thus before the earthquake. This is awkward to explain, but the author is probably trying to rationalize two conflicting pieces of chronological data. He is not so much dating the deaths by reference to the earthquake, as accommodating the false date that he has accepted for the earthquake within the sequence of other events that year. Under the correct year, 598 H., he has a much briefer account, describing damage to the castles at Hims and Hisn al-akrad. He says the shock extended to Cyprus and destroyed what was left of Nablus (i.e. after the first earthquake). This implies two shocks. On the other hand, Sibt b. al-Jauzi's second account is not unlike Ibn al-Athir's second account (under 600 H.), and may again simply be an attempt to accommodate the conflicting dates. It is significant that Sibt b. al-Jauzi has no report of an earthquake under 600 H.


Areas affected

Affected

Locations affected
Location Sources Notes
Egypt al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi
Upper Egypt al-Baghdadi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti By mentioning Qus, al-Baghdadi is mentioning Upper Egypt
Qus al-Baghdadi
Baniyan in Egypt Abu Shama
Damietta al-Baghdadi
Alexandria al-Baghdadi
Syria al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala, as-Suyuti
Hamah al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari al-Baghdadi calls this Hemat
Homs Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Barin al-Baghdadi
Baalbek al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Mountains outside Baalbek or, less likely, Mt Lebanon al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Damascus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Aleppo Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Paneas al-Baghdadi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Hunayn al-Dawadari
Safet al-Baghdadi
Tebnin al-Baghdadi
Nablus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Beth Rhomaye Bar Hebraeus
Beit Jan1 al-Baghdadi
Hauran al-Baghdadi
Village near Busra Ibn al-Athir
Syrian Coast al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti
Acre Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Chronicle of Ernoul, History of Heraclius, Bar Hebreus, al-Dawadari, Annales de Terre Sainte
Tyre Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Chronicle of Ernoul, Marsilio Zorzi, History of Heraclius, Bar Hebraeus, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Annales de Terre Sainte
Beirut Chronicle of Ernoul
Gibelet (Byblos) Annales de Terre Sainte
Tripolis Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Bar Hebraeus, Annales de Terre Sainte
Arches [`Arqa] Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Annales de Terre Sainte Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi specifies 'Araqa
Krak [Hisn al-'Akrad] Geoffrey of Donjon, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Margat [Marqab] Geoffrey of Donjon
Arsum [Arima]2 Philipe du Plessis
Chastel Blanc (Burj Safitha) and/or Safith Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, al-Baghdadi
Irka al-Baghdadi
Cyprus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala
Footnotes - Location discussion

1 Ambraseys and Melville (1988:187) note

Two possibilities present themselves for the identification of Bait Jann out of the three noted by de Sacy in 'Abd al-Latif [aka al-Baghdadi], p. 446, both being known to the Crusaders (see Dussaud, 1927, pp. 7, 391). The first is 10 km west of Safad and the second on the road between Damascus and Baniyas, see Ibn Jubair, p. 300, who described it as situated in between the mountains. The context in which Bait Jann is mentioned by 'Abd al-Latif [aka al-Baghdadi] allows either alternative to be acceptable, but the second is preferred here because the location was better known as marking the boundary between Muslims and Franks before the conquests of Saladin (cf. Deschamps, 1939, p. 146).
2 Mayer (1972:304 n.1) notes
There is no known Crusader castle which was called Arsum in either Arabic or Latin. One might suggest that arsum is a copyist's mistake for mediaeval Arsur, Arabic Arsuf, south of Cesarea, but this explanation would not be very illuminating, for this part of Philip's letter is evidently concerned with places in the county of Tripole much farther north.

Felt

Locations probably just felt or with limited damage
Location Sources Notes
Jazira Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, as-Suyuti
Iraq Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala, as-Suyuti Ibn al-Athir, probably writing from Mosul, says slight damage and no homes destroyed
Mosul Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil
Akhlat Geoffrey of Donjon, al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Dawadari probably just felt. Ambraseys (2009) lists an earthquake in Ahlat in 1208 CE based on reports by Ibn al-Athir and Abu Shama.

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
Geoffrey of Donjon Latin
Biography

Geoffroy de Donjon (died 1202 in Acre), also known as or Geoffroy de Duisson, was the 11th Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller serving from 1193 through his death in 1202 (wikipedia and Theresa M. Vann in Murray, 2006:604 ). A letter written by him to King Sancho VII of Navarre describes and dates the earthquake. Mayer (1972:300) notes that the letter is not dated but is dateable from internal evidence because it reports the great earthquake which shook the East on May 20, 1202, and expressly mentions this date. Mayer (1972:300-301) assumes that it took some time to assemble reliable news from various parts of the country and safely dates its composition to June 1202 CE.

Christian June 1202 CE Acre ?
Account

Dates the earthquake to shortly before dawn on 20 May 1202 CE. States that some cities were overthrown, some were destroyed, and others, due damage, were threatened with ruin. Mentions severe damage in Acre where some of the towers, the ornate royal palace, and walls were ruined. Tyre suffered an overthrow of its walls, towers, churches and house. Tripoli suffered considerable harm to its walls and houses, and death to its citizens but was less damaged than Tyre. The towers, walls, houses and fortifications of Arches [`Arqa] were razed; their people were killed, and the localities are deserted. The fortresses of Krak [Hisn al-'Akrad] and Margat [Marqab] suffered considerable damage but could still hold out against enemy attacks. Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken but but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent.

Philipe du Plessis Latin
Biography

Phillipe de Plessis (1165 CE-1209 CE) was the 13th Grand Master of the Knights Templar (wikipedia). A letter written by him to Arnold I, the abbot of Citeaux describes and dates the earthquake.

Christian June 1202 CE County of Tripoli between Chastel Blanc (Burj Safitha) and Hamah ? (Mayer, 1972:303)
Account

Dates the earthquakes (plural) to 20 May 1202 CE.

Seismic Effects

  • there were earthquakes (plural - terremotus in Latin)
  • razed most of the walls and houses at Acre to the ground, crushing a great many people to death in the ruins
  • At the city of Tyre, all but three of its towers were destroyed, and all the city walls except for the outer barbicans, and all the houses with their inhabitants, except for a few survivors
  • Most of the city of Tripoli was destroyed, along with a large proportion of the townspeople.
  • The castle of Archis has been reduced to ruins, including all its houses, walls and towers
  • the castle of Arsum [Arima] has been razed to the ground
  • At Chastel Blanc, 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 state.
  • Divine mercy spared the town of Tortosa and its castle, the walls, the inhabitants, and everything else

Robert of Auxerre Latin
Biography

Robert of Auxerre (1156 - 1202 CE) is described by Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) as a Monk who lived in the monastery of St.Marien at Auxerre (France) from 1204 onwards. He wrote a Chronicon covering the period from the creation to 1211, which was continued by other hands up to 1228 (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). Mayer (1972:308-310) demonstrated strong similarities between the account of the earthquake in Robert's Chronicon and the letter by Phillipe de Plessis which suggests that Robert of Auxerre used the letter by Phillipe de Plessis as a source.

Christian before 1211 CE Monastery of St.Marien at Auxerre (France)
Account

Dated the earthquakes (plural) to around daybreak 20 May 1202 CE. Mayer (1972:308-310) demonstrated strong similarities between the account of the earthquake in Robert's Chronicon to the letter by Phillipe de Plessis which suggests that Robert of Auxerre used the letter by Phillipe de Plessis as a source.

Seismic Effects

  • there were earthquakes (plural) in the region of Outremer
  • a terrible sound was heard in the sky and an awful rumble from the earth
  • the most part of the city of Acre, with its ramparts, houses and even the royal palace, was razed to the ground, and countless persons were wiped out
  • Similarly the city of Tyre, the most [strongly] fortified in those parts, was almost completely overturned, while all of its towers bar three collapsed, and the ramparts, as high as they were solid, were either badly damaged or almost thrown to the ground, except for some forewalls which they call barbicans; all the houses and the buildings, with a few exceptions, were shaken
  • in the region of Tripolis the castle of Arqa, a great fortress, was razed to the ground with its towers, ramparts, houses and people
  • A great part of the city of Tripolis fell too, and many people were killed
  • most of the ramparts and towers of Chastel-Blanc [Safitha] were thrown to the ground
  • There were few coastal cities which did not suffer some damage
  • the city of Antaradus, which is also called Tortosa, escaped this disaster unharmed and intact.

'Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi Arabic
Biography

Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi, also known as Ibn al-Labbad, was born in Baghdad in 1161 or 1162 CE and died there in 1231 CE (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). al-Baghdadi was a polymath and he wrote a large corpus of at least 173 books on a variety of subjects including but not limited to religious studies, linguistics, law, medicine, alchemy, flora and fauna, literary criticism, philosophy, education, mathematics, science, and history (El Daly, 2005). Unfortunately only some of these have survived. In between his birth and death in Baghdad, he visited and studied at a variety of places including Mosul, Aleppo, Jerusalem, Cairo, Damascus, Turkey, and Afghanistan (El Daly, 2005). His historical work Observations and Reflections on Things Seen and Events Witnessed in the Land of Egypt (‘Al-Ifadah wa 'Al-I'tibar fi Al‘Umour Al-Mushahada wa Al-Hawadith Al-Mu'ayanah bi-Ard Misr’ or Kitab al-ifada for short) is about Egypt, and became known in Europe thanks to Latin, German, French, and now English translations (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). An autograph copy of Kitab al-ifada exists in the Bodleian Library in Oxford (El Daly, 2005). This book contains an extensive and detailed description of the May 1202 CE earthquake.

Muslim contemporaneous eyewitness account. Ambraseys (2009) states that al-Baghdadi wrote his account in Ramadan 600/May 1204, two years after the event. probably Cairo. Ambraseys (2009) states that al-Baghdadi was in Cairo at the time of the earthquake.
Account

'Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi wrote an extensive and detailed account of the earthquake as experienced in Egypt supplemented by letters with first hand accounts from Hemat and Damascus. In Cairo, al-Baghdadi says that the first shock struck in the early morning and lasted a long time. He also described the sinusoidal motion of the seismic waves. Two strong shocks followed the first one. He further noted that the shocks shook buildings, caused doors to tremble and roof-joists to crack and threatened to ruin buildings in poor repair or on an elevated or very high site. However, because he did not report any fatalities or building collapses, his report likely corresponds to VI on the MMI Scale. Further shocks are recorded around midday but they were weak and of short duration. In Egypt the shock was experienced from Qus to Damietta and Alexandria and there are accounts of widespread destruction and death largely or perhaps entirely in Syria. Destruction was said to be far greater in territories controlled by the Franks than in territories controlled by the Muslims and Jerusalem is said to have only sustained slight damage. An unlocated tsunami, presumably on the Lebanese and/or Syrian coast, is described and the earthquake is said to have been felt as far as Akhat and Cyprus.

The letter from Hemat also describes a long duration early morning earthquake followed by a second stronger shock that did not last as long. Destruction is described in Hemat, Hamah, Barin, Damascus, and Baalbek. On the following day there were two more shocks which struck around the time of midday prayer (~12 pm) and afternoon prayer (~3 pm).

The letter from Damascus describes a long duration shock which struck at the break of dawn. Damage is reported at the great Mosque in Damascus to the Dome, two minarets, and 16 crenellations. Many houses are said to have fallen, a building called Kallaseh was swallowed up, as the earth was open and a man died at the Gate of Jirun. Banias and Safed are said to have been partly overthrown. In an apparent contradiction, only one person is said to have survived the earthquake in Safed. Tenin was also said to have been partially overthrown and in Nablus it was said that not a wall remains upright, except in the Street of the Samaritans. Jerusalem is said to have suffered nothing. Beit Jan is said to have suffered total destruction along with many towns in the Hauran. The letter also reports that the greater part of Acre was overthrown along with a third of the city of Tyre. Irka and Safith are said to have been swallowed up. Destruction is also reported on Mount Lebanon or the mountains of Lebanon (depending on the translation) where 200 people died in what may be a description of a landslide. Shocks were said to have been felt during the day and night for four days after the initial shock.

al-Baghdadi provided dates for the earthquake in the Coptic and Islamic calendars. The day of the week and date in the Islamic calendar disagrees by a day as is also the case in his two letters from Hemat and Damascus suggesting that the Islamic calendar used at the time may have differed from the modern one. Since the date and day of the week agree in the Coptic calendar and this date agrees with the 20 May date provided by some of the independent western sources, the correct date for the main initial shock is around daybreak on 20 May 1202 CE.

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 appears to have written about the same earthquake twice giving it two different dates - i.e., creating a duplicate. Both dates are wrong. Combined together the two passages describe damage in Egypt, Jazira, and Syria where Syria appears to have been the most badly affected. House destruction is reported in Damascus, Hims and Hamat. A village near Busra was said to have been swallowed up and there was massive damage along the Syrian Coast. Destruction was also reported in Acre, Tyre (where the walls were destroyed), Nablus, and Tripoli. In Iraq, damage was described as slight and no homes were destroyed. The earthquake is said to have reached Mosul, Sicily, Byzantium, and Cyprus. Ibn al-Athir appears to have been living in Mosul when the earthquake struck. Thus, his comments that damage was slight in Iraq and no homes were destroyed is probably accurate and should be weighted more highly than other sources.

Abu 'l-Fada'il of Hamah Arabic
Biography

I am currently unable to locate biographical information on Abu 'l-Fada'il of Hamah.

Muslim ca. 1233 Hamah
Account

Ambraseys and Melville (1988:186) state the following

Abu 'l-Fada'il of Hamah (ca. 1233) has a brief notice of the shock under 597 H [12 Oct. 1200 - 30 Sept. 1201 CE]. It is of interest that he does not refer to the shock in Hamah, but mentions that it destroyed most of the towns belonging to the "Franks".

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 wrote about the earthquake in two seperate passages incorrectly dating it in the first passage and more or less dating it correctly in the second. Although, like other Arabic writers, his second date was daybreak 21 May instead of 20 May 1202 CE, this likely stems from a calendar difference between the modern Islamic calendar and the one used at the time. He also dates the earthquake in the second passage to 20 Ab which in the Syriac calendar equates to 20 August but in an older predecessor of the Syriac calendar (Babylonian Akkadian) equates to 20 May. He probably meant 20 May.

By combining both passages, we have a fairly extensive write-up about the earthquake(s). According to his biography, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi would have been about 17 years old and living in Damascus when the earthquake struck so some of his testimony likely reflects personal experience. In one passage he said that the initial shock lasted for as long as it took to read Surat al-Kahf (about 45 seconds) and was followed by a succession of aftershocks while in another he said it lasted for 24 hours. This latter narration probably describes continuing aftershocks. The final shock after the 24 hours was described as weak.

Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi reports destruction of Acre (with 30,000 dead), Tyre and all the coastal citadels including Tripolis and 'Araqa. The earthquake is said to have destroyed most of the houses of Damascus and an unnamed Mosque in Damascus which appears to be the 'Great Mosque of Damascus'. The Dome of this Mosque, referred to as the Dome of Nasr ('victory'), is said to have split in two, the exterior minaret is said to have fallen, other minarets shook, and he reports that 16 crenellations of the north wall fell to the ground. The earthquake is said to have spread as far as Cyprus, Akhlat, Jazira, Armenia, and Azerbijan. He says that 1.1 million people died which, like the fullest extent of the damage area, may be an exaggeration but may also add in deaths due to a concurrent plague.

Homs, Hamah, Aleppo, and all the capitals (in Muslim territories ?) are said to have been affected and the citadel at Baalbek is said to have been destroyed. The citadel at Homs and all of Homs itself are also said to have been destroyed. An apparent landslide is reported to have killed 200 workers in the mountains of Lebanon outside of Baalbek which al-Baghdadi also described in the Letter from Damascus and located on Mount Lebanon or in the mountains of Lebanon (depending on the translation). Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi's account may resolve this discrepancy by locating the landslide in the mountains of Lebanon outside of Baalbek. He also reports that Nablus was affected, the watchtower at Hisn al-Akrad was destroyed, and a tsunami struck Cyprus. Considerable destruction is said to have occurred in the Muslim territories in the north.

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
Account

Abu Shama dated the earthquake to Sha'ban A.H. 598 (Year assumed) which equates to 26 April 1202 CE to 24 May 1202 CE. Abu Shama's account has many similarities with fellow Damascene Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi indicating that the two men either shared a source or Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi was one of Abu Shama's sources (perhaps his primary source).

Seismic Effects

  • there was a tremendous earthquake [which came?] from Upper Egypt
  • For an hour, the ground was like the sea
  • the towns of Baniyan, in Egypt, and Nabulus were destroyed, and many people perished in the ruins
  • the earthquake reached Syria and its coast
  • at Nabulus not so much as a wall was left standing, except in the Samra district, and there were 30,000 victims
  • Acre and Sur were destroyed, as well as all the citadels along the coast
  • part of the east minaret of the [Great Umayyad] mosque [of Damascus] collapsed
  • There was massive damage to the lime kilns (al-Kallasa), the Nur al-Din hospital, and nearly all the houses in the city
  • Sixteen balconies fell from the [Umayyad] mosque, and the Nasr mausoleum split open
  • Banyas was destroyed
  • People from Ba'alabik who had gone out to pick wild fruit were crushed to death when two mountains collapsed on top of each other
  • The citadel of Ba'alabik was destroyed
  • The earthquake reached Hims, Hamat, Aleppo and other towns
  • tsunami - The sea withdrew from the coast as far as Cyprus. There were very high waves which smashed boats on the shore.
  • the earthquake spread towards Akhlat, and into Armenia, Adharbayjan and Mesopotamia
  • About 1,100,000 victims were counted
  • The initial violence of the earthquake abated in the time it takes to read the sura of The Cave (Surat Al-Kahf ? - ~33.25 minutes); but the shocks continued for days

Chronicle of Ernoul and of Bernard le Tresorier Vulgar French
Biography

The French of Outremer Project at The Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University provides the following information. Chronicle of Ernoul and of Bernard le Tresorier (Chronique d’Ernoul et de Bernard le Trésorier) is first known to have circulated in the early 1230's CE. It's authors were enigmatic - ‘Ernoul’, a squire in the service of Balian of Ibelin and ‘Bernard’, the treasurer of Saint Peter of Corbie. The Chronicle is a narrative history of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem from its foundation and ending in c. 1230 (the surviving manuscripts conclude in 1227, 1229 and 1231). Rather than a straightforward history written either by Ernoul or Bernard, it is a compilation of historical materials which apparently drew upon an earlier work by the squire of Ibelin for the period from 1184-1187 and then included original material from other sources to tell the story of the Third Crusade and the retrenchment of the Latin Kingdom.

Christian probably before 1231 CE ? States that earthquakes occurred in the land and brought down the walls of Tyre, Beirut and Acre, much of which was rebuilt
Marsilio Zorzi Latin
Biography

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) describe Zorzi Marsilio as the Venetian bailo (ambassador) to Syria who in a letter dated to October 1243 refers to a group of properties in the city of Tyre, some of which had been destroyed in an earthquake which he does not identify. Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) suggest that it is likely that the writer is referring to damage caused by the 1202 earthquake.

Christian Oct. 1243 CE ? Zorzi Marsilio describes three bakeries and several houses inside the city of Tyre, including one house in the shape of a tower, which were destroyed by an earthquake. The date of the earthquake is unspecified. Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) suggest that it is likely that the writer is referring to damage caused by the 1202 earthquake.
History of Heraclius (The Eracles or Estoire d’Eracles) Vulgar French
Biography

Helen Nicholson in Murray (2006: v. 2, p. 405) provides the following about History of Heraclius (aka The Eracles or Estoire d'Eracles). The History of Heraclius is a Vulgar French translation and continuation of the history of William of Tyre by anonymous authors. The title 'History of Heraclius' refers to the start of William of Tyre’s history - when Byzantine emperor Heraclius (ruled 610–641) recaptured Jerusalem from the Persians and brought the 'True Cross' back to Jerusalem. The continuation recounts the loss of Jerusalem to Saladin in 1187 CE and the ensuing history of Outremer with some manuscripts going as far as 1277 CE. 49 manuscripts and its continuation survive but there is no critical edition. Two versions of the translation have been published - the so-called Colbert-Fontainebleau Eracles (in the series Recueil des Historiens des Croisades) and one by Paulin Paris. The anonymous translator (possibly working in the West between 1205 and 1234) and the composers of later versions made important adjustments and additions to William’s text, and there are significant differences between the various manuscripts. The continuations that follow the translation were assembled between 1220 and 1277 and added on to the translation. Forty-four of the manuscripts of the continuation for 1185–1229 record a version of events similar to that preserved in the Chronique d’Ernoul. The other five manuscripts, including the Colbert-Fontainebleau manuscripts, preserve different versions of events. All these continuations seem to reflect the political views of part of the Frankish nobility of Outremer. For the period 1229–1261, a variant version of Eracles exists in twelve manuscripts, known as the Rothelin Continuation, which was apparently composed in the West and reflects a Western viewpoint.

Christian possibly between 1220 and 1277 CE possibly in the West No date provided. Discusses the use of funds to rebuild the walls at Acre and Tyre which had been damaged in an earthquake.
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 and, presumably, 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 Bar Hebraeus misdated the earthquake to A.H. 597 (12 Oct. 1200 - 30 Sept. 1201 CE), writing about an event which destroyed many buildings and high walls in Damascus, Emesa, Hamath, Tripoli, Tyre, Akko, and Shamrin (Samaria), reached Beth Rhomaye, but was not violent in the East.
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 ? Dated the earthquake incorrectly to A.H. 600 (10 Sept. 1203 CE to 28 Aug. 1204 CE). Stated that a violent earthquake affected most regions of Egypt and Syria, Jazira, Bilad al-Rum [Byzantine territories], Sicily, Cyprus, Mosul, and Iraq and some say that it reached Sibtat [Ceuta, Morocco].
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 provided two brief descriptions of what appears to be the same earthquake in A.H. 597 and A.H. 600. Both years appear to be incorrect. Combined together, the two accounts describe damage to the walls of Tyre, the collapse of many cities, and an earthquake which was felt in Egypt, Syria, the maritime provinces, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Sicily, Cyprus, Iraq and elsewhere.
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 dated the earthquake to Shaban A.H. 597 however the year is incorrect. For the correct year of A.H. 598, the earthquake is dated to 26 April 1202 CE to 24 May 1202 CE. Ibn al-Dawadari states that there was a great earthquake which extended from Upper Egypt to Syria and the coast. In Egypt, buildings were said to have been destroyed and many people disappeared under the rubble. Nablus was destroyed with 30,000 dead and only the walls of the Sumrah Quater left standing. Akko and Tyre were also destroyed along with fortresses of the coast. Banyas and Hunayn suffered as well. A landslide is reported to have killed people traveling from Baalbek and most of the citadel of Baalbek was destroyed. In Damascus there was damage to the Umayyad mosque, most of al-Kallasah, and the Nuri hospital. Homs, Hama, and Aleppo were also affected. The earthquake is said to have reached Cyprus where a tsunami hurled ships onto shore, breaking up a number of them. The earthquake is said to have reached Akhlat, Armenia, Azarbayjan, al-Jazirah, and Ajam. Thousands or 100,000 perished under the rubble.

Ibn al-Wardi Arabic
Biography

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) describe Ibn al-Wardi as follows:

Ibn al-Wardi, Zayn al-Din Abu Hafs `Umar ben Muzaffar b. `Umar Muhammad (c.1290-1349)

A keen follower of Shafi'ism, he was a textual scholar, man of letters, historian and poet. He was educated in Syria, at Damascus, Aleppo and Hamah. He began his career in the magistracy before devoting himself entirely to literary activities. His Tatimmat mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar is simply an abridgement of Abu 'l-Fida's chronicle.
Based on reading other sources (e.g. Encyclopedia of Islam), there appears to be some doubt and confusion over his identity and biography.

Muslim before 1359 CE ? Dated the earthquake incorrectly to A.H. 600 (10 Sept. 1203 CE to 28 Aug. 1204 CE). Stated that an earthquake affected Egypt, Syria, Jazira, Bilad al-Rum [Byzantine territories], Sicily, Cyprus, and Iraq and that Tyre was destroyed.
Annales de Terre Sainte Vulgar French
Biography

Annales de Terre Sainte is a brief Annals composed in Vulgar French in the 14th century CE by an anonymous French author covering events of the Crusades and Crusader states from 1095 until the fall of Acre in 1291 CE (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005 and wikipedia). It is one of the few available sources for the period 1277-1291: i.e. the closing years of the Latin presence in the Holy Land and depends heavily on information from William of Tyre and the Estoire d'Eracles empereur for earlier years (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005).

Christian 14th century CE ? States that in 1202 CE, an earthquake devastated Acre, Sur (Tyre), Gibelet, Archis, part of Tripoli, and many Christian and Saracen towns.
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 Mis-dates the earthquake to Sha'ban A.H. 597 (7 May 1201 CE to 4 June 1201 CE) when it should have been Sha'ban A.H. 598. Speaks of an earthquake almost over all the world which caused great destruction in Upper Egypt. It is said to have extended over Syria and the sea, Mesopotamia, the Greek Empire and Irak and been felt in Armenia and Azerbijan. The first shock is said to have lasted but a short time, but after that it continued for several days.
Ibn Munkala Arabic
Biography

I was unable to locate biographical information on Ibn Munkala. Since his manuscript is found in Cairo, he likely resided in Egypt.

Muslim ? Egypt ? misdated the earthquake to A.H. 597 (12 Oct. 1200 - 30 Sept. 1201 CE). Wrote about an earthquake which was felt from Syria to Mesopotamia, Byzantine territory and Iraq. In Cyprus the sea withdrew from the coast as far as Cyprus, throwing ships on to the island, and ending up on its eastern shores.
Katib Celebi Arabic and/or possibly Turkish
Biography

Katib Celebi (1609-1657 CE) was a Turkish polymath who wrote principally in Arabic but also in Turkish and Persian (wikipedia).

Hanafi Sunni Muslim before 1657 CE Istanbul ? Wrote that [there was] a great earthquake in the Islamic lands
Other Authors
Historiography
Text (with hotlink) Original Language Biographical Info Religion Date of Composition Location Composed Notes
Damage and Chronology Reports from Textual Sources

Timing of Shocks

´

Duration of initial shock
Duration Reporting from Source Notes
long time Egypt al-Baghdadi
long enough to read the the Surat al-Kafirun - about 45 seconds Damascus Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi This probably refers to the initial shock
about one hour Hemat al-Baghdadi This probably refers to continuing shocks.
long enough to read the Surat of the Koran entitled 'The Cavern' (Surat Al-Kahf - ~33.25 minutes) Damascus al-Baghdadi, Abu Shama This probably refers to continuing shocks. al-Baghdadi's Letter from Damascus said it both last[ed] for some time and one of us said that it lasted long enough to read the Surat of the Koran entitled 'The Cavern'. Abu Shama says that for an hour the ground was like the sea and the initial violence of the earthquake abated in the time it takes to read the Sura of The Cave (Surat Al-Kahf - ~33.25 minutes) but the shocks continued for days
Spoke of earthquakes (plural) but did not discuss duration various locations Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Chronicle of Ernoul, History of Heraclius This may refer to continuing shocks.
Notes: Ibn al-Dawadari says the earthquake spread over the world in a single hour. As-Suyuti, writing very late and dependent on earlier sources, wrote that the first shock is said to have lasted but a short time, but after that it continued for several days.

All timings
Source Reporting from Description
Geoffrey of Donjon Acre? one earthquake a little before first light 20 May
Philipe du Plessis County of Tripoli earthquakes (plural). 1st earthquake struck at dawn on 20 May. Timing of later shocks unspecified.
al-Baghdadi Cairo long duration shock early in the morning on 20 May which consisted of three violent shocks. Further short duration weak shocks around midday.
al-Baghdadi - Letter from Hemat Hemat long duration shock in the early morning on 20 May. time of second shock not specified - it was shorter but stronger. Also reports two more earthquakes on 21 May at ~12 pm (felt by all including those sleeping) and ~ 3pm.
al-Baghdadi - Letter from Damascus Damascus long duration shock at the break of dawn on 20 May. Shocks felt in the daytime and nighttime on the following four days
Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi Damascus long duration shock at dawn/daybreak on 20 May followed by aftershocks which, depending on the translation, lasted until the next morning or included a weak shock the next morning
Abu Shama Damascus time not specified . described as a long duration shock and notes that the ground was like the sea for an hour. says that shocks continued for days.
Chronicle of Ernoul ? time not specified - mentions earthquakes (plural)
History of Heraclius possibly in the West time not specified - mentions earthquakes (plural)

Seismic Effects

´

Partial List of Seismic Effects
Effect Sources Notes
unlocated tsunami al-Baghdadi
tsunami in Cyprus Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Dawadari, Ibn Munkala location in text by Ibn al-Dawadari suggests the tsunami struck Cyprus
landslide in the Lebanon Mountains al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Dawadari
walls of Tyre destroyed or damaged Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Ibn al-Athir, Chronicle of Ernoul, History of Heraclius, Abu'l-Fida
Nablus destroyed al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Dawadari Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi just says that it reached Nablus
Damage to the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Dawadari

Locations

All Locations

Locations
Location Sources Notes
Egypt al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi
Upper Egypt Abu Shama, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti, al-Baghdadi By mentioning Qus, al-Baghdadi mentions Upper Egypt
Qus al-Baghdadi
Baniyan in Egypt Abu Shama
Damietta al-Baghdadi
Alexandria al-Baghdadi
Syria al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala, as-Suyuti
Fortress at Hamah (Abu Qubyas) al-Baghdadi
Hamah al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari al-Baghdadi calls Hama Hemat.
Homs Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Barin al-Baghdadi
Baalbek al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Mountains outside Baalbek or, less likely, Mt Lebanon al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Damascus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Aleppo Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Paneas al-Baghdadi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Hunayn al-Dawadari
Safet al-Baghdadi
Tebnin al-Baghdadi
Nablus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Beth Rhomaye Bar Hebraeus
Beit Jan1 al-Baghdadi
Hauran al-Baghdadi
Village near Busra Ibn al-Athir
Syrian Coast al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti
Acre Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Chronicle of Ernoul, History of Heraclius, Bar Hebreus, al-Dawadari, Annales de Terre Sainte
Tyre Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Chronicle of Ernoul, Marsilio Zorzi, History of Heraclius, Bar Hebraeus, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Annales de Terre Sainte
Beirut Chronicle of Ernoul
Gibelet (Byblos) Annales de Terre Sainte
Tripolis Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Bar Hebraeus, Annales de Terre Sainte
Arches [`Arqa] Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Annales de Terre Sainte Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi specifies 'Araqa
Krak [Hisn al-'Akrad] Geoffrey of Donjon, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Margat [Marqab] Geoffrey of Donjon
Arsum [Arima]1 Philipe du Plessis
Chastel Blanc (Burj Safitha) and/or Safith Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, al-Baghdadi
Irka al-Baghdadi
Antioch Geoffrey of Donjon Geoffrey of Donjon said Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent.
Cyprus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala
Jazira Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, as-Suyuti
Iraq Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala, as-Suyuti Ibn al-Athir, probably writing from Mosul, says slight damage and no homes destroyed
Mosul Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil
Armenia Geoffrey of Donjon, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti Geoffrey of Donjon said Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent. as-Suyuti said it was felt
Azerbijan Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti as-Suyuti said it was felt
Byzantium Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala, as-Suyuti
Akhlat Geoffrey of Donjon, al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Dawadari probably just felt. Ambraseys (2009) lists an earthquake in Ahlat in 1208 CE based on reports by Ibn al-Athir and Abu Shama.
Sicily Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Wardi
Ceuta, Morocco Ibn Wasil
Ajam al-Dawadari
Footnotes - Location discussion

1 Ambraseys and Melville (1988:187) note

Two possibilities present themselves for the identification of Bait Jann out of the three noted by de Sacy in 'Abd al-Latif [aka al-Baghdadi], p. 446, both being known to the Crusaders (see Dussaud, 1927, pp. 7, 391). The first is 10 km west of Safad and the second on the road between Damascus and Baniyas, see Ibn Jubair, p. 300, who described it as situated in between the mountains. The context in which Bait Jann is mentioned by 'Abd al-Latif [aka al-Baghdadi] allows either alternative to be acceptable, but the second is preferred here because the location was better known as marking the boundary between Muslims and Franks before the conquests of Saladin (cf. Deschamps, 1939, p. 146).
2 Mayer (1972:304 n.1) notes
There is no known Crusader castle which was called Arsum in either Arabic or Latin. One might suggest that arsum is a copyist's mistake for mediaeval Arsur, Arabic Arsuf, south of Cesarea, but this explanation would not be very illuminating, for this part of Philip's letter is evidently concerned with places in the county of Tripole much farther north.

Locations mentioned as unaffected or damage was light

Locations mentioned as unaffected or damage was light
Location Sources Notes
Tortosa Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre
Antioch Geoffrey of Donjon Geoffrey of Donjon says that Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent
Armenia Geoffrey of Donjon Geoffrey of Donjon says that Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent
Jerusalem al-Baghdadi (Letter from Damascus) al-Baghdadi (Letter from Damascus) says It is said that Jerusalem ... has suffered nothing.
Iraq Ibn al-Athir Ibn al-Athir (probably contemporaneously reporting from Mosul) says in Iraq, the damage was slight - no houses were destroyed
The East Bar Hebraeus Bar Hebraeus says it was not violent in the East

Intensity Table of Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)
Intensity Table of Ambraseys and Mellville (1988)

Letter written by Geoffrey of Donjon

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Geoffroy de Donjon (died 1202 in Acre), also known as or Geoffroy de Duisson, was the 11th Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller serving from 1193 through his death in 1202 (wikipedia and Theresa M. Vann in Murray, 2006:604 ). A letter written by him to King Sancho VII of Navarre describes and dates the earthquake. Mayer (1972:300) notes that the letter is not dated but is dateable from internal evidence because it reports the great earthquake which shook the East on May 20, 1202, and expressly mentions this date. Mayer (1972:300-301) assumes that it took some time to assemble reliable news from various parts of the country and safely dates its composition to June 1202 CE.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

[1202 June]

[Geoffrey [of Donjon], master of the Knights Hospitallers, reports to King S[ancho VII] of Navarra on an earthquake which struck the Holy Land on the 20th of May and on other misfortunes.]

To the most excellent Lord, and most outstanding benefactor, Sancho, by grace of God the glorious king of Navarre: from Brother Geoffrey, humble master of the house of the Jerusalem Hospital, with all his brethren, greetings and the fellowship of devoted prayer. As Your Majesty's ears are no strangers to the sorrows and miseries of the kingdom of the Promised Land, we are reluctantly obliged to relate to Your Highness the lamentable afflictions, which have recently occurred in that place.

While everything was silent, and night was running her course, on the 20th day of May, which is named after the moon [i.e. Monday], at the hour when sleep caresses tired eyes, a little before first light, the wrath of God engulfed us, and there was a great earthquake. Of the cities and fortresses of the East, as well pagan as Christian, some were overthrown, some destroyed, and others, on account of the damage caused by the shocks, were threatened with ruin. The city of Acre, a most convenient port, suffered an unspeakably dreadful and death-dealing blow: some of the towers, the ornate royal palace and walls were ruined, and there was death among rich and poor. O lamentable occurrence! Tyre, a city of strength and a refuge of Christians, which always freed the oppressed from the hands of evil-doers, suffered so great an overthrow of its walls, towers, churches and houses that no man living now could expect to see it restored in his lifetime. What should we write about the death of the men of that city, when death took them without number in the ruins of their homes? This sorrow, this death, lamentable before [all] other things, and this unfortunate event adds shudders [of terror] to our fear. The most splendid city of Tripolis, although suffering considerable harm to its walls and houses, and death to its citizens, underwent less of an upheaval [than Tyre]. The towers, walls, houses and fortifications of Arches [`Arqa] were razed; their people were killed, and the localities are deserted: one would think that they had never been inhabited. Our fortresses of Krak [Hisn al-'Akrad] and Margat [Marqab] suffered considerable damage, but in spite of the heavy shaking they received from the divine wrath, could still hold out against enemy attacks. Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent.

The pagan cities and peoples bewailed the fact that they had received incurable wounds from this unforeseen fate. Especially when our hearts were afflicted with so many sorrows, food was extremely expensive, and a plague fatal to animals added further misery to all the remaining Christians.

We also felt obliged to bring to Your Gracious Lordship's ears that while the harvest was green, showing that an abundance of crops was coming to us once more, a cloud overshadowed the sprouting ears [of wheat] on the Feast of St Gregory, so that when the crops were harvested they were found to be very blighted: we have a surfeit of paupers and our land is afflicted with an influx of beggars. Therefore, Lord of Virtues, most excellent King, may the Land of the Lord's Nativity, sunk in sorrow and misery, and almost annihilated by calamities, be revived by your generosity, and by your counsel be comforted in her desolation.' (Geoffrey of Donjon, in Mayer 1972, 306-308).

Latin from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Dum mediumb silentium tenerent omnia et nox in suo cursu iter perageret1, vicesimo die stantis maii, cui nomen lune est impositum, in hora, qua defessis sopor blanditur oculis, paulum ante diluculum ira dei in nos est asperata, `terremotus factus est magnus'2. Civitatum et castrorum Orientis tam paganismi quam christianitatis pars est eversa, pars destructs, pars propter nimie excussionis lesionem adhuc minatur riunam. Civitas Aconensis, que portus est oportunitatis, in parte turrium, regalis etiam palatii et murorum, quibus fuit palliata, in ruina domorum innumerabili, in morte divitum et pauperum ineffabili miram et exitialem passa est lesionem. 0 dolenda res! Tirus, `urbsc fortitudinis,3 refugium christianitatis, que semper oppressos 'de manu inimicorum liberavit,4 in muris et turribus, ecclesiis et domibus tantam passa est eversionem, ut nullus hominum iam vivens eius possit expectare vivendo restauracionem. Quid de morte hominum eiusdem civitatis scriberemus, cum in ruina domorum mors eos sine numero apprehendisset. Hic dolor, hoc exitium pre ceteris gemebundum et hic eventus infortunatus timori nostro tremorem sociarunt. Tripolitana civitas splendidissima in muris et domibus, in morte populi graviter corrupta, minorem ceteris passa est lesionem. Archay turres, muri, domus et menia funditus eversa, populi interempti loca deserta testantur numquam se habuisse habitatorem. Castra nostra Cratum et Margatum plurima gravata insultus tamen hostium. adhuc .parvipendunt, si sine maiore conserventur divinitus quassacione. Antiochia et partes Armenie terremotu concusse non multam, non lamentabilem in tantis lugendis passe sunt corrupcionem. Paganismi civitates et populi inmemorate sortis dispendio insanabilia se recepisse vulnera conqueruntur. Presertim cum in plerisque doloribus corda nostra sint afflicta, caritas inmensa victualium, letalis pestis animalium residue christianitati universaliter dolor est specialis. Sane tamen caritatis dominacionis vestre auribus duximus disserendam, dum messis nostra fuisset in herba, frugum ubertatem nobis se monstrabat reddituram. Set postmodum spiels pullulantibus in festo beati Georgii supervenit nebula, qua spes nostra in metendis segetibus pro earum corrupcione penitus fuit exinanita, unde pauperum nimietas, mendicorum affluentia terram premit desolatam. Igitur elomine virtutum', rex excellentissime, Terra Dominice Nativitatis sedens in dolore et miseriis, iam fere kalamitatibus extincta, vestra respiret dementia, vestro consilio consoletur desolata.
Footnotes

a In this place the parchment is torn and the 1st half of the word is impossible to read, while the 2nd half reads clearly dium; medium is a conjecture mainly based on the fact that this word occurs (though in a different place) in the Bible quotation used in this phrase (cf. note 1). As the quotation was evidently quoted by heart, the shift is easily explained.

b ubrs MS.

1 Sap. 16:14: Cum enim quietum silentum contineret omnia et nox in suo cursu medium iter haberet.

2 Matt. 28:2; Act. 16:26; Apoc. 26:18

3 Prov. 10:15; Is. 26:1.

4 2. Reg. 19:9.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
shortly before dawn on Monday 20 May 1202 CE shortly before dawn on Monday 20 May 1202 CE none 20 May 1202 CE fell on a Monday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

Letter written by Philipe du Plessis

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Phillipe de Plessis (1165 CE-1209 CE) was the 13th Grand Master of the Knights Templar (wikipedia). A letter written by him to Arnold I, the abbot of Citeaux, describes and dates the earthquake.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009) and Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

[1202 June]

[Phillip du Plessis, master of the Knights Templar, reports to the abbot of Citeaux [Arnold I] on the calamities which befell the Holy Land, especially the earthquake which struck on the 20th of May.]

To his venerable father and beloved friend, by the grace of God, the abbot general of the Order of Cistercians: Philip de Plessis, humble master of the Knights Templar, sends greeting trusting more in the Lord than in man, Amen. Believing in you heartfelt concern for the good and well-being of the Eastern Lands, it behoves me to relate to you the terrible misfortunes, unheard-of calamities, unspeakable plagues and punishment as of God, which has come upon us in punishment for our sins. [First two disasters: Christian population of County of Tripoli threatened, farmers take refuge in castles and cities; "fog" comes down and ruins three quarters of crops.]

To the venerable father and dearest friend by the grace of God abbot of Citeaux and of the whole Order [...]. The third scourge proved more catastrophic and terrible than the others; for on the twentieth day of May, at dawn, a terrifying voice was heard from heaven and dreadful rumblings rose from the earth, and there were earthquakes such as had not been seen since the creation of the world; and they razed most of the walls and houses at Acre to the ground, crushing a great many people to death in the ruins. But divine mercy willed that our houses should remain undamaged. At the city of Tyre, all but three of its towers were destroyed, and all the city walls except for the outer barbicans, and all the houses with their inhabitants, except for a few survivors. Most of the city of Tripoli was destroyed, along with a large proportion of the townspeople. The castle of Archis has been reduced to ruins, including all its houses, walls and towers, and the castle of Arsum [Arima] has been razed to the ground. At Chastel Blanc, 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 state. Divine mercy spared the town of Tortosa and its castle, the walls, the inhabitants, and everything else. The fourth scourge with which we are afflicted is that, in addition to the disasters we have mentioned, the corruption of the air has caused such high mortality that almost a third of those who survived the earthquake have died, and those who were able to rise from their beds after such prolonged enfeeblement were barely alive. And since we are weighed down by all these disasters and calamities, we need your prayers to overcome them, and we firmly trust in God that we shall obtain them.

Latin from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

[To bring out clearly how closely this letter is related to the reports by Robert d'Auxerre [MGH. SS. 26, 261], words or parts of words taken into Robert's account have been italicized.]

Venerabili patri et amico karissimo dei gratia Cisterciensi abbati totique conventui ordinis ... Tertia vero ceteris flebilior et horribilior talisd fuit, quod vicesima die maii summo diluculo audita est vox terribilis de caelo,1 mugitus horribilis de terra, et terremotus, quales non fuerunt ab initio mundi, facti sunt2, ita quod partem maximam Accaron in muris et domibus ad terram prostraverunt et gentem innumerabilem occupatam occiderunt. Domus autem nostras divina misericordia nobis integras resevavit. Civitatis vero Tyri omnes turris exceptis tribus et muri excepta exteriora barbacana et omnes domus cum plebe sua paucis reservatis in terram corruerunt. Civitatis vero Trypolis maxima pars cecidit et magnam plebem occupavit. Castrum vero Archados cum omnibus domibus suis et muris et turribus in terram prostratum est castrum Arsum funditus corruit. Castri autem Albi maxima pars murorum cecidit, turris autem maior, qua nullam credimus fortuis vel firmius aedificatam, in hoc rimis et quassaturis debilitata est, quod melius nobis esset, si funditus corrueret, quam ita stans permaneret. Civitatem vero Tortose et castrum cum turribus et muris et plebe et omnibus divina misericordia reservavit. Quarta autem pestilentia fuit, quod tanta mortalitas ex corruptione aeris pestes priores secuta est, quod fere tertia pars eorum, qui de terremotu evaserunt, defuncta est et vix invenitur vivus, qui longi languoris lectum evadere potuisset. Et quum tantis miseriis et calamitatibus opprimamur, necesse est nobis, ut vestris orationibus, de quibus plurimum in domino confidimus, de miseriis predictis resurgamus.
Footnotes

d interlinear addition MS.

1 Cf. Apoc. 11:15 : factae sunt voces magnae in caelo.

1 Cf. Apoc. 16:18 : Et factae sunt fulgura et voces et tonitrua et terraemotus factus est magnus qualis numquam fuit, ex quo homines fuerent super terram.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
dawn Monday 20 May 1202 CE dawn Monday 20 May 1202 CE none 20 May 1202 CE fell on a Monday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Seismic Effects Locations
Footnotes

* Mayer (1972:304 n.1) notes

There is no known Crusader castle which was called Arsum in either Arabic or Latin. One might suggest that arsum is a copyist's mistake for mediaeval Arsur, Arabic Arsuf, south of Cesarea, but this explanation would not be very illuminating, for this part of Philip's letter is evidently concerned with places in the county of Tripole much farther north.

Online Versions and Further Reading

Chronicon by Robert of Auxerre

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Robert of Auxerre, who was possibly the same personage as Robert Abolant (or Abolans), is described by Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) as a Monk who lived in the monastery of St.Marien at Auxerre (France) from 1204 onwards. He wrote a Chronicon covering the period from the creation to 1211, which was continued by other hands up to 1228 (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). Robert of Auxerre was born in 1156 CE and died in 1212 CE.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

A.D. 1202

... The region of Outremer was afflicted by a great disaster: on 20th May, around daybreak, a terrible sound was heard in the sky and an awful rumble from the earth, and there were earthquakes so violent that the most part of the city of Acre, with its ramparts, houses and even the royal palace, was razed to the ground, and countless persons were wiped out. Similarly the city of Tyre, the most [strongly] fortified in those parts, was almost completely overturned, while all of its towers bar three collapsed, and the ramparts, as high as they were solid, were either badly damaged or almost thrown to the ground, except for some forewalls which they call barbicans; all the houses and the buildings, with a few exceptions, were shaken. Likewise in the region of Tripolis the castle of Arqa, a great fortress, was razed to the ground with its towers, ramparts, houses and people. A great part of the city of Tripolis fell too, and many people were killed. Similarly most of the ramparts and towers of Chastel-Blanc [Safitha] were thrown to the ground. There were few coastal cities which did not suffer some damage: the city of Antaradus, which is also called Tortosa, escaped this disaster unharmed and intact. (Rob. Aux. 264 - should be 260).

Latin from Holder-Egger (1882)

Annus Domini 1202

... Mense Maio 20. die mensis, tribus diebus ante ascensionem dominicam, circa Mai 20. diei crepusculum audita est vox terribilis de caelo et mugitus horribilis de terra, et terremotus facti sunt tarn horrendi, tam graves, ut Acconensis urbis partem maximam in muris et in domibus ipsumque regis palatium ad terram deiecerint et populum innumerabilem occupatum prostraverint4. Porro Tyrus civitas, et antiquitate originis et fortunae varietate insignis; qua etiam in partibus illis nulla tucior, nulla munitior, flebili stupendaque ruina fere funditus est subversa. Nam ornnes turres, exceptis tribus corruerunta murique tam alti quam solidi preter antemuralia quedam que barbacanas vocant vel cassaturis5 debili-tati vel penitus sunt deiecti. Universe vero domus et edificia, paucis reservatis, repente concussa plebem innumerabilem sexus promiscui miserabiliter oppresserunt. Nusquam sic evidens fuit, nusquam sic nocuit tam in hominibus quam in edificiis illa repentina sub-versio. At vero in finibus Tripolitanis Archas oppidum, tocius regionis inexpugnabile munimenturn, cum turribus et muris domibusque ac viris ad solum usque diruptumf est. Tripolis quoque urbis maxima pars cecidit et plebem plurimam occupavit. Sed et Castri-albi maxima pars murorum et turriuni in terram prostrata est. Paucae urbes in maritima, quae non huius cladis aliquam senserint lesionem. Antaradosg civitas, quae et Tortosa6 dicitur, incolumis et indempnis evasit, in qua primam basilicam sanctae Dei genitricis
Footnotes

a eadem manu superscr. 1.

g Antedaros alia manu corr. Antarados 1.

4 Cf. Wilken, 'Gesch. der Kreuzzuge VI, p.6 sqq.

5 i.e. quassaturis.

6 Nunc Tartus.

Latin from Holder-Egger (1882) - embedded

  • not bookmarkable
  • to see earthquake report, reduce the magnification with the negative zoom icon and navigate to page 261 and find text about two thirds down the page starting with Mense Maio 20. die mensis
  • from Holder-Egger (1882:260-261)
  • from www.dmgh.de


Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
around daybreak on 20 May 1202 CE around daybreak 20 May 1202 CE (year assumed) none
Seismic Effects Locations Sources
Sources according to Mayer (1972)

Mayer (1972:308-310) demonstrated strong similarities between the account of the earthquake in Robert's Chronicon to the letter by Phillipe de Plessis which suggests that Robert of Auxerre used the letter by Phillipe de Plessis as a source.

Online Versions and Further Reading

Observations and Reflections on Things Seen and Events Witnessed in the Land of Egypt by 'Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi

Kitab al-ifada by عبداللطيف البغدادي

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baghdādī عبداللطيف البغدادي
Ibn al-Labbad
Muwaffaq al-Dīn Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Laṭīf ibn Yūsuf al-Baghdādī موفق الدين محمد عبد اللطيف بن يوسف البغدادي
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi, also known as Ibn al-Labbad, was born in Baghdad in 1161 or 1162 CE and died there in 1231 CE (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). al-Baghdadi was a polymath and he wrote a large corpus of at least 173 books on a variety of subjects including but not limited to religious studies, linguistics, law, medicine, alchemy, flora and fauna, literary criticism, philosophy, education, mathematics, science, and history (El Daly, 2005). Unfortunately only some of these have survived. In between his birth and death in Baghdad, he visited and studied at a variety of places including Mosul, Aleppo, Jerusalem, Cairo, Damascus, Turkey, and Afghanistan (El Daly, 2005). His historical work Observations and Reflections on Things Seen and Events Witnessed in the Land of Egypt (‘Al-Ifadah wa 'Al-I'tibar fi Al‘Umour Al-Mushahada wa Al-Hawadith Al-Mu'ayanah bi-Ard Misr’ or Kitab al-ifada for short) is about Egypt, and became known in Europe thanks to Latin, German, French, and now English translations (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). An autograph copy of Kitab al-ifada exists in the Bodeleian Library in Oxford (El Daly, 2005). This book contains an extensive and detailed description of the May 1202 CE earthquake.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

On Monday 26th Shaban, which was 25th Pashons, early in the morning, a violent earthquake was felt which caused terror among men. Seized with terror, everyone leapt down from his bed and cried out to the all-powerful God. The shaking lasted for a long time: the shocks were like the movement of a sieve, or like that of a bird lowering and lifting its wings. In all there were three violent shocks, which shook buildings, caused doors to tremble and roof-joists to crack: [these shocks] threatened to ruin buildings in poor repair or on an elevated or very high site. There were further shocks around midday of the same day; but only a small number of people felt them, because they were weak and did not last long. On that night there was extreme cold, which obliged one to cover up more than usual. This was followed in the day by extreme heat, and a violent, pestilential wind which stopped people's breathing and suffocated them. It is rare for Egypt to suffer an earthquake as violent as that.

Then we received news, which had passed from one to another, that the earthquake was felt at the same time in far countries and in very distant cities. I think that it is most certain that at the same time a great part of the earth felt the shock, from Qus as far as Damietta, Alexandria, the sea coast of Syria, and the whole of Syria in its entire length and breadth. Many settlements disappeared totally without leaving the slightest trace, and an innumerable multitude of men perished. I know of not a single city in Syria which suffered less in this earthquake than Jerusalem: this city sustained only very slight damage. The ravages caused by this event were far greater in the regions inhabited by the Franks, than in the Muslim territories.

We have heard it said that the earthquake was felt as far as Akhlat and in the neighbouring districts, as well as on the island of Cyprus. The rising of the sea and agitation of the waves was a most terrible sight to behold, something quite unrecognisable: the waters parted in diverse places, and divided up into masses like mountains; boats found themselves on dry land, and a great quantity of fish was thrown on to the shore. We also received letters from Syria, Damascus and Hamat, which contain details of this earthquake. I personally received two, which I will report in exactly the same way as that in which they were written.
Copy of the letter from Hamat

On Monday 26th Shaban, in the early morning, it was as if the earth had moved and the mountains were being agitated in different ways. Everyone imagined that this was the earthquake which should precede the Last Judgment. The earthquake was felt twice on that day: the first time it lasted about an hour; the second shock was not so long, but stronger. Many fortresses were damaged by it, among which was the fortress of Hamah, in spite of the solidity of its construction; that of Barin, even though it was tightly furbished and light, was also damaged, as well as the fortress of Baalbek, notwithstanding its strength and firmily. As yet we have received no news to give from the cities and fortresses far from here.

On Tuesday 27th of the same month, around the time of midday prayer, there was another earthquake which was felt by all men, whether awake or asleep; we suffered another shock on the same day at the time of afternoon prayer. From the news which we then received from Damascus it was learnt that the earthquake destroyed the eastern minaret of the great mosque, the largest part of the building, called the Kallaseh, and the entire hospital, together with many houses which fell on their inhabitants, killing them.
Copy of the letter from Damascus

"I have the honour to write to you-this letter, to inform you of the earthquake which took place during the night of Monday 26th Shaban, at the break of dawn, and which lasted for quite some time. One of us said that it lasted long enough to read the surat of the Koran entitled 'The Cavern'. One of the oldest men of Damascus attests that he had never felt anything equal to it. Among other damage caused by it in the city, sixteen crenellations of the great mosque and one of the minarets fell; another was split, as well as the leaden dome. The building called the Kallaseh was swallowed up, as the earth was open, and two men died; a man also died at the gate called the Gate of Jirun. There were several cracks in diverse parts of the mosque, and a great number of the city's houses fell.

The following details were reported to us regarding the countries occupied by the Muslims. Paneas and Safet were partly overthrown; in the latter town only the son of the governor survived. Tebnin suffered the same fate. In Nablus not a wall remains upright, except in the Street of the Samaritans. It is said that Jerusalem, thanks be to God,, has suffered nothing. As for Beit Jan, not even the foundations of the walls remain, everything having been swallowed up in the ground. Most of the cities in the province of Hauran have been destroyed, and of none of them can it be said, 'Here was a certain town'. It is said that the greater part of Acre has been overthrown, as well as a third of the city of Tyre, Irka and Safith have been swallowed up. On Mt Lebanon, there is a defile between the two mountains where people go to pick green rhubarb: we are told that the two mountains came together and swallowed up the men who were there, numbering almost 200. In all, many things are said about this earthquake. On the four days following shocks continued to be felt day and night.
(`Abd al-Latif, r.e. 262/414).

English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

At dawn on Monday 26 Shdban, which corresponds to 25 bashansh [Pachons in the Coptic calendar], there was a tremendous earthquake; people leapt from their beds in panic, screaming in terror and calling on God to help them. The earthquake lasted for a long time: its movement was like that of a sieve or the beating of a bird's wings. There were three violent shocks, which caused buildings and doors to shake, while ceilings, floors and anything unstable or in an elevated position collapsed. The shocks started again at midday, but few people were aware of them because they were weak and brief. That night, the cold was so intense that it was necessary to cover oneself, but the next day the hot samun wind blew so much that the air became unbreathable. Rarely had there been such strong earthquakes in Egypt. Later on, news spread that the same earthquake had struck distant regions at the same time as here. I learned that the earth had shaken at Qus, Damietta and Alexandria. Many places were destroyed so completely that no trace of them was left, and there were many victims I heard of one town in as strong a position as Jerusalem, and yet it suffered unexpected damage. However, the damage suffered by the Franks in the earthquake was greater than that in Muslim lands. We learned that the earthquake reached as far as the town of Akhlat and its province on the one hand and the island of Cyprus on the other. The sea became extremely wild, causing serious damage to lighthouses. In certain places, the waters divided and waves rose up like mountains, hurling boats on to the land, and throwing fish on to the shore. Then messages came from Syria about the earthquake. Set out below are two letters, from Damascus and Hamat. Letter from Hamat: `On Monday 26 Shdban the earth began to shake as though it were beginning to walk; the mountains swayed, and everyone thought the day of Judgement had come. There were two shocks: the first lasted for about an hour, whereas the second was briefer but stronger. Some fortresses felt the effects of the earthquake, especially the fortress of Hamat, in spite of the good quality of its construction, and then that of Ba`rin, in spite of its solid architecture, and that of Balabak [Baalbek], in spite of its solidity. We have not heard any details of more distant regions and fortresses. On Tuesday 27, at the time of midday prayer, there was a violent earthquake which was felt by everybody, whether they were awake or asleep, and whether they were standing or sitting down. On the same day, there was [another shock] at the time of afternoon prayer. News came from Damascus that the earthquake had destroyed the eastern minaret of the [Umayyad] mosque, a large part of the Kallasa and the whole hospital [of Nur al-Din]; many houses collapsed on top of their inhabitants, killing large numbers of them.
Letter from Damascus

Your servant reports on the earthquake which occurred on Monday 26 Shdban at dawn, and lasted for a long time. Some witnesses say it lasted as long as it takes to read the sura of The Cave; some other elderly people of Damascus maintain that they have never seen anything like it in their lives. The damage includes the collapse of sixteen merlons and a minaret (the other was only damaged) at the [Umayyad] mosque, and of the lead dome of the mausoleum of Nasr. The Kallasa collapsed, killing two men. There was another victim at Bab Jayrun. Furthermore, the [Umayyad] mosque was damaged in many places, and a large number of houses have collapsed everywhere. In Muslim regions, they say that Baniyas has partly collapsed, and also Safad, where the only survivor is the son of the governor. There has been destruction at Tibnin, and at Nabulus, where not a single wall has remained standing, except in the Samra district. According to reports, Jerusalem has been left undamaged, thanks be to God. At Bayt Jinn, foundations and walls are left, although the latter have collapsed in many places. Similar collapses have occurred in the region of Hawran, to the extent that it is impossible to make out the old form of its villages. They also say that most of Acre has collapsed, and that a third of Tyre has been destroyed. Araqa and Safita are also in ruins. On the mountains of Lebanon, a group of people had gone out to collect wild fruit and two mountains closed over them, killing about two hundred.

Chronology

al-Baghdadi provided dates for the earthquake in the Coptic and Islamic calendars. The day of the week and date in the Islamic calendar disagrees by a day as is also the case in his two letters from Hemat and Damascus suggesting that the Islamic calendar used at the time differed from the modern one. Since the date and day of the week agree in the Coptic calendar and this date agrees with the 20 May date provided by some of the independent western sources, the correct date for the main initial shock is around daybreak on 20 May 1202 CE.
Main Account (from Egypt)
Date Reference Corrections Notes
early in the morning Tuesday 21 May 1202 CE or Monday 20 May 1202 CE early in the morning Monday 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 (year assumed) none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 fell on a Tuesday (calculated using CHRONOS)
early in the morning Monday 20 May 1202 CE early in the morning Monday 25 Pashons A.Mytr. 918 none
  • calculated using CHRONOS
  • 25 Pashons A.Mytr. 918 in the Coptic Calendar fell on a Monday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Main Account - Timing of Shocks experienced in Egypt
Shock number Time Description
1st early in the morning Main shock
2nd and later shocks midday Aftershock - There were further shocks around midday of the same day; but only a small number of people felt them, because they were weak and did not last long
Letter from Hamat
Date Reference Corrections Notes
in the early morning Tuesday 21 May 1202 CE or Monday 20 May 1202 CE Main Quake 1st shock - in the early morning Monday 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 (year assumed) none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 fell on a Tuesday (calculated using CHRONOS)
during the daytime Tuesday 21 May 1202 CE or Monday 20 May 1202 CE Main Quake 2nd shock - occurred during the daytime on Monday 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 (year assumed) none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 fell on a Tuesday (calculated using CHRONOS)
around the time of midday prayer (~12 pm) Wednesday 22 May 1202 CE or Tuesday 21 May 1202 CE Another earthquake 1st shock - around the time of midday prayer (~12 pm) on Tuesday 27 Sha'ban A.H. 598 (year assumed) none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • 27 Sha'ban A.H. 598 fell on a Wednesday (calculated using CHRONOS)
at the time of afternoon prayer (~3 pm) Wednesday 22 May 1202 CE or Tuesday 21 May 1202 CE Another earthquake 2nd shock - at the time of afternoon prayer (~3 pm) on Tuesday 27 Sha'ban A.H. 598 (year assumed) none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • 27 Sha'ban A.H. 598 fell on a Wednesday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Letter from Damascus
Date Reference Corrections Notes
at the break of dawn on Tuesday 21 May 1202 CE or Monday 20 May 1202 CE at the break of dawn on Monday 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 (year assumed) none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 fell on a Tuesday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Seismic Effects

Main account (from Egypt) Letter from Hemat Letter from Damascus Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

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

Ibn al-Athir appears to have written about the same earthquake twice giving it two different dates - i.e., creating a duplicate.
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In the month of Shdban in that year [597 H. = 7 May - 4 June 1201], the earth shook at Mawsil, everywhere in Mesopotamia, in Syria, in Egypt and elsewhere. In Syria, the effects were dreadful: many houses were destroyed at Damascus, Hims and Hamat, and a village near Busra was swallowed up by the earth. There was also massive damage along the Syrian coast: the citadels of Tripoli, Sur, Acre and Nabulus were destroyed. The earthquake also reached Byzantine territory. In Iraq, the damage was slight.

...

In that year [600] a terrible earthquake struck a large part of the territories of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Byzantium. It reached Sicily, Cyprus, Mawsil and Iraq. The walls of the city of Tyre were destroyed, and the earthquake caused damage throughout Syria.

English from Ambraseys (2009)

In the month of Sha'aban of that year the earth shook in the country of al-Jazirah, and of Sham, Egypt, and other regions too. The catastrophe was terrible, with the destruction reaching as far as Damascus, Hims, Hamat and the village; the village of Busra also collapsed. The Syrian littoral was the worst affected, with destruction in Tripoli, Tyre, Acre, Nablus and other cities. The earthquake went as far as the country of Rum [i.e. the Byzantine borders]; the area least damaged was Iraq, where no houses were destroyed. (Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil 12/110).

...

(a.H. 600/1203) In that year there was an earthquake in most countries: Egypt, Sham, Jazirah, the land of Rum [Byzantine Empire], Sicily and Cyprus. It reached Mosul and Iraq, and other countries as well. Among the [places] which were ravaged, the walls of Tyre and most of Sham were very [badly] affected. The earthquake spread as far as Sebta, in the country of Maghreb, with the same effects.' (Ibn al-Athir, Kamil xii/198; Ibn al-Wardi; Tatimmat, 2/122).

Original Document

  • not bookmarked


Chronology

Ibn al-Athir provided two date ranges for the earthquake both of which are incorrect.
1st passage
Date Reference Corrections Notes
7 May 1201 CE to 4 June 1201 CE Sha'ban A.H. 597 none calculated using CHRONOS
2nd passage
Date Reference Corrections Notes
10 Sept. 1203 CE to 28 Aug. 1204 CE A.H. 600 none calculated using CHRONOS
Seismic Effects

1st passage 2nd passage Locations

1st passage 2nd passage Online Versions and Further Reading

Abu 'l-Fada'il of Hamah

by Abu 'l-Fada of Hamah

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Abu 'l-Fada
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

I am unable to locate biographical information on Abu 'l-Fada'il of Hamah.

Excerpts
Characterization by Ambraseys and Melville (1988)

Abu 'l-Fada'il of Hamah (ca. 1233) has a brief notice of the shock under 597 H. It is of interest that he does not refer to the shock in Hamah, but mentions that it destroyed most of the towns belonging to the "Franks".

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
12 Oct. 1200 - 30 Sept. 1201 CE A.H. 597 none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • Either the year is wrong or there was a foreshock
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Abu 'l-Fada'il, Tarikh Mansuri, face. ed. P. A. Gryaznevitch, Moscow, 1960.

Possible links to research

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
1st passage - English from Ambraseys (2009)

(a.H. 597) ... 30,000 victims were buried under the ruins and Acre was destroyed together with Tyre and all the coastal citadels. The earthquake spread as far as Damascus and caused the exterior minaret of the mosque to fall, as well as the greater part of al-Kalasa, and the Baymaristan of Nureddin. Most of the houses in Damascus were destroyed, with few exceptions. People fled to the square, sixteen of the crenellations fell from the mosque, and the dome of Nasr split in two before men's eyes. Walkers had left Baalbek to pick currants in the mountains of Lebanon, and the two mountains closed over them and they were wiped out. The citadel of Baalbek was destroyed in spite of its careful construction.

The earthquake also spread towards Homs, Hamah and Aleppo, and all the capitals. It tore through the sea towards Cyprus and there were some very high waves, [as a result of which] boats were driven on to the shore and shipwrecked. The earthquake continued in the direction of Akhlat and Armenia, Azerbaijan and al-Jazirah. The number of victims in that year reached 1,100,000 men and it lasted for the time taken to read the Surat al-Kahf, then there was a succession of further shocks.' (Sibt ibn al-Jauzi, Mir'at 8/331).

2nd passage - English from Ambraseys (2009)

(a.H. 598) In the month of Sha'aban a prodigious earthquake took place and Homs was destroyed with its citadel, and the watchtower which also dominates Hisn al-Akrad. The earthquake spread as far as Cyprus, Nablus and the neighbouring regions.

This earthquake affected three of the coastal cities, viz. Tyre, Tripolis and `Araqa, and it caused considerable destruction in the Muslim territories in the north. It was felt as far as Damascus, where it shook the tops of the minarets of the mosque, and several crenellations of the north wall.

A maghrebin was killed at Kalasa and also a Mamluk Turk, [the latter] a slave of an official who lived in the Street of the Samaritans: this occurred at daybreak on Monday 26th Sha'aban (20th Ab in the Syrian calendar). The earthquake lasted until the following morning. (Sibt ibn al-Jauzi, Mir'at 8/ 331).

...

(a.H. 599/20 September 1202] At the beginning of Muharram, on the night of Saturday, shooting stars appeared in the sky, from the east to the west: they looked like locusts spread from right to left. Such a phenomenon had never been seen, except at the birth of the Prophet, then in a.H. 241 and 600.' (Sibt ibn al-Jauzi, Mir'at 8/333).

...

Ibn al-Jauzi has said1 in his al-Mirat2 that in the month of Shaban of [5]98 [26 April to 24 May] a very violent earthquake occurred which split [n. 334; B text has 'tomba'] the citadel of Hims and caused the observatory of the same to collapse; it razed Hisan al-Akrad and reached Nablus, destroying everything which had remained there (ce qui avait subsiste). (Sibt Ibn al-Jauzi, al-Mirat2, 8/311).
Footnotes

1 Ibn al-Jawzi died in 1200 CE - before the earthquake struck.

2 Ibn al-Jawzi did not write Mirat. His grandson Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi wrote Mirat

2nd passage - English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In the month of Shdban, there was a violent earthquake which caused destruction in the citadel at Hims and the collapse of its guard tower; Hisn al-Akrad was destroyed. The earthquake also struck the island of Cyprus, and reached as far as Nabulus, destroying that region. This tremendous earthquake caused destruction in all the northern Muslim countries. At Damascus, it caused the collapse of the tops of the minarets in the mosque [the Great Umayyad Mosque], as well as some merlons on the north side. A man from the Maghreb was killed at the Kallasa lime kilns; and a Turk also died: the slave of a money changer who lived in the Sumaysat district. It happened at dawn on Monday 26 Shdban, which corresponds to 20 Ab [August in the Syriac calendar]. The next morning there was a weak shock.

Chronology

Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi appears to have written about the same earthquake twice giving it two different dates - i.e., creating a duplicate. He dated it incorrectly in the first passage and dated it more or less correctly in the second. Like other Arabic writers, his second date was daybreak 21 May instead of 20 May 1202 CE. This likely stems from a calendar difference between the modern Islamic calendar and the one used at the time. He also dates the earthquake in the second passage to 20 Ab which in the Syriac calendar equates to 20 August but in an older predecessor of the Syriac calendar (Babylonian Akkadian) equates to 20 May. He probably meant 20 May.
1st passage
Date Reference Corrections Notes
12 Oct. 1200 CE to 30 Sept. 1201 CE A.H. 597 none calculated using CHRONOS
2nd passage
Date Reference Corrections Notes
daybreak 21 May 1202 CE daybreak 26 Sha'ban A.H. 598 none
daybreak 20 May or 20 Aug. 1202 CE daybreak 20th Ab A.H. 598 none
  • Date (20th Ab) specified in Syriac calendar
  • Year specified in Islamic calendar
  • Ab is August in the Syriac Calendar but in the Akkadian Babylonian calendar (a predecessor of the Syriac calendar) Ab referred to May
Seismic Effects

1st passage 2nd passage Locations

1st passage 2nd passage Sources
Source Discussion

Abu Shama's account has many similarities with fellow Damascene Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi indicating that the two men either shared a source or Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi was one of Abu Shama's sources (perhaps his primary source). Ambraseys and Melville (1988:185) state that Abu Shama quotes the testimony of al-'Izz Muhammad b. Taj al-umana' (d. 643/1245) which could be a common source however since Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi was ~17 years old and living in Damascus when the earthquake struck, it would seem that he included personal experience and would not have relied on only one source. Ambraseys and Melville (1988:187) later suggest that Abu Shama used Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi as a source and added testimony from al-'Izz Muhammad b. Taj al-umana' who was a descendant of Ibn 'Asakir and a continuator of the latter's Biographical history of Damascus (Cahen, 1940) while adding

It is clear that the first part of Sibt b. al-Jauzi's 597 H. account also follows al-'Izz. Under 598 H., al-'Izz records the effect of the shock in north Syria and in Damascus, with some minor details additional to those provided by 'Abd al-Latif [al-Baghdadi].

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.

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 Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In the month of Shdban, there was a tremendous earthquake [which came?] from Upper Egypt. For an hour, the ground was like the sea; the towns of Baniyan, in Egypt, and Nabulus were destroyed, and many people perished in the ruins. Then the earthquake reached Syria and its coast; at Nabulus not so much as a wall was left standing, except in the Samra district, and there were 30,000 victims. Acre and Sur were destroyed, as well as all the citadels along the coast. The earthquake reached Damascus: part of the east minaret of the [Great Umayyad] mosque collapsed. There was massive damage to the lime kilns (al-Kallasa), the Nur al-Din hospital, and nearly all the houses in the city. The inhabitants ran out into the squares. Sixteen balconies fell from the [Umayyad] mosque, and the Nasr mausoleum split open. Banyas was destroyed. People from Ba'alabik who had gone out to pick wild fruit were crushed to death when two mountains collapsed on top of each other. The citadel of Ba'alabik was destroyed, in spite of the fact that it was a strong building made of solid stone. The earthquake reached Hims, Hamat, Aleppo and other towns. The sea withdrew from the coast as far as Cyprus. There were very high waves which smashed boats on the shore. Then the earthquake spread towards Akhlat, and into Armenia, Adharbayjan and Mesopotamia. About 1,100,000 victims were counted. The initial violence of the earthquake abated in the time it takes to read the sura of The Cave; but the shocks continued for days. [Abu Shama, al-Dhayl `ala al-Rawdatayn, fol. 20]

Characterization by Ambraseys (2009)

Ambraseys (2009) states that Abu Shama (Dhail, 642) says that at that time there was an earthquake that affected Khalat and its region where it caused a landslide.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
26 April 1202 CE to 24 May 1202 CE Sha'ban A.H. 598 (Year assumed) none calculated using CHRONOS
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Sources
Source Discussion

Abu Shama's account has many similarities with fellow Damascene Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi indicating that the two men either shared a source or Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi was one of Abu Shama's sources (perhaps his primary source). Ambraseys and Melville (1988:185) state that Abu Shama quotes the testimony of al-'Izz Muhammad b. Taj al-umana' (d. 643/1245) which could be a common source however since Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi was ~17 years old and living in Damascus when the earthquake struck, it would seem that he included personal experience and would not have relied on only one source. Ambraseys and Melville (1988:187) later suggest that Abu Shama used Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi as a source and added testimony from al-'Izz Muhammad b. Taj al-umana' who was a descendant of Ibn 'Asakir and a continuator of the latter's Biographical history of Damascus (Cahen, 1940) while adding

It is clear that the first part of Sibt b. al-Jauzi's 597 H. account also follows al-'Izz. Under 598 H., al-'Izz records the effect of the shock in north Syria and in Damascus, with some minor details additional to those provided by 'Abd al-Latif [al-Baghdadi].

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.

Chronicle of Ernoul and of Bernard le Tresorier

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

The French of Outremer Project at The Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University provides the following information. Chronicle of Ernoul and of Bernard le Tresorier (Chronique d’Ernoul et de Bernard le Trésorier) is first known to have circulated in the early 1230's CE. It's authors were enigmatic - ‘Ernoul’, a squire in the service of Balian of Ibelin and ‘Bernard’, the treasurer of Saint Peter of Corbie. The Chronicle is a narrative history of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem from its foundation and ending in c. 1230 (the surviving manuscripts conclude in 1227, 1229 and 1231). Rather than a straightforward history written either by Ernoul or Bernard, it is a compilation of historical materials which apparently drew upon an earlier work by the squire of Ibelin for the period from 1184-1187 and then included original material from other sources to tell the story of the Third Crusade and the retrenchment of the Latin Kingdom.

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

... earthquakes occurred in the land and brought down the walls of Tyre, Beirut and Acre, much of which was rebuilt.' (Ernoul, 31).

Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading

Letter written by Marsilio Zorzi

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) describe Zorzi Marsilio as the Venetian bailo (ambassador) to Syria who in a letter dated to October 1243 refers to a group of properties in the city of Tyre, some of which had been destroyed in an earthquake which he does not identify. Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) suggest that it is likely that the writer is referring to damage caused by the 1202 earthquake.

Excerpts

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) noted that in addition to the excerpt provided below, two more houses, a warehouse and a mill are mentioned in the same letter as having been destroyed (destructi), but the cause of the damage is not specified.
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

[...] another bakery, which belonged to the Veneto community, but has now been destroyed in an earthquake; another bakery of that community, now destroyed in the earthquake; and another bakery, situated on the public street towards the east, also destroyed in the earthquake; a piece of land, whose houses have now been destroyed the earthquake, towards the north, by the city walls; and a house, similar in form to tower, which stood on the street, but has now been destroyed in the earthquake".

Latin from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

[...] alter furnus, qui fuit communis Venetorum sed nunc terrae motus destructus iacet; alius furnus communis terrae motus destructus; alius furnus, terrae motus destructus, qui firmat in orientem in via publica; petia terae, cuius domus nunc terrae motus destructae firmant versus septentrionem in murum civitatis; domus quasi turris, quae est super viam, sed nunc terrae motus destructa est.

Revised Regesta Regni Hierosolymitani entry for Zorzi Marsilio (extensive excerpt)

Item Description
RRR 2437
Year 1243
Initiator Marsilius Georgius [Marsilio Zorzi] bajulus in Syria Venetorum
Sources Marsilio Zorzi, pp. 101, 135-71 (RRH no. 1114)
Text Oct. 1-31. Acre. Marsilius Georgius [Marsilio Zorzi] bajulus in Syria Venetorum lists Venetian possessions in the city and territory of Tyre. (I). He recounts how he was ordered by Doge Iacopo Tiepolo to provide an inventory of all Venetian possessions in the kingdom of Jerusalem, with a view to recovering those that were lost, and that in June 1242, shortly after his arrival in the East, the change of regime in the kingdom of Jerusalem had resulted in the abandonment of Tyre by the imperial bajulus and forces [Longobardi], who had confiscated Venetian properties and had refused to listen to his protests. He had appealed to Philippus de Monteforte dominus Toronis and others. Meanwhile, it had been arranged that Queen Alice of Cyprus, together with her husband Raul de Sansum, should seek the regency from the archbishop of Tyre, who was the patriarch of Jerusalem’s vicar. Her appointment was approved by the prelates and barones, with the tacit consent of the Commune of Acre, the Venetians, the Genoese and others. The Venetians contributed an armed galley to the recovery of Tyre, in return for which the queen, dominus Raul, dominus de Berito and dominus Philippus de Monforte promised to restore the Venetian possessions in and around Tyre. Marsilius went to Tyre with 30 well armed horseman on 9 June 1242 and the city was recovered in 3 days and the citadel in 28 days with great effort. But the queen and the barones then delayed the restoration of the properties and the viccomes terre apprehended a Venetian suspected of theft. He was released to the magister of the Knights Templar, who handed him and other Venetians over to Marsilius. The queen and others justified their refusal to hand back Venetians possessions on the grounds that only the legitimate king, Conrad, could do so. (II). The Venetians have a third part of the city of Tyre, the bounds of which are well known, together with a curia with the same rights as the royal curia. King John of Jerusalem had unjustly removed the Suriani from Venetian jurisdiction, but this right has been restored. Another king had long ago challenged the right of the Venetians to judge homicide and theft, but this right is reestablished, with the consent of the castellani, Ugo Amirantus and Girardus Pisanus, and the vicecomes Salvazu miles. The dominus Beriti, who is governing the royal section of the city, handed over a Venetian from Cyprus called Iacobinus Barberius, who had stolen more than 20 besants from one of his milites, and the castellanus Girardus handed over another who had stolen sugar cane. Marsilius records that the Venetians had recovered their jurisdictional and other rights over the Jews [Iudei] living in their third, which had been lost for 50 years. The Jews now answer to the Venetian curia and every male on reaching the age of 15 pays a capitation tax of 1 besant each year on the Feast of All Saints. Their names are: Simol, who has 2 grown-up sons called Hebe and Mahamar, Mahafa, Daniel, Moyse, Symo, Harham and Brahi. The Venetians have recovered their jurisdiction, retained by the crown for a long time, over the Syrian dye-workers [Suriani texarini] in their third of the city, who pay 2 cartata a month for each dye-pit. The Venetians have also recovered their rights, lost to the crown, over all who sell wine, oil, candles and meat and over the ypotecarii who sell spices and other merchandise. No bannum is now imposed on the city without Venetian consent, whereas the Venetians can impose and exact banna freely on their third. Up to the present an officer called a matesep, in Venetian terms a iusticiarius, established by King John, has been responsible for banna throughout Tyre, but now any bannum in the Venetian third is administered by a compatriot called Iohannes Palami. The Venetians have revoked the ancient custom that any pork butcher in their third should pay the curia regis a tax of 4 denarii called tuazo. (III). Marsilius provides the forms of oath made by the judges or jurats [iudices see iurati] in the Venetian curia at Tyre and by those living in the Venetian third of the city. Purchases of houses in the Venetian third should be made in the Venetian curia. The purchaser should pay the court 3 besants, while the notarius who draws up the deed and the plazarius should be paid a quarter of a besant each. (IV). (1) The church of St Mark in Tyre, founded and built by Venice, has full parochial rights and is exempt from the ordinary jurisdiction of the archbishop. (2) It possesses the following properties. A foncium at the city gate, when one comes up from the catena, extending to the east a little beyond the church of St Mark. 2 stationes towards the plathea, leased for 9 and 12 besants respectively. A statio below of the portico of St Mark, rented for 1 besant a year. An oven at the head of the fonticum, from the returns of which the Venetian commune takes three fifths and the church of St Mark two fifths, according to an agreement made by the baiulus dominus Dominicus Ocotante and the plebanus [of the church], relating to this and to another oven which was destroyed in an earthquake, the rents of which are divided in the same way. A house at the head of the ruga sancti Marci, left as an eleemosynary gift to St Mark by Michael Lunizo, which is destroyed except for a volta that returns 2 besants a year. A garden attached to the house that dominus Thomas Dulce bought for the church, of which he was procurator, for 25 besants; it returns 1 besant and a quarter a year. A house, volta and cistern, adjoining on 2 sides the houses of the sons of Damianus, which Maria Cauco left as an eleemosynary grant to the church and returns 2 besants a year. A garden outside the city, returning 50 besants a year, bounded on the east by land of the Venetian commune that was once a garden, on the west by a canal [rivulum aque] flowing from the aqueduct [de conducto], on the south by a locus called Serram and on the north by the public way. 4 voltae with a curia next to the south side of the church, where the clergy live with the plebanus. (3) A church in the Venetian third of the city, dedicated to St James, is under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Torcello. Under the church to the north there are 4 stationes and next to it to the south are 2 stationes, with a volta, over which is a great chamber [camera] where the priest [presbyter] of the church resides. The church owns a ruined house, acquired after the earthquake, which is held by magister Habotus, paying an annual rent of one half of a besant. Houses occupied by Thosanus Maurecenus of Venice and Pantaleus – the last being once in the possession of Rolandus Contareni – are known to pay each 1 rotula of oil every year to the church of St Mark, although this requires investigation. Another church, dedicated to St Nicholas, is owned by the bishop of Isola, with 6 stationes in a row to the north along the street from the church, each of which owes 2 and a half besants a year, and with on the other side of the road another house, with a statio below and a little curia and the cistern called Dulce, owing rent of 8 besants. There is also a statio next to the south side of the church, together with 2 small stationes with a small chamber over one of them, which are for most of the year vacant but when rented return 24 denarii a month, and are bordered to the east by a road that runs into another one, and towards the west by the house built by Helia in which Tior burgensis resides. A ruined fonticum, destroyed in an earthquake, belongs to the episcopus Caurole and adjoins to the east and north the house of Petrus Scandalionis and on the west the house of the sons of Petrus Ruffus and the houses of the Venetian Jews, and to the north a public way that runs before the churches of St James and St Nicholas. (V). The Venetian commune owns the following baths, ovens and houses in its third of the city of Tyre. (1) A house designated for the commune with 2 curie, where the bajulus lives, and which is bordered to the east by a vacant pecia terre that belongs to Simeon Bonus of the quarter of St Barbara in Venice, to the west by the public way that runs next to the square [trivia] before St Mark, to the south by a vacant pecia terre belonging to Thomas Dulce and partly by the house of Pisanus miles, and towards the north by a public way running before the church of St Mark. (2) A pecia terre on which there were houses destroyed by the earthquake, bordering on the north by the city wall, on the south by a public way that runs before the church of St Mark, on the west by the oven and fonticum of St Mark, and on the east by the house[s] of Thomas Pititonus, Leo Michael and other Venetian burgenses. (3) A bath house near the church of St Mark, returning in rent 100 besants and bordered on the west by the house of the [canons of the Holy] Sepulchre, on the south by the public way, on the east by the houses of Thomas Dulce and the public way, and on the north by a pecia terre belonging to St Mark. Thomas Dulce has 4 upper rooms [camerae], while the commune of Venice owns the lower part. (4) 2 other bath houses, returning in rent 165 besants and situated after the square [trivia] before the church of Holy Cross that belongs to the archbishopric of Tyre, bordered to the east by the public way, on the south partly by the public way that runs before the square of the Holy Cross and partly by the house of Dominicus Buctus, on the north by the public way. (5) An oven in the ruga sancti Nicolai, returning in rent 30 besants and bordered on the east by the public way, on the west...., on the south by a vacant pecia terre belonging to the Venetian commune, on the north by the public way that runs before the church of St Nicholas. (6) Another oven, called the Furnus Oscurus, situated in the district called Cobeib, returning 25 besants and bordered on the east..., on the west by the public way, on the north by another public way and on the south... (7) A vacant pecia terre with a well in it, next to the oven in the ruga sancti Nicolai and bordered on the east by the public way that runs before the houses of Petrus presbyter and dominus Monriale miles, on the west by the house of Rainaldus de Empas, on the south.... on the north by the oven. Monriale and the priest each hold half of this land and each owe the commune a rent of 12 carcti, payable on the Feast of St Mark. The bajulus can retake possession of this land whenever he wants. (8) An oven, destroyed in the earthquake, which is alongside the oven of St Mark, already mentioned, and borders partly on the pecia terre of the son of Simon Bonus and partly on the mansio of Iohannes Tyri. It borders on the north a house of the commune of Venice, on the south... (9) A volta at the head of the ruga sancti Marci, over which is an unroofed house which was bought by Iohannes Tonesto when he was bajulus. It is bordered on the east by the public way that runs towards [the church of] St Peter, on the west partly by the house of Rolandus Contarenus and partly by the house of Iohannes Tyri, on the north by the public way that runs before St Mark, on the south.... (10) Another pecia terre is bordered on the east by the boundary between the Venetian third of the city and the royal domain, on the west by a house and curia belonging to dominus Manasses Dulce, the Venetian vicecomes, on the north by the wall of the city next to the sea, and on the south by the house of Nicolas, which he bought from dominus Iacobus Barocius. (11) Another oven, destroyed by the earthquake, which is bordered on the east by the public way, on the west by a house that belonged to a Turcopolus called Belmene, on the north by the public way and on the south by the house... (12) A little house with 2 volte and 2 curie, which passed to the commune when the Turcopolus called Belmene died without heirs. When it is leased it returns 1 besant a year. It is bordered on the east by the commune’s oven, which is destroyed, on the west by the road, on the north by another public way, on the south... (13) A pecia terre in the part of Tyre called Baragese. It is enclosed on three sides by public ways and on the south by empty land belonging to the Knights Templar. A little pecia terre that Marsilius Georgius bajulus bought for 5 besants extends from it. (14) Dominus Thomas Dulce has a statio in the ruga sancti Nicolai, given him by a certain bajulus, for which a rent of 2 besants is paid annually on the Feast of All Saints. Its boundaries.... (15) A house on an upper level [solarium], that belonged to the son of Helel, who died without having a near relative while Marsilius Georgius has been baiulus. It borders on the east... (16) A great piece of land in the Venetian district called Baragese, where ships are drawn up. It is bordered on the east by the port of the city, on the west by a road that runs between the land and the houses of Thomasinus Dulce and Andreas Galafarius, on the north by a road between the land and the royal arsenal [arsena regis] and on the south by a road between the land and the house of Thomas Dulce. (17) The Venetian commune receives an annual rent of 54 besants from the fonticum of Tyre, granted by the regency of the kingdom [qui habent regimen terre pro rege] in exchange, it is said, for the savoneria and tentoria. The rent is payable in 4 instalments, beginning on the Feast of All Saints. It is said the bajulus dominus Dominicus Acotanto closed the tentoria whenever the rent was not fully paid. (18) In the Venetian third of the city there is a tower-like house over the road leading to the catena, which was destroyed in the earthquake and once belonged to Iohannes Garabellus, who is believed to have died without heir. It is capable of being rebuilt at a suitable time for the commune’s benefit. (VI). The commune has the following possessions in the vicinity of Tyre. (1) A sugar press [masera ubi efficitur zucarum], which has not been in use for the last 22 years. (2) A large pecia terre, situated in a great fundum next to the sugar press, where sugar cane is planted.The sugar cane plantation is irrigated by water from the Fons Dei, which flows next to the sugar press. The Venetians own a third part of the spring, and pay a third of the costs and labour of maintaining it, so that the king sends 2 men and the Venetians 1 to repair the canal [conductum aque]. Only the king and the Venetians can draw water from this source in the proportions two-thirds and one-third. The land is bordered on the east by the canal and on the west partly by the sea-shore and partly by the land held in fief [feudum] from the commune by Rolandus Contarenus and Guillielmus Iordanis. To the north is land belonging to the king, separated by a stream or ditch. To the south is land that now belongs to the Genoese, separated by a stream. The land measures about 8 caruge, which the Venetians call masi. It is customary for whoever works the land, whether planting sugar cane or seed, to render to the Venetian vicecomes a third part of the harvest. The gleanings [palea] are a perquisite of the baiulus, by grant of the doge. (3) A pecia terre on the other side of the canal, which is large enough to be worked in one day by 3 pairs of oxen [paribus bouum trium (?)]. It is bordered on the east, north and south by land belonging to the abbey of Mt Sion and on the west by the canal. It is irrigated by water from the canal. (4) A pecia terre called Bellemet, which is large enough to be sown with 26 royal modii of seed. It is bordered on the east by the land of the casale called Thalabie, which is owned by the dominus Sydonie, although the Venetians have claims on the casale. To the west and south it borders on a stream, separating it from the land of Rolandus Contarenus, which he holds in feudum from the Venetians. To the north is the stream separating it from the casale of Thalabie. (5) A mill near the city which has one mill stone and one water source [austus aque] called Portus de Conducto Fontis Dei. It returns annually 140 besants. It is surrounded by royal land that is now possessed by the Genoese. (6) A mill upstream on which the Venetians have claims, because it once belonged to the commune, although for a failure to fulfil the terms of a lease (in appalto] it passed to the king. This mill returns annually 100 besants. (7) A mill called the Molendinum de Caneto, which had been empty and ruined for nearly 50 years but is now repaired and milling. It is leased and is expected to return 50 besants in the coming year. It is constructed with 2 mill stones, but at present employs only 1. It uses water from the Portus de Conducto Fontis Dei, near the archbishop’s garden. Above the canal next to the Portus is the Ficus Faraonis and next to the Ficus a stream, carrying water from the aqua Yemis and flowing below a bridge, unites with the water from the Portus to run this mill. It is bordered on the east by royal land, on the west by a stream dividing it from property of the archbishop of Tyre, on the north by land belonging to the dominus de Sydonia and the south by a stream that runs into the sea. (8) A pecia terre, which for about 40 years was empty, but now has a vineyard planted in it. It is bordered to the east by a stream that separates it from royal land and flows to a bath-house called the Balneum Saladini. To the west is the public way, separating it from the vineyard of the Knights Templar. To the north there is royal land, on which the king has a metal furnace [?ubi rex facit aram] and to the south a vineyard belonging to a Surianus called Iosep. (9) A pecia terre that was once a garden, with a ruined cistern [barchilia] in which water was collected to water the garden. It is bordered to the east by land that belonged to Homodeus scriba regis, to the west by a public way, to the north by a vineyard that now belongs to dominus Rainaldus miles de Empam, and to the south by the garden of the Venetian church of St Mark. (VII). The following are the Venetian casalia in the territory of Tyre. (1) Casale Batiole, with gastine, one of which is called Mensara. It is in the mountains. To the east, at the top of the mountain, the casale and gastina adjoin a pecia terre which in Arabic is called Galaelharge. To the west is the sea, to the north a stream which descends from the mountains under a bridge called Pons Tyri and to the south it is bordered by the mountain. Water springs from the summit, which is in the casale, and flows as far as Salus Frei. There are in the casale 20 caruge tilled by rustici, of which 2 caruge are free. Each caruca is sown annually with 9 modii of either wheat [granum] or barley, but an equivalent amount of land, called garet, is left over to be sown the following year, in which it will be partly sown with about 1 modius of vegetables for each caruca. The harvest is divided so that the Venetians have one quarter and the rustici three-quarters, but the Venetians have an additional 1 modius of wheat for every caruca. The personal returns made by the rustici involve the presentation for every caruca on Christmas, Ash Wednesday [carnisprivium] and Easter of 1 chicken, 10 eggs, half a rotula of cheese and 12 denarii in place of a salma of wood. These are perquisites of the baiulus at the will of the doge. The headman [preposicius casalis], who the Venetians call a gastaldio[nes] is held on either Ash Wednesday or Easter to present the baiulus with a goat [edus], if demanded. Otherwise the headman is freed from dues. All gleanings [palea] belong to the commune. (2) A casale called Mahallie, which is situated on the mountain. To east is a royal casale called Sahaphie. To the west is a casale called Zaharie, which belongs to dominus Iohannes Dasce. To the north is a royal casale called Melequie and to the south is a casale that is part of the feudum held from Venice by Guillielmus Iordanus on behalf of his wife. In the casale there are 8 caruce tilled by rustici, of which half a caruca is free. Each caruca is sown with 9 modii of wheat or barley, and an equivalent amount of land, called by them garet [and by the Venetians] mazatica, is held back for a year and is sown with vegetables, at the rate of 1 modius of seed for every caruca. The Venetians take a quarter of the crop and the rustici three-quarters. 1 chicken, 10 eggs and 12 denarii in place of wood is owed for each caruca on Christmas and half a rotula of cheese on Ash Wednesday and Easter. (3) The casale of Hanoe is shared with the canons of the Templum Domini, with the canons having two-thirds and the Venetians a third. For a long time the Venetians had no more than an eighth, but they have now recovered their rights. There are 15 caruce in the casale, of which the Venetians have 5. Half a caruca is free. The Venetian commune has 2 homliges in the casale, called Memur and Hagmed, each of whom has 2 sons. The casale is bordered to the east.... The Venetians take one-third of the harvest and the rustici two-thirds, while the Venetians are presented with 1 chicken, 10 eggs and 12 denarii in place of wood at Christmas and half a rotula of cheese on Ash Wednesday and Easter. (4) The casale called Theiretenne is shared with the king, who has two thirds to the Venetians one third. For a long time the Venetians had no more than an eighth, but they have now recovered their rights. If rustici from throughout the casale are judged and fined for any misdeed, the king takes two-thirds of the penalty and the Venetians one-third. There are 30 caruce, of which 3 and a half are free. Each caruca is sown with 8 modii and the land called mazadica, which they call garet, is partly sown with vegetables, at the rate of 1 modius of seed for each caruca. The casale is bordered on the east by the casale called Maharone, of which Guillielmus Iordanus holds one-third in feudum from Venice on behalf of his wife, on the west partly by a royal casale called Focai, partly by a casale called Zobie and partly by a casale called Farachyen, that belongs to Bartolomeus Caym miles, on the north by another casale belonging to Bartolomeus called Caffardebael and by a casale called Toglif, which Rolandus Contarenus holds in feudum from the commune of Venice, and on the south by a royal casale called Aiffi. There are in the Venetian part of the casale 12 homliges, leaving aside their children. The names of the rustici are: Rays Sade, Rays Haindoule, Rays Meged, Meiram, Braym, Seid, Mahommet, Helel, Habdelragman, Selem, Noreldoule and Baraque. The Venetians have a third part of the harvest and the rustici two-thirds. They owe for each caruca on the 3 Feastdays 1 chicken, 10 eggs and 12 denarii in place of wood, together with half a rotula of cheese on Ash Wednesday and Easter. (5) The casale called Homeire is entirely owned by Venice. There are 6 caruge of which half a caruga is free. The Venetians have a quarter of the harvest and the rustici three-quarters. Each caruca is sown with 9 modii of wheat or barley and in the garet each caruca with 1 modius of vegetables. It is bordered on the east by a casale called Dordoghie, on the west by a casale called Soaffi, which Rolandus Contarenus holds in feudum from the commune of Venice, on the north by a royal casale called Tahirefelse and on the south by a casale called Maron, which was once held by Guido Scandalionis and is now held by his little son. The Venetians have 3 homliges in the casale. The names of these rustici are: Rays Megid, Covaha and Habdelvaif, leaving aside their sons. The rustici owe 1 chicken, 10 eggs and 12 denarii in place of wood at Christmas and on Ash Wednesday they owe half a rotula of cheese. (6) When the rustici living the commune’s casalia change the seed-corn to improve the harvests they present for every caruca 1 small pullet, which is granted to the baiulus with other services by the doge. The rustici also owe one day’s labour service [pro angaria] for every caruca, as do the rustici of the king. (VIII). A list of rear-fiefs, granted to knights by the doge of Venice at the time of the capture of Tyre. (1) Vitalis Pantaleus, called Malvisinus, the son of Iohannes Pantaleus of the quarter of St Julian in Venice, was given in feudum the following properties. (i) A casale on the mountain called Dairrham. On the east is a royal casale called Zebiquim that belonged to the feudum of dama Guida Contarena, over which Venice has claims. On the west is the land of a casale called Fetonia, in which the Venetians also have rights, because it was part of the feudum dama Guida Gontarena held of Venice, although it is now possessed by the dominus de Sydonia, who bought it from a miles, who was established in it by comes Henricus when he was lord of the land. On the north is a casale called Mahallie, now owned by the commune of Venice, which was part of the feudum of dama Guida. To the south is a royal casale called Hasye, on which Venice has claims since it was part of the feudum of dama Guida. The rustici of Dairrham consist of Hebdelmen with 3 sons and a brother. (ii) A casale called Gaifiha, which is situated on the hillside. On the east is a land touching a cava called Cava dame Guide Contarene, over which Venice has claims because it was part of her feudum. On the west is casale Batiole. On the north the casale touches a stream that runs into the sea. On the other side of the stream is a casale held by the king called Ihanie, in which Venice again has claims as part of the feudum of dama Guida Cantarena. On the south is a quastina belonging to Batiole called Mensore. (iii) A casale called Maharona which has gastine called Beldamon, Iordei, Mezarha, Ursa, Boreig, Torneza, Ras, Lambrha, Elmunie, Lalche, Mezara de Zote, Derdros, Bisilie and Remedied. A third of the casale attaches to the feudum; two-thirds belong to the king. It is bordered on the east by casalia called Derentare and Liavum, which belong to the lordship of Throron, the boundary of which is marked by a stream flowing down from the mountain. To the west is the land of the casale called Terentene, of which Venice has a third and the king two-thirds. On the north is a casale called Ioie, which was in the feudum that dama Guida held of the commune and which the Venetians claim. On the south is the casale called Sagnomie, which belongs to the sons of Gualterius Morellus, and the casale called Dairrhamos. The following rustici are homolige of the casale: Gadir with his 3 sons, Bram with 5 sons, Saod with his brother, Nagime with 2 sons, Mere with his brother, Selem son of Timam and Selem’s sons, Bram le prevost the son of Megatel, Mahimet son of Sahade, Casib with his son. (iv) 2 gardens. They are bordered on the east by a garden belonging to the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. On the west is a garden held by the son of the late Ioannes Bernardus, who lives in Acre. On the north is the sea and sea-shore and on the south is the public way. (v) A pecia terre called Una Fossa, which is sown with 6 or 7 modii of wheat. On the east is the land of the commune of Venice, which is planted with sugar cane. On the west is land that belonged to the son of Buzicarus. On the north is the public way. On the south is land held by the church of SS Cosmas and Damian, over which Venice has claims. (vi) A gastina called Belemed, situated above the canal. On the east is casale Talabie. On the west is the aqueduct. On the north is land of the Pisans. On the south is land belonging to the archbishop, and Ficus Faratinis and a stream. (vii). The feudum is now held by Guiliellmus Jordanus, on behalf of his wife, who is of the family of Pantaleo. Guiliellmus and his wife live in a house with an oven which is attached to the feudum. On the east is the public way that runs by the church of Holy Cross. On the west is the curtivum of Manases Dulce vicecomes and the house of Samuel, who has died. On the north is the road that goes to the cemetery, next to the Holy Cross. On the south is the curdivum of Balduinus Bonvisinus. (viii) The crown unjustly detains a casale called Cafardani, with a castle, a third part of which was held by the feudum. The casale is bordered.... Also detained are rents totalling 60 besants, drawn on the meat markets [?cassaria], sale of candles [busini], sale of sugar [zalamelli] and other revenues that are itemized in deeds held by the commune. (2) The feudum of Rolandus Contarenus consists of the following. (i) A casale called Soafim, in which there are 14 caruge. This borders on the east partly with the casale of Terrafalse, which is held by the crown but on which Venice has claims, because it was part of the feudum of dama Guida, and partly with casale Homehite, held by the commune of Venice. On the west is a casale called Amosie, which is part of the feudum of Rolandus. On the north is a casale which the son of Guido Scandalionis holds of the crown. On the south is a casale called Dairchanom, which the son of Guido Scandalionis also holds of the king, but on which Venice has claims because it belonged to dama Guida. The homlige in the casale of Sohafim are Sob, Rays Sereg and Hasisbelmesd. (ii) A casale called Hanosie, in which there are 12 caruce. On the east is the casale of Sohafim. On the west is a casale of the archbishop of Tyre called Bedias. On the south is a casale called Dercanon. On the north is a casale called Lasachye. The homlige in the casale are Rasa.... (iii) A third part, consisting of of 10 caruce, of the casale called Feniom. On the east is a royal casale called Anderquise, of which Venice claims a third. On the west is a casale called Beffele belonging to the abbey of St Mary of the Valley of Jehoshaphat. On the south is a casale called Terrejebeneparti, of which Venice claims a third. On the north is a casale held by dominus Engaram. The following homliges reside in the casale of Feniom: Mahalla, Selmen, Hali, Habs, Bellala and Halil. (iv) A third part of the casale called Tolliffif, consisting of 4 caruge. To the east is the land of a casale called Megedel, belonging to the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, of which Venice claims a third part. To the west is a casale called Terretenne, a third of which belongs to Venice. To the north is a casale called Cafardebael, which is held by Bertholomeus de Caym and of which Venice claims a third part. To the south is a casale called Ioie, which is possessed by Hugo Amiratus and of which Venice also claims a third part. (v) A pecia terre, situated next to the Fons Dei above the aqueduct that runs into the city of Tyre. It can be sown with around 30 modii of wheat. On the east it borders partly on the land of a casale called Derina that belongs to the canons of the Holy Sepulchre and partly on land of the Venetian commune called Bellemet. On the west is the aqueduct and a pecia terre belonging to the archbishop, but is claimed to be part of this feudum. On the south is the casale of Darrina belonging to the canons of the Holy Sepulchre. On the north is a stream flowing between this and land of the commune of Venice. (vi) A pecia terre called Fossa. On the east is a road running between this land and the commune’s land. On the west is the sea shore. On the north is a pecia terre belonging to the church of SS Cosmas and Damian. On the south is the land of the commune of Venice. The uncle of Rolandus sold this land with the agreement of dominus Pantaleo Barbo, but Vitalis Galafat, the guardian [tuctor] of Rolandus, bought it back for 75 besants in the time when dominus Stefanus Iustinianus was baiulus. (vii) As part of his feudum, Rolandus has a house in the Venetian third of the city of Tyre, before [the church of] St Peter. On the east is the street [ruga] that runs before St Peter. On the west is the church of the Greci. On the south is the house belonging to the dominus de Berito, which had been part of the feudum of dama Guida. On the north is the house of Ioannes Balneator. (IX). The Venetians share Casale Betheron with the archbishop of Tyre. (1). The archbishop, however, holds back the following from the Venetians. (i) A pecia terre which the prepositus casalis of the archbishop possesses. It is planted with olive trees. To the east is the pecia terre belonging to Nesim, a rusticus of the archbishop from the casale of Tairedebe. To the north is a pecia terre [worked by] Habdelhoheb. To the south is a pecia terre held by Hagmed, the son of Melaeb. This land is large enough for it to be worked by 2 pairs of oxen in one day and therefore is reckoned by the Saraceni to be 2 carruce. It has 40 olive trees on it and returns annually 5 besants. It has been held back from the Venetians, to whom it rightly belongs, for 50 years: from the time when Saladin was sultan, when it was worked by Mufac, a rusticus of the Venetians, in the time of his father. (ii) A pecia terre called Carobleri and held by the prepositus. To the east is land, no longer worked, which was held by a rusticus called Behala. To the west is land held by Venetian rustici. To the south is land held by the prepositus of the archbishop. To the north is land held by Venetian rustici. There are c.25 olive trees on the land, which is large enough to be worked in one day by 2 pairs of oxen. It returns annually c.4 besants. It has been unlawfully held back for as long as has been the previously mentioned pecia, being worked by Mufac, the Venetian rusticus, in the time of his father. (iii). A pecia terre, held by the prepositus, called Terra de Sarde. To the east is a wine press. To the west is land held by a rusticus of the archbishop called Hamed. To the north is land held by the prepositus. To the south is the public way. There are 2 fig trees and 4 olive trees on this land, which can be worked in one day by 1 pair of oxen and returns annually to its lord c.2 besants. It has been held back unlawfully as long as the others above, being worked by the Venetians’ rusticus Mufac in the time of his father. (iv) A pecia terre situated next to a spring [fons], with 40 olive trees. It is held by Basalag, a rusticus of the archbishop, and returns to its lord annually 6 besants. It is large enough to be worked by 2 pairs of oxen in one day. It borders... (v) The rustici present for each caruca 1 chicken, 10 eggs and 12 denarii in place of wood every Christmas and half a modius of cheese on Ash Wednesday and Easter. (vi) Held back from the Venetians is as much of the communally farmed land of the casale as can be sown with 9 royal modii of wheat and which returns c.30 besants. The Venetians have tried to recover this every 10 years for 40 years. (vii) A vineyard possessed by Bosalag, the rusticus of the archbishop. To the east and north is the mountain. To the west is a vineyard held by Raffa, a rusticus of the archbishop of Tyre. To the south is a vineyard, which ought to be Venetian and is held by a rusticus called Megelsachays. Before vines were planted this land was worked by Venetian rustici, but it was taken and planted with vines by the archbishop at the time of the capture of Damietta. It returns to the lord a third part of the fruits, totalling c. 10 besants. (viii) A vineyard possessed by Naym, the son of Fecto, a rusticus of the archbishop. To the east is [the vineyard of] Megelsarchais. To the west is the vineyard of a rusticus of the archbishop called Sade. To the north is a vineyard belonging to the archbishop and held by a rusticus called Habdeloeb. To the south is land belonging to the archbishop. The third of the fruits returned annually to the lord come to c. 4 besants. This used to be empty land and was worked by the rustici of the Venetians, but 5 years ago it was transferred to the archbishop’s curia. (ix) A vineyard held back for a long time by the archbishop, which is worked by Sideom the son of Boali. To the east and west are Venice’s vineyards worked by its rustici. To the north is an olive grove belonging to the archbishop and worked by a rusticus called Naym. To the south is a vineyard of the archbishop, worked by a rusticus called Mesied. A third part of the fruits come to 6 besants. (x) A vineyard held by a rusticus called Feebet, who 20 years ago took it by force from the Venetian rusticus Mufac. To the east is an olive grove belonging to the archbishop and held by the said Fehebet. To the west is a vineyard belonging to the archbishop and held by the prepositus casalis. To the north are Venetian vineyards, held by the commune’s rustici. To the south is a vineyard belonging to the archbishop and held by the rusticus Zar. A third part of the harvest total 3 besants. (xi) A vineyard possessed by the rusticus Thomanus, which the Venetian rusticus Mufac worked 25 years ago, before it became a vineyard. To the east is the vineyard possessed by the rusticus Zar but is claimed by Venice. To the west are Venetian vineyards held by the commune’s rustici. To the north is the vineyard of the archbishop, held by his rusticus Raffa. To the south is a vineyard belonging to the archbishop but held by Venice’s rusticus Maumhet, who pays dues to the archbishop. A third part of the harvest comes annually to c. 2 and a half besants. (xii) 2 houses, of which 1 is held by the archbishop’s prepositus casalis and the other by his nephew called Helem. They used to be lived in by Venetian rustici called Hoibeid and Thacam and have been held back for 10 years. They each return annually 3 chickens, 3 royal solidi, 30 eggs and 1 rotula of cheese. (xiii) 3 pigsties [arae], of which one is held by a rusticus of the archbishop called Hoese, another by Raffa and the third by the prepositus casalis. (2) Venice enjoys the following properties and rights in the casale of Betheron. (i) 3 vineyards. In a good harvest these produce for the Venetians 3 salmae vini de camello, which is the equivalent of 6 biguncidii vini de Venecia. (ii) 100 olive trees returning annually 4 or 5 besants, when there is fruit. (iii) 5 caruce of land, comprising that sown annually by the Venetians’s rustici with 12 modii of wheat, and terra gariti, which the Venetians call macatica or terra frata, which is sown annually with 3 modii of vegetables. A third part of the harvests comes to c. 20 modii of wheat and 10 modii of vegetables and other crops. (iv) The Venetian rustici in the casale are Mufac and his son Hasem, Mathar, Mufac’s brother who has a 5-year-old son called Josef, and Mahomet Elly, who has 2 sons, Hismael and Chailil, aged 5 and 4 respectively. (v) The two parts of the casale of Betheron owned by the archbishop comprise 15 caruce. 2 are held by the prepositus casalis and one of these is free, making it worth 3 of the others. Of the others, one each is held by Alem, Megehed, Hali son of Naym, Braym, Gibrim, Zaar, Fehd, Homeil, Meuse, Mesade, Hamie, Hagmed and Raffa. They sow 4 or more modii of wheat in every caruca and 20 modii of vegetables on the terra de gareto, when they plough it, together with barley and other crops. The archbishop has in his 2 parts 2040 olive trees. (X). A list of Venetian revenues and possessions which have been unlawfully detained by the king or private persons in the city of Tyre. (1). Certain revenues, which should have come to Venice through its possession of a third part of the city, have been lost, although it is not known how. (i) A third part of the revenues of the catena, which in this year totalled 480 besants. King John freed all the Suriani living in his part of the city from paying dues to the catena, whereupon the Venetian Suriani, who were not exempt, migrated to the royal part. (ii) The returns of the landward gates, together with a fonticum in the Venetian third, in which there are scales [statera] for weighing merchandise [mercimonia] to be sold. The revenue in this year is 1900 besants. (iii) A fonticum in the Venetian third, selling musical instruments. The revenue this year is 500 besants. (iv) From butchery [macellum] and the tax tuazo the revenue this year is 400 besants. (v) From the measuring of wheat and all types of grain, of wine, oil and sugar cane [ex mellis] the revenue this year is 310 besants. (vi) From glass [de vitreo] the revenue this year is 350 besants. (vii) From sesame oil the revenue this year is 160 besants. (viii) From lime works [ex calce] the revenue is 90 besants. (ix) From the fishery the revenue is 70 besants. (x) From beer [ex vino cervese], made from barley and called focay, the revenue is 22 besants. (xi) From milk the revenue is 20 besants. (xii) The Venetians claim to share rights with the crown over a vaulted street [ruga] running from the catena to the gate of Tyre. In the royal part is a fonticum the Pisans bought from the king. Afterwards the Pisans built a church against [super] the vault and gate of the city, which extends into the Venetian part by 5 feet, although no one can remember when they did so. Bread is sold under the gate and vault, and the Venetians now receive some revenue from the vicecomes. (2). The following houses are claimed in the city of Tyre. (i). The house in which dominus Ugo Amiratus resides, having it as the dowry of his wife, the daughter of Zunzulinus Gazellus. It is not known why the house came to belong to Zunzulinus, because it had been the residence of the Venetian baiulus when he lived in Tyre. (ii) A great house in the Venetian third of the city. When the marchio Montisferati had been lord of the kingdom it had been used for minting money. For unknown reasons, the marchio gave it to Ansaldus Bonvisini and it is possessed by his son Balduinus Bonvisini. (iii) A house in the ruga sancti Nicolay which domina Raimunda, a widow, holds as her dowry. To the east is the road running to the church of St Mary of the Greeks. To the west.... To the south is the road running before St Nicholas. To the north.... The house ought to revert to the Venetian commune after Raimunda’s death and in the meantime cannot be alienated. (XI). A list of the casalia and possessions given in feudum by the doge and commune of Venice at the time of the capture of Tyre to dominus Rolandus Contarenus for the service of 3 milites and an account of their passing to Dama Guida Contarena of the family of Gradonicus and their loss. (1). Casalia held in full were: Lator which is in la Cava, Fetonie, Melequie, Ramadie, Ihannie, Sebequin, Talabie, Azgie, Hameisie, Zaharie, Sahasie, Conoise. (2) Casalia in which the fief-holder held one third: Haiff, Focai, Iohie, Teirefelsei. (3) A house in the Venetian third of the city of Tyre which is now held by the dominus de Berito. To the east is the public way that runs before the church of St Peter. To the west is the church of St Mary of the Greeks. To the north is the house of the present Rolandus Contarenus minor. To the south... Pantaleo Barbus lived in this house when he was baiulus. (4) When Rolandus Contarenus maior died, leaving no heir, the baiulus at the time wished to repossess the feudum for the commune, but dama Guida, the widow of Rolandus, resisted, placed herself under the protection of the king and held it until her death, when she made the king her heir. It is now held by the crown. (XII). (1) List of casalia, claimed by the Venetian commune in the territory of Tyre, which are now held partly by the crown and partly by milites and churches. Lasahephie, Laremedie, Homessie, Lahaya, Resconany, Herrin, Sedequie, Canna, Bofoley, Dercanon, Szorcoor, Derreme, Herdei, Harrbehel, Foraquye, Labasorie, Sahonye, Soquollye, Laiarodie, Lahemedie, Lanahemine, Labasorie, Saffoney, Tyrdube, Hyanoz, Hyanoz, Foquel, Queforcabel, Teyrfebne/Teyrsebne, the last of which, according to the testimony of VitaIis Galafarius, Tomas Dulce and others was lost to the crown through negligence when Dominicus Acotanto was baiulus, Guafarduim, Michelserquey, Beris, Migaydel, Maraque, Anderquifa, Maron, Affalquie, Bafaley, Brochey, Dordohaia, Terfelsay, Haymboaldelley, Mahalebfet, Sedim, the third part of the last of which, according to the testimony of Vitalis Galafarius, Thomas Dulce and others, was held by the Venetian commune until 40 years ago, but was lost on account of a boundary dispute between the baiulus dominus Pantaleo Barbo and the crown at the time when comes Henricus de Campania was lord of the kingdom, Saint Iorge, Zirisia, Nea, Lacassomya. It is not known how all the rights to all these casalia were lost, [apart from the 2 already mentioned]. (2) The crown retains a mill, above the one the Venetian commune now possesses. Many years ago the miller [molendinarius], who had rented the mill for 5 years, committed homicide and was arrested. The mill passed into royal hands. (Marsilio Zorzi, pp. 101, 135-71) (RRH no. 1114).
Footnotes [369] For the date, see Marsilio Zorzi, p. 151.
[370] Or Templum Domini.
[371] Or the Knights Templar

Chronology Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading

History of Heraclius (The Eracles or Estoire d’Eracles) by Anonymous authors

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Helen Nicholson in Murray (2006: v. 2, p. 405) provides the following about History of Heraclius (aka The Eracles or Estoire d'Eracles). The History of Heraclius is a Vulgar French translation and continuation of the history of William of Tyre by anonymous authors. The title 'History of Heraclius' refers to the start of William of Tyre’s history - when Byzantine emperor Heraclius (ruled 610–641) recaptured Jerusalem from the Persians and brought the 'True Cross' back to Jerusalem. The continuation recounts the loss of Jerusalem to Saladin in 1187 CE and the ensuing history of Outremer with some manuscripts going as far as 1277 CE. 49 manuscripts and its continuation survive but there is no critical edition. Two versions of the translation have been published - the so-called Colbert-Fontainebleau Eracles (in the series Recueil des Historiens des Croisades) and one by Paulin Paris. The anonymous translator (possibly working in the West between 1205 and 1234) and the composers of later versions made important adjustments and additions to William’s text, and there are significant differences between the various manuscripts. The continuations that follow the translation were assembled between 1220 and 1277 and added on to the translation. Forty-four of the manuscripts of the continuation for 1185–1229 record a version of events similar to that preserved in the Chronique d’Ernoul. The other five manuscripts, including the Colbert-Fontainebleau manuscripts, preserve different versions of events. All these continuations seem to reflect the political views of part of the Frankish nobility of Outremer. For the period 1229–1261, a variant version of Eracles exists in twelve manuscripts, known as the Rothelin Continuation, which was apparently composed in the West and reflects a Western viewpoint.

Excerpts
English from Recueil des historiens des croisades (1859)

The funds ordered from Cisteaux were taken overseas. Never before have they come to such a good conclusion as by master Foque had at Cisteaux, because there had been earthquakes [in the Holy Land]. If the walls of Tyre and Acre were to be rebuilt, it should be done with [some of] those funds.

English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

the funds entrusted to Citeaux [the mother house of the Cistercians], were taken to the Holy Land, and there was never a better arrangement than that made by master Fulk at Citeaux, for there had been earthquakes [in the Holy Land]; if the walls of Tyre and Acre were rebuilt, it should be done with some of those funds.

English from Ambraseys (2009)

. . . there were earthquakes: they broke down the walls of Tyre and Acre, which were [partly (MS difference: see 245 n. 6)] rebuilt. (Estoire 244-245).

Vulgar French from Recueil des historiens des croisades (1859)

CHAPITRE XXII.

... Li avoirs, qui fu comandé34 a Cisteaus, fu portez Outre mer35, ne onques avoir ne vint a si bon point corne celui que maistre Foque36 avoit a Cisteaus37 , car li crolles avoit38 esté en la terre39 ; si40 esoîent fondu1 li mur2 de Sur et d'Acre3 que len4 a refist toz d'une5 partie6 de cel avoira.
Footnotes

34 Qu'il comanda. c -

35 En la terre d'Outre mer. d. g.—

36 Fouques. A. —

37 Fu portez en la terre de Jérusa- lem par deus foiz par les frères de la maison. Et vos di por voir gue onques avoirs ne fu portez en meillor point, ne greignor bien ne fist en^i terre, com cil qui meistres Fouques de NuyUi avoit comandé a Cistiaus. c. Ne onques avoir si grant bien ne fist en la terre d'Outre mer comme cil fist. d. g. —

38 / avoit g. —

39 g. omet en la terre. —

40 Et. c. g..

1 Fendu, A. Fondus, G. —

2 Tous les murs. G. —

3 Li mur et les tors de Sur, d'Acre et de Baruth. c. Et d'Acre et de Baruth. D.G.. —

4 Qu'en, C.D.G. —

5 De l'une, A. —

6 D'une partie omis par D.G. —

7 D. et G. omettent ce chapitre. —

a « Praedictus quoque sacerdos Fulco magnam pecuniae quantitatem sibi pro Terrae sancto succursu oblatam apud Cistercienses locaverat, qua nulla fuit ultra marinis utilior; ea enim muri Ptolomayde ao Tyri, qui terra motu ruerant, resarciti sunt.» Sanuto, Fidel. Cruc. 1. III, part. xi, c. i, p. 203.

Vulgar French from Recueil des historiens des croisades (1859) - embedded



Chronology Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

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 and, presumably, 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 the year five hundred and ninety-seven of the Arabs

... And in this year there was great scarcity in Egypt, for the Nile did not overflow according to custom. And men ate the bodies of dead animals and also of men. And then pestilence followed upon famine closely. And there was also an earthquake and it destroyed many buildings and high walls in Damascus, and Emesa, and Hamath, and Tripoli, and Tyre, and 'Akko, and Shamrin (Samaria), and it reached Beth Rhomaye, but it was not violent in the East.

English from Budge(1932) - embedded



Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
12 Oct. 1200 - 30 Sept. 1201 CE A.H. 597 none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • The year appears incorrect
Seismic Effects Locations Sources
Source discussion

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 (Budge, 1932:vii).

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)

There was a violent earthquake which affected most regions of Egypt and Syria, Gazira [the Arabian peninsula], Bilad al-Rum [Byzantine territories], Sicily, Cyprus, Mosul, and Iraq; and they say it reached Sibtat [Ceuta] on the far side of the Maghreb [in Morocco].

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
10 Sept. 1203 CE to 28 Aug. 1204 CE A.H. 600 none
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned 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.

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

Abu'l-Fida provided two brief descriptions of what appears to be the same earthquake in A.H. 597 and A.H. 600. Both dates appear to be incorrect.
A.H. 597 Earthquake - English from Baron (1872)

A.H. 597

...A strong earthquake is felt in Mesopotamia, Syria and the maritime provinces, and a large number of cities collapsed.

A.H. 597 Earthquake - French from Baron (1872)

An 697 de l'hegire

... Un fort tremblement de terre se fait sentir en Mesopotamie, en syrie et dans les provinces maritimes, et renverse un grand nombre de villes.

A.H. 600 Earthquake - English from Baron (1872)

A.H. 600

... A violent earthquake is felt in Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Sicily, Cyprus, Iraq and elsewhere. The walls of Tyre were torn down.

A.H. 600 Earthquake - French from Baron (1872)

An 600 de l'hegire

... Un violent tremblement de terre se fait sentir en Egypte, en Syrie, en Mesopotamie, en Asie Mineure, en Sicile, en Chypre, en Iraq et ailleurs. Les murs de Tyr furent renverses.

A.H. 597 Earthquake - Arabic and French from Baron (1872) - embedded

  • see bottom part of lower left column on page 79 starting with Un fort tremblement de terre
  • from Baron (1872:79)
  • from archive.org


A.H. 600 Earthquake - Arabic and French from Baron (1872) - embedded

  • see upper part of lower left column on page 83 starting with Un violent tremblement de terre
  • from Baron (1872:83)
  • from archive.org


Chronology
Both Passages
Date Reference Corrections Notes
12 Oct. 1200 - 30 Sept. 1201 CE A.H. 597 none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • Year appears incorrect
10 Sept. 1203 - 28 Aug. 1204 CE A.H. 600 none
  • Calculated with CHRONOS
  • Year appears incorrect
Seismic Effects

Both Passages Locations

Both Passages 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.

Notes
Mistaken attribution by Ambraseys (2009)

Ambraseys (2009) made a mistake in his catalog and quoted a slightly different translation from al-Baghdadi which he attributed to Abu'l-Fida. Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)'s excerpts were correctly attributed. Ambraseys (2009) also listed a quote in the notes section from Ibn al-Jawzi (who died in 1200 CE - before the earthquake) when he likely meant Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi who was Ibn al-Jawzi's grandson.

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)

In that year [a.H. 597] there was a great earthquake in the month of Shaban [April-May 1201]. It came from the direction of Upper Egypt and spread over the world in a single hour. Buildings in Egypt were destroyed and many people disappeared under the destruction. It reached Syria and the coast, and Nablus was destroyed: only the walls of the Sumrah quarter were left standing. 30,000 people perished under the rubble. Likewise Akka and Tyre were destroyed, along with the fortresses of the coast. It encompassed Damascus: some of the minarets of the Umayyad Mosque were destroyed, and most of al-Kallasah and the Nuri hospital. The people fled to the public spaces. Sixteen galleries fell from the mosque. The Qubbah al-Nasr split. Banyas and Hunayn suffered as well. A group of people from Baalbek, travelling on the road, were buried under a mountain landslide and perished. Most of the citadel of Baalbek was destroyed. Homs, Hama, and Aleppo were affected. [The earthquake] crossed the sea to Cyprus. The sea split and rose like a mountain, hurling ships on to the shore and breaking up a number of them. It reached Akhlat, Armenia, Azarbayjan, and al-Jazirah, and also Ajam. It was said that thousands or 100,000 perished under the rubble. (Ibn al-Dawadari, vii. 149-150).

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
26 April 1202 CE to 24 May 1202 CE Sha'ban A.H. 598 (Year corrected) The year A.H. 597 appears incorrect. The correct year of A.H. 598 was used to make the calculation calculated using CHRONOS
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

Tatimmat al-mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar by Ibn al-Wardi

Tatimmat al-mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar by عمر ابن مظفر ابن الوردي

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn al-Wardi
Abū Ḥafs Zayn al-Dīn ʻUmar ibn al-Muẓaffar Ibn al-Wardī عمر ابن مظفر ابن الوردي
Zayn al-Din Abu Hafs `Umar ben Muzaffar b. `Umar Muhammad
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) describe Ibn al-Wardi as follows:

Ibn al-Wardi, Zayn al-Din Abu Hafs `Umar ben Muzaffar b. `Umar Muhammad (c.1290-1349)

A keen follower of Shafi'ism, he was a textual scholar, man of letters, historian and poet. He was educated in Syria, at Damascus, Aleppo and Hamah. He began his career in the magistracy before devoting himself entirely to literary activities. His Tatimmat mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar is simply an abridgement of Abu 'l-Fida's chronicle.
Based on reading other sources (e.g. Encyclopedia of Islam), there appears to be some doubt and confusion over his identity and biography.

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

There was an earthquake which affected Egypt, Syria, Gazira [the Arabian peninsula], Bilad al-Rum [Byzantine territories], Sicily, Cyprus and Iraq. And Sur [Tyre] was destroyed.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
10 Sept. 1203 CE to 28 Aug. 1204 CE A.H. 600 none
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Ibn al-Wardi, Tatimmat al-mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar, ii. 58, ed. Beirut, 1970

Ibn al-Wardi, Tatimmat al-mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar, Cairo, 1285/1868.

Annales de Terre Sainte by an anonymous Frenchman

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Annales de Terre Sainte is a brief Annals composed in Vulgar French in the 14th century CE by an anonymous French author covering events of the Crusades and Crusader states from 1095 until the fall of Acre in 1291 CE (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005 and wikipedia). It is one of the few available sources for the period 1277-1291: i.e. the closing years of the Latin presence in the Holy Land and depends heavily on information from William of Tyre and the Estoire d'Eracles empereur for earlier years (Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005).

Excerpts

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) note that very similar words are to be found in the Chronique de Terre Sainte.
English from Raynaud and Rohricht (1884)

In the year 1202, there was a great earthquake which toppled Acre and Sur (Tyre), Gibelet and Archis, and several other cities and the next year King Livon of Armenia entered Antioch and le print (?) and remained IIJ days.

In the year 1202, an earthquake devastated Acre, Sur (Tyre), Gibelet, and Archis, and part of Tripoli; and many Christian and Saracen towns.

Vulgar French from Raynaud and Rohricht (1884)

En M. CC et IJ, fu grans terremote et abati Acre et Sur, Gibelet et Arches, et plusieurs autres chitès ; et l'an après, entra le roy Livon d'Ermenie en Antioclie et le print , et deraoura dedens IIJ jours.

A. mil et CC et II, fu le crosle qui abati Acre, Sur, Gibelet et Arces et une partie de Triple; et chairent plusieurs chites des Crestiens et des Sarrasins.

Vulgar French from Raynaud and Rohricht (1884) - embedded



Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
1202 CE In the year 1202 none
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading Notes
Chronique de Terre Sainte

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) provide the following about Chronique de Terre Sainte

Chronique de Terre Sainte (early 14th c.) [Fr.]

One of three chronicles from the Latin East known as Les Gestes des Chiprois, the other two being the Histoire de la guerre qui fu entre l'empereur Frederic II et Johan d'Ibelin by Philippe de Navarre, and the Chronique du Templier de Tyr, attributed to Gerard de Montreal. It covers the period 1132-1224, and takes many of the events it records from the Estorie de Eracles and the Annales de Terre Sainte.
Ambraseys (2009) provided an English translation of an excerpt
In 1202 there was a great earthquake which demolished many houses in Acre, Tyre, Giblet, Tripoli, Arches, and many other houses belonging to the Christians and Saracens. (Gestes Chypr. RHC 59/663)
References

Chronique de Terre Sainte, in Les Gestes des Chiprois, ed. G.Raynaud (Publ. de la Soc. de l'Orient latin), vol.5, Geneve 1887.

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. 597. In Shawan, there was an earthquake almost over all the world, more particularly in Upper Egypt, where it caused great destruction ; it extended over Syria and the sea, Mesopotamia, the Greek Empire and Irak; it was particularly destructive in Syria. It was also felt in Armenia, Azerbijan, and it is calculated that through this earthquake 1,100,000 lives were lost. The first shock lasted but a short time, but after that it continued for several days, and it seems that it came from Mesopotamia to the sea-coast.

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
7 May 1201 CE to 4 June 1201 CE Sha'ban A.H. 597 none
  • Calculated using CHRONOS
  • The year appears incorrect
Seismic Effects Locations mnetioned 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

al-Ahkam al-mamlukiyya wa'l-dawabit al-namasiyya fi fann al-qital fi 'l-bahr by Ibn Munkala

al-Ahkam al-mamlukiyya wa'l-dawabit al-namasiyya fi fann al-qital fi 'l-bahr by Ibn Munkala

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn Munkala
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

I was unable to locate biographical information on Ibn Munkala. Since his manuscript is found in Cairo, he likely resided in Egypt.

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

Amongst the extraordinary things which happened in Cyprus, there was an earthquake in the year 597 which was felt from Syria to Mesopotamia, Byzantine territory and Iraq. The sea withdrew from the coast as far as Cyprus, throwing ships on to the island, and ending up on its eastern shores. God only knows how many earthquake victims there were.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
12 Oct. 1200 - 30 Sept. 1201 CE A.H. 597 none
  • Calculated using CHRONOS
  • The year appears incorrect
Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Ms. 23 Ta'rikh Taynyar, Ibn Munkala, al-Ahkam al-mamlukiyya wa'l-dawabit al-namasiyya fi fann al-qital fi 'l-bahr. DAR AL-KUTUB AL-MISRIYYA, NATIONAL LIBRARY, CAIRO

Al-Furqan Digital Library (Egypt)

Takvim al-tavarikh by Katib Celebi

Takvim al-tavarikh by كاتب جلبي

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Kâtip Çelebi كاتب جلبي
Ḥājjī Khalīfa حاجي خليفة
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Katib Celebi (1609-1657 CE) was a Turkish polymath who wrote principally in Arabic but also in Turkish and Persian (wikipedia).

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

[There was] a great earthquake in the Islamic lands.' (Katib celebi, Takvim, 76).

Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Katib Celebi (Hajji Khalifeh), Takvim al-tavarikh (with continuation by I. Muteferriqa), Istanbul, 1146/1733.

Other Authors

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) listed the following Latin sources which wrote about the earthquake up to the 13th century CE while noting that they were briefer and more general than the letters by Geoffrey of Donjon and Philip du Plessis. In most cases Ambraseys (2009) provided an excerpt.

Source Excerpt
Annales Uticenses from the abbey of St.Evroult d'Ouche, which were compiled by various hands from 1098 onwards (the earthquake is wrongly dated to 1203) 1203. There was an earthquake in almost all of Palestine, overturning cities and houses.' (Ann. Uticenses, see also Alexandre 1990,170).
Chronicle of Ralph of Coggeshall, a Cistercian monk who died in 1228 In that year [1202] a great earthquake happened in the land of Jerusalem, such as has not occurred from the Lord's Passion until now: for almost the whole of Tyre, that famous city, was overthrown with its inhabitants, and a third of Ptolemais, that is Acre, with its castle and towers, and other castles were also overthrown, as many in the Christian territory as in that of the Saracens. This particular earthquake even affected several places in England.' (Cogg. 141-142).
Speculum Maius of Vincent of Beauvais
Cronica of Salimbene de Adam (1202) In that year there was a great earthquake in Syria, in which cities and towns were engulfed.' (Sal. Ad. 23).
Cronica Imperatorum of Alberto Milioli AD 1202 . . In the same year there was a great earthquake in Syria, in which cities and towns were engulfed; and virtually the whole city of Tyre collapsed . . .' (Alb. Mil. 654).
Chronicon of William of Nangis (1202) On the 30th day of May there was an earthquake in Outremer, three days before the Ascension of the Lord, and a terrible sound was heard: a great part of the city of Acre collapsed with the royal palace, and many people died, almost all of Tyre was overthrown and Arches, a very well fortified town, was razed to the ground. Most of Tripolis collapsed, and a great many people died. Ancharadus ... came out of it unscathed. And after this the land was barren, and many people died.' (Will. Nang.).
Ambraseys (2009) provided excerpts from the following sources
Source Excerpt
‘Un rituel et un breviaire du Saint-Sepulchre de Jerusalem’ There was a great earthquake in Tyre, on the 3rd [ ]' (MS Barletta, Kohler 1901, 42/401).
Fratis Felicis Fabri evagatorium [30 March 1202] There was the greatest earthquake ever seen in Syria. The city of Acon, with all its palaces and many other buildings, was overthrown, and a similar fate befell many other cities.' (Fabri, i. 283b/ix. 350).
Hethoum Patmic, Table chronologique de Hethoum, Comte de Gor’igos ? (a.Arm. 651) Second earthquake. A large number of cities were overturned on the Sahel [littoral].' (Het'um Chron. 480).
Hethoum Patmic, Table chronologique de Hethoum, Comte de Gor’igos ? In 1202 the violent earthquake happened which destroyed Ak'a, Surplet', Arka and the great part of Trapawl [Soy], and many other cities.' (Het'um Pat. Het. Chron. n. 61).
Nicetas Choniates, Nicetae Choniatae Historia God showed himself to be [the] master of hours and times, and that he either speeds or hinders the journeys of men, for the floor by the Emperor's bed gave a little and a crack of considerable size opened in it. The emperor surprisingly escaped this danger . . (Choniat Bonn 701).
Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Travels Hence we reached Famagusta, a city built close to the sea, with a good harbour, slightly fortified. Here is the third suffrage see of the lord bishop of Nicosia. Near it is the site of the same city now destroyed, from which, they say, came that famous and blessed Epiphanius (Wilb. Old. xxvii/180/Excerpta 14).
Memorials of St Edmund’s Abbey `(1202) A great and terrible earthquake occurred in the Land of Jerusalem.' (Mem. Edm. Abb. 11).
Other secondary sources listed by Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) include Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Annales Uticenses, or Historia ecclesiastica d’Orderic Vital, vol. 5, in SHF (1855), pp. 139–179 (see also Alexandre (1990), pp. 48, 170 etc.).

Alexandre, P. (1990), Les seismes en Europe occidentale ´ de 394 a 1259 ` , Brussels: Observatoire Royale de Belgique

Cogg.: Ralph of Coggeshall, Chronicon Anglicanum, ed. J. Stevenson, Rolls Series vol. 66.

Speculum Maius of Vincent of Beauvais

Sal. Ad.: Salimbene de Adam, Cronica, MGH, vol. 32, sub ann.

Alb. Mil.: Albert Milioli, Cronica imperatorum, MGH 31

Will. Nang.: William of Nangis, RHF, vol. 20, p. 738

MS Barletta in Kohler, C. (1901), ‘Un rituel et un breviaire du Saint-Sepulchre de Jerusalem’, ´ Rev. de l’Orient Latin, 8, 383–469.

Attar, Franz (1540), in G. Raynaud, Les Gestes des Chyprois, vol. 5, Paris, 1887, p. 656; also in Kyriaka Chronika, vol. 12, Lenax, 1936, p. 10.

Fabri, Felix (1842–49), ‘Fratis Felicis Fabri evagatorium’ in C. Hassler (ed.), Terrae Sanctae, 3 volumes, Stuttgart: Bibliothek des Literarishen Vereins

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.). Choniat.: Nicetas Choniates, Nicetae Choniatae Historia, ed. I. Bekker, CSHB, Bonn, 1835; also City of Byzantium: Annals of Niketas Choniates, ed. Brand, trans. H. J. Magoulias, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1984.

Wilb. Old.: Wilbrand of Oldenburg, Travels, ed. J. C. M. Laurent, Perigrinatores medii aevi quatuor, pp. 161–191, 2nd edn, Leipzig, 1873; also in Cobham (1908)

Cobham, C. D. (1908), Excerpta Cypria, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mem. Edm. Abb.: Memorials of St Edmund’s Abbey, Chronicle, ed. T. Arnold, Rolls Series no. 96, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1892, vol. 2.

Historiography

Ambraseys and Melville (1988:185) provide a short summary of historical context and background

The political context of the earthquake is briefly outlined in Mayer (1972, 1984) and more fully in Callen (1940), Runciman (1971) and Setton (1969), where detailed reference is made to the narrative sources available. The Crusader states had been greatly reduced by Saladin's campaign of 1187 and only partially reconstituted by the Third Crusade. Regarding the non-Muslim accounts, it is unfortunate that the main political and military developments at this time were not taking place in the Levant at all, but lay in the preparations for the ill-fated Fourth Crusade. The focus is not therefore so clearly on events in the east, where the Crusader states were on the defensive and greatly reduced in their sphere of operations. Most of the relatively few places retained by the Christians are mentioned in European accounts, all in the truncated kingdom of Jerusalem and the county of Tripoli, on or near the coastal strip. No details are given in Christian sources of wider effects in the Syrian hinterland. Similarly, no details are given of the shock further north, in the principality of Antioch, beyond the indications that it was not so severe there.
Online Versions and Further Reading

Archaeoseismic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Tel Ateret aka Vadun Jacob possible to probable 9-10+
Vadum Jacob Earthquake - probably 1202 CE

Maps and Plans

  • Plan of Vadum Jacob fortress with offsets Fig. 2a&b from Ellenblum et al (1998).
Trench Log
  • Trench Log from Vadum Jacob fortress . from Ellenblum et al (1998)
Ellenblum et al (1998:304) report, based on historical sources (e.g. William of Tyre, Abu-Shama, Ibn-al-Athir, and 'Imad al-Din al-Isfhani), that the foundation stone of the castle [of Vadum Jacob] was laid in October 1178 CE. The castle, only partially constructed at the time, was besieged and destroyed 11 months later, on 30 August 1179 CE providing a terminus post quem of 1179 CE for its seismic destruction. Up to ~2.1 m of lateral slip was observed in the southern and northern defense walls along with up to 10 cm. of vertical slip. 0.5 m of the lateral slip was attributed to a later seismic event which damaged an Ottoman Mosque which was later built on the site. This left ~1.6 m of slip between the military destruction of the castle in 1179 CE and the seismic event that damaged the Ottoman mosque. In order to produce a terminus ante quem for initial seismic damage to Vadum Jacob, a trench was dug parallel to the southern face of the castle in which 4 units were identified. Units 1 and 2 were recorded as having been deposited on or prior to the castle's military destruction on 30 August 1179 CE. A fallen ashlar block on top of Unit 2 was presumed to have fallen immediately after the Muslim conquest as a historical source document (Abu-Shama) details partial dismantling of the castle soon after it was conquered. Colluvial Unit 3 was dated from 1179 CE to present and was presumed to have accumulated in the centuries after the Muslim conquest. Unit 4 is a modern bioturbated soil horizon. Faults within the trench were associated with seismic displacement of the Crusader wall and a later seismic event. Ellenblum et al (1998:305) described the faults as follows:
The faults extend to two different stratigraphic levels: One group of faults displaces the alluvium of unit 1 and the limy level of unit 2, but extends only a few centimeters into post-1179 unit 3; the second group of faults breaks much higher into the colluvial wedge, up to the base of the modern soil horizon, and possibly to the surface. These observations suggest that at least two earthquakes produced the 2.1 m offset of the southern wall that is now observed. One event occurred soon after the outer ashlar wall was removed, i.e., very soon after 1179. The second post-1179 earthquake also produced rupture at Vadum Jacob, but well after removal of the wall and the accumulation of the colluvium, probably much closer to the present.
Although a strict terminus ante quem was not established, the trench suggests that an earthquake struck soon after military destruction of the castle leaving the 1202 CE earthquake as the most likely candidate.

Baalbek I can't find any archaeoseismic information on Baalbek for this time period.
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.

al-Marqab Citadel possible to probable ≥7
Kázmér and Major (2010) estimated an Intensity of 8-9 but did not consider the possibility of a slope or ridge effect
Earthquake I - 1187-1285 CE

Kázmér and Major (2010:194) report the following:

Earthquake 1 produced the V-shaped extrusion on top of the donjon (60°–240°). This earthquake occurred after the donjon was completed and before the southern tower was built: there are no traces at all of this damage direction on the southern tower. Earthquake 1 occurred during the interval between 1187 and 1285, after Hospitallers took the castle and before Mamluk occupation. A candidate earthquake is that of 1202, this being the largest in the Middle East ever recorded (see Table 1).

While caution must be exercised in assigning damage azimuth to epicenter direction, according to Ambraseys and Melville (1988), the epicenter of the 1202 earthquake was south of Al-Marqab, in the Bekaa Valley, while all major successive earthquakes had their epicenters to the north, near Aleppo (see also Fig. 1).
Kázmér and Major (2010:196) also stated
Earthquake 1 consisted of vibration in SW-NE plane, damaging the donjon and room M3. It was a major event between 1187 and 1285, possibly the 1202 earthquake.

Chastel Blanc possible to probable ≥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
Tel Ateret aka Vadun Jacob



Baalbek



Tell Ya'amun



al-Marqab Citadel



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 to probable ≥ 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 possible ≥ 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 n/a
Dead Sea - En Feshka possible 8.1 - 8.9 (12 cm.)
8.0 - 8.8 (28 cm.)
8.1 - 8.9 (40 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)
12 7 4 1277 CE ± 17 1303 CE ± 64 1293 CE Quake 1293 CE Quake
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
Dead Sea - En Gedi possible ?
  • Seismites assigned to earthquakes in 1202, 1212, and 1293 CE from Agnon et al (2006)
Migowski et. al. (2004) listed the 1202 CE earthquake 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 possible 8.2 -9.0 At site ZA-1, Ken-Tor et al (2001a) assigned a a date of 1212 CE to a ~10 cm. thick Type 4 seismite which they labeled as Event E and was dated between 1220 and 1390 CE (± 2σ). In Table 4 of Kagan et. al. (2011), a 10.5 cm. thick seismite at ZA-1 was associated with the 1212 CE earthquake. At site ZA-2, Kagan et. al. (2011) did not find any seismites whose time window encompassed 1202 CE.
Araba - Introduction n/a n/a n/a
Araba - Qasr Tilah unlikley to possible ≥ 7 Haynes et al. (2006) dated Events II and III to between the 7th and 12th centuries CE.
Araba - Taybeh Trench unlikely LeFevre et al. (2018) did not assign any seismic events to an earthquake in 1202 CE.
Araba - Qatar Trench possible ≥ 7 Klinger et. al. (2015) identified one seismic event which fits but was assigned to the 1212 CE earthquake..
Event Mean Date Age Range Quake Assignment (Klinger) Quake Assignment (Williams)
E2 1212 CE ± 57 1155-1269 CE 1212 CE Quake not assigned
Araba - Taba Sabhka Trench possible ≥ 7 Allison (2013) assigned a 1068 CE date to a seismic event which they dated to between 1045 and 1661 CE and Allison (2013) assigned a 1212 CE date to a seismic event which they dated to between the mid 11th century CE and the 16-17th centuries CE.
Araba - Shehoret, Roded, and Avrona Alluvial Fan Trenches possible ≥ 7 Events 7, 8, and 9 in Trench T-18 have a wide spread of ages however, taken together, the evidence suggests the 1212 CE, 1068 CE, and one earlier earthquake, perhaps between ~500 CE and 1000 CE, struck the area. Zilberman et al (2005) also discovered an early Islamic ranch in the western part of Avrona playa. The ranch was dated to the 11th century CE and was abandoned during the same century - an abandonment which Zilberman et al (2005) attributed to the effects of the 1068 CE earthquake. They measured 1 m of displacement of a Qanat (a covered water canal) on the ranch which they also attributed to the 1068 CE earthquake although it is possible that the displacement was caused by an earthquake which struck the area in 1212 CE.
Araba - Elat Sabhka Trenches possible Kanari et al (2020) suggested that a dewatering structure (aka a liquefaction fluid escape structure) found in Trench T1 and dated to before 1269-1389 CE was caused by the 1068 CE Quake(s) or the 1212 CE Quake.
Araba - Trenches in Aqaba possible ≥ 7 Niemi (2011:153) noted that the most recent scarp-forming event fault [in Trench AQ-1] occurred after A.D. 1045-1278 based on a corrected, calibrated radiocarbon age from charcoal collected from a buried campfire at the base of the scarp in Trench T-1. This likely represents fault motion in one of the historical earthquakes affecting southern Jordan (e.g. 1068, 1212, 1458, or 1588).
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)
12 7 4 1277 CE ± 17 1303 CE ± 64 1293 CE Quake 1293 CE Quake
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


Dead Sea - En Gedi

Migowski et. al. (2004) listed the 1202 CE earthquake 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

At site ZA-1, Ken-Tor et al (2001a) assigned a a date of 1212 CE to a ~10 cm. thick Type 4 seismite which they labeled as Event E and was dated between 1220 and 1390 CE (± 2σ). In Table 4 of Kagan et. al. (2011), a 10.5 cm. thick seismite at ZA-1 was associated with the 1212 CE earthquake. At site ZA-2, Kagan et. al. (2011) did not find any seismites whose time window encompassed 1202 CE.



Araba - Introduction



Araba - Qasr Tilah

Haynes et al. (2006) dated Events II and III to between the 7th and 12th centuries CE.



Araba - Taybeh Trench

LeFevre et al. (2018) did not assign any seismic events to an earthquake in 1202 CE.



Araba - Qatar Trench

Klinger et. al. (2015) identified one seismic event which fits but was assigned to the 1212 CE earthquake.

Event Mean Date Age Range Quake Assignment (Klinger) Quake Assignment (Williams)
E2 1212 CE ± 57 1155-1269 CE 1212 CE Quake not assigned


Taba Sabhka Trench

Allison (2013) assigned a 1068 CE date to a seismic event which they dated to between 1045 and 1661 CE and Allison (2013) assigned a 1212 CE date to a seismic event which they dated to between the mid 11th century CE and the 16-17th centuries CE.



Shehoret, Roded, and Avrona Alluvial Fan Trenches

Events 7, 8, and 9 in Trench T-18 have a wide spread of ages however, taken together, the evidence suggests the 1212 CE, 1068 CE, and one earlier earthquake, perhaps between ~500 CE and 1000 CE, struck the area.

Zilberman et al (2005) also discovered an early Islamic ranch in the western part of Avrona playa. The ranch was dated to the 11th century CE and was abandoned during the same century - an abandonment which Zilberman et al (2005) attributed to the effects of the 1068 CE earthquake. They measured 1 m of displacement of a Qanat (a covered water canal) on the ranch which they also attributed to the 1068 CE earthquake although it is possible that the displacement was caused by an earthquake which struck the area in 1212 CE.



Araba - Elat Sabhka Trenches

Kanari et al (2020) suggested that a dewatering structure (aka a liquefaction fluid escape structure) found in Trench T1 and dated to before 1269-1389 CE was caused by the 1068 CE Quake(s) or the 1212 CE Quake.



Araba - Trenches in Aqaba

Niemi (2011:153) noted that the most recent scarp-forming event fault [in Trench AQ-1] occurred after A.D. 1045-1278 based on a corrected, calibrated radiocarbon age from charcoal collected from a buried campfire at the base of the scarp in Trench T-1. This likely represents fault motion in one of the historical earthquakes affecting southern Jordan (e.g. 1068, 1212, 1458, or 1588).



Notes

Ambraseys (2009)


Fig. 16. Map of intensity distribution for May 20, 1202 earthquake
(Ambraseys and Melville, 1988). Shaded zone is the most affected
region. (from Sbeinati et al, 2005)

AD 1202 May 20 Baalbek

A large earthquake occurred in the Middle East around daybreak on 20 May 1202. It was felt across an area of radius 500 km: from the Nile Delta in the south to Lesser Armenia in the north and from Cyprus in the west to the eastern parts of Syria. It caused widespread damage in Syria. In Tyre, everything, with the exception of three towers and some outlying fortifications, was destroyed. A third of Acre was probably destroyed, with considerable damage to the royal palace and the walls, although the Knights Templar complex in the southwest of the city was spared. At least some repairs took place in both cities. Inland, in Samaria (Shamrin) and Hauran, dam- age was equally severe. It was reported that Safa was partially destroyed, resulting in the deaths of all but the son of the garrison commander. Also Hunin (Chastel Neuf), Baniyas (Paneas) and Tibnin (Toron) were badly affected. The walls at Bait Jann collapsed. A landslide reportedly razed a village near Busra to the ground and Nablus was totally flattened, except for a few walls, and may have sustained further damage in an aftershock. Most of the towns of the Hauran were so badly damaged as to be rendered unidentifiable.

Jerusalem suffered relatively little, but further north Damascus was strongly shaken. Many houses apparently collapsed and major buildings near the citadel were damaged. The Ummayad mosque lost its eastern minaret and 16 crenellations on its north wall. One man died when the Jirun (eastern) gate fell and the lead dome split in two and one of the other minarets fissured. The adjacent Kallasa mosque was ruined, killing two people, and the nearby Nur ed Din Hospital was completely flattened. People fled to the safety of open spaces.

Further north, houses collapsed in Jubail (Gibelet), the battlements of the walls of Beirut had to be repaired and Batun was damaged, but this damage may have been due, at least partially, to military attacks. Rock falls on Mt Lebanon killed 200 people and nearby Baalbek was almost totally ruined. Damage to Tripoli was probably substantial, since it is said that there was loss of life. The castles of Arches (`Arqa) and Arsum (`Arima?) were almost destroyed, and Chastel Blanc (Safitha) was badly weakened, while the castles of Margat (Marqab), Krak (Hisn al-Akrad) and Barin suffered some damage but remained secure. Tarsus (Tortosa) largely escaped damage, however. At Hims (Homs, Emessa) the earthquake caused a castle watchtower to collapse. In Hamah there were two shocks, the first lasting for a long time, then a second, stronger shock, which destroyed the castle and many other buildings.

The earthquake was felt in Aleppo and other regional capitals, and less strongly in Antioch. It was perceptible at a few places further away, such as Mosul and in Mesopotamia, at Akhlat and from Qus on the Nile. In Egypt, the shock was felt in Alexandria and in Cairo woke sleepers and shook buildings, threatening the collapse of tall structures. In Cyprus the earthquake was felt, causing no damage, but it was felt strongly on the east coast of the island, where a seismic sea wave flooded the eastern coast of Cyprus and the coast of Syria. The death toll is uncertain bacause the earthquake coincided with famine and plague, but it must have been high, since it struck at daybreak when most people were still in bed.

Aftershocks lasting at least four days were reported in Hamah, Damascus and Cairo. For an attempt to locate a probable coseismic surface fault break the basis of exclusively on geomorphology, see Ellenblum et al. (1998) and Daeron et al. (2005) This earthquake has been examined by Ambraseys and Melville (1988). However, new data have been found, and the intensity has been re-evaluated using a modified version of the MSK intensity scale, which takes into account the high vulnerability of the building stock in the region, necessitating a review of the original conclusions. Also because of the importance of the event and for the sake of completeness, a summary and full translations of the most important sources are given here.

This was a major earthquake in the upper Jordan and Litani Valleys, responsible for tens of thousands of casualties in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Owing to the Crusader presence in the Levant, information on the effects of the earthquake is available from both Chritian and Muslim authors. Both sets of data naturally refer most particularly to the territory belonging to their respective sides, but they complement each other to a large degree. It is clear that most of the chronological confusion surrounding the event has been caused by the uncritical use of Muslim chronicles. It is also remarkable that hardly any use has been made of western sources, which are far more accessible to most European authors and unambiguously resolve the dating of the earthquake. These works, though largely ignored by earthquake cataloguers, are of course well known to the historians of the Crusades (e.g. Rehricht 1898).

The political context of the earthquake is briefly outlined in Mayer (1972; 1989; see also [1, 2]) and more fully in Cahen (1940), Runciman (1951; 1952; 1954; 1965) and Setton (1969), where detailed reference is made to the narrative sources available. The Crusader states had been greatly reduced by Saladin's campaign of 1187 and only partially reconstituted by the Third Crusade, most of their defenses being in a vulnerable state of repair. Regarding the non-Muslim accounts, it is unfortunate that the main political and military developments at this time were taking place outside the Levant, in preparation for the ill-fated Fourth Crusade. The focus is not, therefore, so clearly on events in the east, where the Crusader states were on the defensive and greatly reduced in terms of their sphere of operations. Most of the few places retained by the Christians are mentioned in European accounts, all in the truncated kingdom of Jerusalem and the county of Tripoli, on or near the coastal strip. No details of wider effects in the Syrian hinterland are given in Christian sources. Similarly, no details of the shock further north, in the principality of Antioch, are provided, beyond the indications that it was not severe there.

The two letters from the Hospitaller and Templar Grand Masters published in Mayer (1972) contain the fullest occidental accounts and refer particularly to the possessions of their respective Orders. Very few additional details are found in other sources (among them the references to Jubail in various texts of the Annales de Terre Sainte). As demonstrated by Mayer, the near contemporary account of Robert of Auxerre (died 1212) has many points of similarity with Philip du Plessis' description. Variations of date occur in the Christian sources, but not concerning the year. William of Nangis (died c. 1300) gives 30 May, three days before Ascension (which was in fact on 23 May in 1202). Felix Fabri (fl. 1480) has 30 March. The Barletta manuscript (Kohler 1901, 401) appears to read 3 March. Most of these sources are telegraphic, containing only general information.

Arabic sources from the Muslim areas surrounding the Christian states naturally offer a broader perspective and provide the most information. Just as both the contemporary European letters date the earthquake to Monday 20 May 1202, so do a comparable pair of Arabic letters from Hamah and Damascus. These were received by `Abd al-Latif b. al-Labbad al-Baghdadi, who was in Cairo at the time of the earthquake and wrote his account in Ramadan 600/May 1204, two years after the event. Both he and the letters he transcribes give the date as early on the morning of Monday 26 Sha'aban 598 hijri (Muslim calendar = 21 May 1202, which was a Tuesday) or 25 Pashon (Coptic calendar = Monday 20 May). A discrepancy of one day is common when converting from the Muslim calendar. As noted above, the latter date is confirmed by the contemporary European accounts. Abu Shama, quoting the testimony of al-'Izz Muhammad b. Taj al-Umana' (died a.H. 643/AD 1245), also had Monday 26 Sha'ban, 598 or 20 Ab (Syriac calendar = August (sic.) 1202).

There can thus be no doubt that the correct Muslim year is 598 a.H. which runs from 1 October 1201 to 19 September 1202. Unfortunately other later Arabic texts contain variations on the date of the earthquake and in some cases split its effects into accounts of separate events in different years. The most influential of these alternative texts is that of Ibn al-Athir of Mosul (died 1233), who has a general account of the earthquakes felt throughout Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria and elsewhere, dated Sha'ban 597 a.H. which is a year early. It is not clear whether he refers to the same event. His account is followed almost verbatim in the Syriac Chronicle of Bar Hebraeus (Abu 'l-Faraj, died 1286), and in greatly abbreviated form by Abu 'l-Fida (died 1331), under 597 a.H. Another early source, Abu 1-Fada'il of Hamah (c. 1233) has a brief notice of the shock under 597 a.H. It is of interest that he does not refer to the shock in Hamah, but mentions that it destroyed most of the towns belonging to the 'Franks'. Reconciling these accounts is no problem; it is simply that an error of one year has occurred.

A greater problem is introduced since Ibn al- Athir has another, shorter but similar, account of the (same) earthquake under the year 600 a.H. (10 September 1203 to 28 August 1204), without specifying the month. He says that the shock destroyed the walls of Tyre and also affected Sicily and Cyprus. This 'second' earthquake is once more reported by Bar Hebraeus and Abu 'l-Fida. A similar account, with the addition of new information that the shock was felt in Sabta (Ceuta), is given by Ibn Wasil (died 1298). Since Ibn Wasil was a native of Hamah, it is surprising that he does not have access to independent local information. Neither does he have any reference to the shock under 597 or 598 a.H. It is not clear why Ibn al-Athir should duplicate his account under the dates 597 and 600 a.H., but it is perhaps sufficient to note that this sort of duplication is not uncommon in both European and Islamic medieval chronicles. Within this repetition, there must be some echo of large aftershocks or a prolonged period of seismic activity.

Two separate notices are also found in the chronicle of Sibt b. al-Jauzi (died 1256), this time under 597 and 598 a.H. The first account, under Sha'ban 597 a.H. echoes that of `Abd al-Latif, while mentioning a few additional places. The date, however, is the one given by Ibn al-Athir. Sibt b. al-Jauzi supports this date by saying (480) that after these earthquakes in a.H. 597/AD 1201, both 'Imad al-Din (the historian whose work he had earlier quoted for an account of the famine in Egypt that year) and the author's own grandfather (the historian Ibn al-Jauzi) died. It is generally accepted that both men did indeed die in this year and thus 'before the earthquake'. This is awkward to explain, but the author is probably trying to rationalise two conflicting pieces of chronological data. He is not so much dating the deaths by reference to the earthquake as accommodating the false date that he has accepted for the earthquake within the sequence of other events that year. Under the correct year, 598 a.H. he has a much briefer account, describing damage to the castles at Hims and Hisn al-akrad. He says the shock extended to Cyprus and destroyed what was left of Nablus (i.e. after the first earthquake). This implies two shocks. On the other hand, Sibt b. al-Jauzi's second account is not unlike Ibn al-Athir's second account (under 600 a.H.), and may again simply be an attempt to accommodate the conflicting dates. It is significant that Sibt b. al-Jauzi has no report of an earthquake under 600 a.H. Abu Shama, who quotes Sibt b. al-Jauzi's accounts under 597 and 598 a.H. in turn, in both cases cites the additional testimony of al'Izz b. Taj al-umana', a descendant of Ibn `Asakir and continuator of the latter's Biographical History of Damascus (Cahen, 1940). It is clear that the first part of Sibt b. al-Jauzi's 597 a.H. account also follows al-'Izz. Under 598 a.H. al-'Izz records the effect of the shock in northern Syria and in Damascus, with some minor details in addition to those provided by `Abd al-Latif.

A1-Suyuti summarises the dating confusion found in his sources, by entering the earthquake under 597 a.H. (quoting al-Dhahabi, `Ibar and Sibt b. al-Jauzi), 598 a.H. (quoting Sibt b. al-Jauzi) and 600 a.H. (citing Ibn al-Athir). Later sources add no details. It is worth noting that the Aleppo author Ibn al-'Adim (died 1262) makes no reference to the earthquake under any of the years found elsewhere.

Despite the conspicuous duality of accounts in almost all Muslim sources, probably reflecting protracted aftershock activity, there remains no evidence of more than one principal but multiple earthquake. Apart from the silence of contemporary occidental and oriental authors, `Abd al-Latif was in a position to record separate earthquakes in both 597 and 600 a.H. had they occurred. The amalgamation of these several accounts therefore removes much of the mystery surrounding the a.H. 598/AD 1202 event, and allows a coherent identification of its effects and the area over which it was felt. Many sources speak of strong effects and significant damage along the Mediterranean littoral of Syria, affecting both the 'Franks' and the 'Saracens' (Abu 'l-Fada'il, fol. 113a-b; Hethum Gor'igos, 480, Ibn al- Furat, 240). Specifically, the two main Christian centres, Acre and Tyre, were severely damaged, with loss of life. Contemporary letters (Mayer 1972) speak of damage to walls and towers in both cities, including the palace at Acre. The house of the Templars in Acre (in the southwest of the city, see Enlart 1928, 23) was, however, fortunately spared. All but three towers and some outlying fortifications were destroyed in Tyre, together with churches and many houses. The English chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall (died 1228) says that most of Tyre and one third of Acre were overthrown (Cogg. 141-2). Muslim sources largely confirm this, `Abd al-Latif stating that the greatest part of Acre and one third of Tyre were destroyed. Intensities in Tyre may be assessed as having been higher than those in Acre, respectively about IX and VIII. Funds were made available for both cities to be reconstructed (L'Estoire de Eracles, 245; Sanuto ii, 203), though no specific indication of the extent of these repairs is available (Enlart 1928, 4, Deschamps 1939, 137).

Inland from the Christian territories, in Shamrin (Samaria) and Hauran, damage was equally serious. It was reported that Safad was partially ruined, with the loss of all but the son of the garrison commander; also Hunin (Chastel Neuf), Baniyas (Paneas) and Tibnin (Toron) were badly affected. At Bait Jann (Bedegene), not even the foundations of walls remained standing, everything having been 'swallowed up'. Two possibilities present themselves for the identification of Bait Jann out of the three noted by de Sacy in `Abd al-Latif (446), both being known to the Crusaders (see Dussaud 1927, 7, 391). The first is 10 km west of Safad and the second on the road between Damascus and Baniyas (see Ibn Jubayr (300), who described it as situated in between the mountains). The context in which Bait Jann is mentioned by `Abd al- Latif allows either alternative to be acceptable, but the second .is preferred here because the location was better known as marking the boundary between Muslims and Franks before the conquests of Saladin (cf. Deschamps 1939, 146). In Nablus there was total destruction except for some walls in the 'Street of the Samaritans', while in Hauran province most of the towns were so badly damaged that they could not be readily identified (`Abd al- Latif, 417, Sibt b. al-Jauzi, 478). It is said that one of the villages around Busra was completely destroyed, perhaps by landslides (Ibn al-Athir, xii, 112).

To the south of this area, Jerusalem suffered lightly, according to the information available to `Abd al- Latif (415, 417). His account indicates that further north, however, Damascus was strongly shaken. A number of houses are reported to have collapsed and besides the destruction in town, major buildings near the citadel were damaged. The Umayyad mosque lost its eastern minaret and 16 ornamental battlements along its north wall. One man was killed in the collapse of the Jirun (eastern) gate of the mosque. The lead dome of the mosque was split in two and one other minaret fissured (cf. Le Strange 1890, 241). The adjacent Kallasa mosque was ruined, killing a North African and a Mamluk slave (Abu Shama, 29, quoting al-'Izz). This building had been founded in 1160 by Nur al-Din and restored by Saladin in 1189 after its destruction by fire (Elisseeff 1967, 294). West of the mosque, Nur ad Din's hospital was completely destroyed. People fled for the safety of open spaces. The shock in Damascus was of long duration and old men could not recall ever .having felt such a severe tremor (`Abd al-Latif, 416-417). Previous destructive earthquakes had occurred in 1157 and 1170. Another slight shock was felt early the following morning (Abu Shama, 29), and aftershocks continued for at least four days (`Abd al-Latif, 417). Further north, houses are said to have collapsed at Jubail (Gibelet), which had recently been recovered by the German Crusade (1197), restoring the land link between the Kingdom of Acre and the County of Tripoli (Annales de Terre Sainte, 435, Chronique de Terre Sainte, 16). The walls of Beirut, also regained in 1197, are said to have been repaired at about this time following earthquake damage (variant readings in L'Estoire de Eracles (244-245) incorrectly under 1200; likewise Ernoul, 338). The fact that the Prince of Batrun, a Pisan, granted his compatriots remission of taxation early in 1202 indicates that this town too suffered damage (Muralt 1871, 264). The extent of the destruction is not easy to assess in these places. The walls of Jubail were dismantled by Saladin in 1190 and were probably not rebuilt after the Christian takeover. Wilbrand of Oldenburg, who visited Jubail in 1211, found only a strong citadel, and a similar situation in Beirut and Batrun (166-167; cf. Rey 1871, 121). There is therefore the danger that the extensive military operations in the period before and during the Third Crusade are misreported as earthquake damage, and even if this is not the case, some of these castles may have been rendered more vulnerable by acts of warfare. Inland rock falls from Mt Lebanon, however, overwhelmed about 200 people from Baalbek who were gathering rhubarb. Baalbek itself was destroyed despite its strength and solidity (`Abd al-Latif, 416).

In the County of Tripoli, the Christian sources disagree slightly on the degree of damage to Tripoli itself, though both main accounts refer to heavy loss of life (Mayer 1972). Ibn al-Athir (xii, 112) also refers to the heavy damage there, suggesting intensities not less than VIII. Other strongholds were severely shaken. The castle of 'Arco (Arches) was ruined and deserted villages in the area were taken by Philip du Plessis to indicate heavy loss of life, but perhaps this simply implied the flight of the inhabitants, since famine and sickness were also rife. It may be noted that Rey (1871, 92) cites `Abd al-Latif and Robert of Auxerre concerning an earthquake in Sha'ban 597 (sic.)120 May 1202 that destroyed Jebel `Akkar and Chastel Blanc, falsely equating `Archas' with `Akkar, which the occidentals called Gibelcar. The destruction of `Arqa is also mentioned by Arab writers (`Abd al-Latif, 417, Abu Shama, 29). Philip du Plessis records the complete destruction of the castle at `Arsum', which is not satisfactorily identified but perhaps refers to `Arima. Mayer (1972, 304) is reluctant to identify Arsum but points to the possibility of Arsuf, near Caesarea. Support for this is found in the account of the pilgrimage of Wilbrand of Oldenburg, who in 1212 found the small ruined town of `Arsim' (Arsuf) on his way to Ramla (184). As Mayer mentions, however, the letter seems to refer rather to a place in Tripoli, and `Arima is suggested on the grounds (1) that it probably belonged to the Templars and (2) it was one of the few strongholds retained by the Christians in the truce that ended the Third Crusade (Setton 1969, i. 664). It is situated a few miles south-southwest of Chastel Blanc. Philip further reported that the greater part of the walls of the Templar stronghold Chastel Blanc (Safitha) had fallen and the keep had been weakened to such an extent that it would have been better had it collapsed completely. `Abd al-Latif (417) also mentions the destruction of the castle. The castle keep was probably rebuilt using existing materials (Deschamps 1977, 257-258). Tortosa (Tartus), however, its Templar citadel and notably the Cathedral of Notre Dame seem largely to have been spared (Berchem and Fatio 1914, 323; Enlart 1928, 397).

The Grand Master of the Hospitallers (Geoffrey of Donjon) wrote that their strongholds at Margat (Marqab) and Krak were badly damaged but could probably still hold their own in the event of attack. Damage to Krak (Hisn al-akrad) is also mentioned in the account of Sibt b. al-Jauzi (510). In the same vicinity, but in Muslim, hands, the castle of Barin (Montferrand), despite its compactness and fineness, was also damaged (`Abd al-Latif, 416).

There is little additional evidence to help assess the intensities indicated by these reports. Authors of studies of military architecture (e.g. Rey 1871, Deschamps 1934; 1977) on the whole use documentary evidence of earthquakes to support the chronology and identification of building phases at the castles, rather than documentary or archaeological evidence of rebuilding to indicate the extent of earthquake damage. Indeed, it is interesting that Deschamps, unaware of the reports of earthquake damage at Marqab in 1202, makes no reference to this specific period as being one of substantial building at the castle (Deschamps 1977, 282-284), whereas in the case of Krak, damage done by the earthquake is thought to have been responsible for some of the reconstruction work analysed (Deschamps 1934, 281). Even so, the fact that the knights of Krak were frequently on the offensive in the next few years after 1203, and were joined by the knights from Marqab, is thought to indicate that both castles Were 'already in a perfect state of defence'. These raids may rather suggest that attack was the best form of defence. Nevertheless, the circumstantial testimony by Geoffrey can be taken at face value and is supported by the fact that Marqab successfully resisted a counter-attack by al-Malik al-Zahir, amir of Aleppo, in a.H. 601/AD 1204-1205 (Ibn Wasil, iii. 165). Both Marqab and Krak were visited in 1211 by Wilbrand of Oldenburg and seemed to his probably unprofessional gaze to be very strong, the latter housing 2000 defendants (169-170). Few details are available about Barin, which was finally dismantled in 1238-39 (Deschamps 1977, 322). It seems unlikely that intensities exceeding VII coupled with a long duration of shaking were experienced at any of these strongholds.

In neighbouring Muslim territory, the shock was experienced at similar intensities in Hims (Hons, Emessa), where a watchtower of the castle was thrown down (Sibt b. al-Jauzi, 510), and Hamah, where the earthquake was experienced as two shocks, the first lasting 'an hour' and the second shorter but stronger. Despite its strength, the castle was destroyed, together with houses and other buildings. Two further shocks followed in the afternoon (`Abd al-Latif, 416). Considerable damage to houses in both towns is implied by Ibn al-Athir (xii, 112).

Further north, the earthquake is said to have been felt in Aleppo and other regional capitals (Sibt b. al-Jauzi, 478), and also in Antioch, though less strongly (Geoffrey of Donjon). It was also reported as being perceptible in Mosul and throughout the districts of Mesapotamia, as far as Iraq. Azerbaijan, Armenia, parts of Anatolia and the town of Akhlat are said to have experienced the earthquake (Ibn al-Athir, xii, 112; Sibt b. al-Jauzi, 478).

In the south, the shock was felt throughout Egypt from Qus to Alexandria. Sibt b. al-Jauzi (478, probably quoting al-'Izz) says that the shock came from al-Sa'id and extended into Syria, al-Sa'id being the region south of Fustat (Old Cairo) down to Aswan (Yaqut, iii, 392). In Cairo, the shock was of long duration and aroused sleepers, who jumped from their beds in fear. Three violent shocks were reported, shaking buildings, doors and roofs. Only tall or vulnerable buildings were particularly affected, and those on high ground, seemed on the verge of collapse (`Abd al-Latif, 414-415). The details provided indicate that Egypt experienced shaking of long duration, as is typical of other large earthquakes occurring at great epicentral distances away (Ambraseys 1991; 2001).

Another earthquake, probably of considerable magnitude, was felt at about midday the same morning, probably the one reported from Hamah at midday on Tuesday 27 Sha'ban (21 May). It should have been a large shock but its effects cannot be separated from those of the main shock.

The shocks were felt in Cyprus, which had been under Frankish rule since 1191, the earthquake causing some damage to churches, belfries and other buildings (Annales 5689, fol. 108b; `Abd al-Latif, 415; Ibn al-Athir, xii, 130). Damage to buildings is not, however, very well attested and it is noteworthy that most of the `cypriot chronicles' refer only to damage on the mainland. In the words of the Arabic authors, the sea between Cyprus and the coast 'parted and mountainous waves were piled up, throwing ships up onto the land'. It is said that the eastern parts of the island and of the Syrian coast were flooded and numbers of fish were left stranded (`Abd al-Latif, 415; Ibn Mankali in Taher 1979). The significance of this seismic sea wave is discussed below.

The loss of life caused by this earthquake and its aftershocks is difficult to estimate. A figure frequently quoted in Arab sources is 1 100 000 dead (e.g. al-Dhahabi, iv, 296, al-Suyuti, 47) for the year 597-598 a.H. (AD 1201-2). This specifically includes those dying of famine and the epidemic consequent on the failure of the Nile floods, graphically described by `Abd al-Latif, who notes 111 000 (sic.) deaths in Cairo alone between 596 and 598 a.H. (412). More realistically, the figure of 30 000 casualties is given, primarily, it would seem, in the Nablus area (Sibt b. al-Jauzi, 478). No reliance can be placed on such figures, but the fact that the main shock occurred at dawn, when most people were in bed, without noticeable foreshocks, probably contributed to a high death toll.

Aftershocks were reported from Hamah, Damascus and Cairo, for at least four days (`Abd al-Latif, 417; Abu Shama, 29), one of which, apparently felt in Cairo and Hamah, must have been a large event. There remains the possibility that the aftershock sequence was terminated with a destructive shock that totally destroyed what was left of Nablus, but it seems preferable to consider both reports by Sibt b. al-Jauzi as referring to the same shock. Whatever the exact sequence of events, the cumulative effects of the earthquake were clearly very serious. Most of the sites affected in the epicentral region must have needed total reconstruction or major repairs, although in most cases the evidence is circumstantial, not specific.

More information can be found in Abu Shama (Dhayl 18v, 29r), Alexandre (1990, 170), Rohricht (1893, 1114); Alb. Mil., Amadi, Fabri, Ibn al-Furat (k. 132), Het'um (Chron.), Ibn al-Dawadari, Katib Celebi, Mem. Edm. Abb.; Nuwairi (118v) and Sal. Ad. 23 (see below).

In contrast to authors of earlier studies, who assign to the event an excessive radius of perceptibility of over 1000 km, we find that in fact the area within which the earthquake was generally felt was confined to an area of radius only about 500 km.

To the south and close to the epicentral area Jerusalem suffered lightly. There is no evidence that the shock was felt west of Cyprus, that is on Crete, the Aegean Islands, or mainland Greece, and this during a period for which occidental and local sources from coastal areas are not lacking. Also the shaking reported in and around Constantinople on or after 1 March 1202 obviously was not from the earthquake of 20 May (Nicetas, 701 (19).

Moreover, no evidence for an earthquake has been recovered in the western Mediterranean area. The earthquake is said to have been felt as far away as Sicily (Ibn al-Athir, xii, 130) and Ceuta (Ibn Wasil, iii, 161), but this lacks confirmation in the annals of the Muslim west, which was dominated by the Almohads during this period.

The occurrence of a seismic sea wave between Cyprus and the Syrian coast, 50-100 km from the epicentral region, is difficult to understand. It may be explained by invoking the generation of a large-scale subaqueous slide from the continental margin of Syria by the earthquake. North of Acre the continental shelf narrows to a few kilometres and off the coast of Lebanon the continental slope steepens from near Acre northwards to an average of 10°. Under these circumstances, the principal cause of a seismic sea wave could be submarine sliding and slumping. The whole of that coast is certainly prone to slumping because of evaporites in the sedimentary section.

Its epicentral region, within which intensities were high, forms a narrow inland strip about 200 km long and 40 km wide extending from Nablus in the south to 'Arca in the north. The number of sites at which intensities can be assessed is obviously insufficient to allow the construction of a proper isoseismal map (but cf. Sieberg 1932b). However, it would appear that the maximum effects of the earthquake were experienced inland away from the coast, in the upper Jordan and Litani valleys, as well as the upper reaches of the Orontes river, in the vicinity of Baalbek. Several thousand people perhaps perished in this area. Without further details, it is difficult to indicate more precisely the exact location of the epicentral region. The vague details of severe damage in the Hauran district may suggest that the rupture zone was wide. Since most of the aftershocks were reported from the north (Hamah), it may be conjectured that the event nucleated in the south, near Nablus, and that it was completed by a second rupture that originated in the Tyre-Baalbek segment of the meizoseismal area. Apart from the statement that largescale landslides occurred on Mt Lebanon, there is no historical indication that this event was associated with faulting. However, field evidence suggests surface faulting that is perhaps associated with this and the earthquake of 1759 (Daeron et al. 2005).

The 20 May 1202 earthquake(s) may, however, be compared with the earthquake sequence between June 1759 and January 1760, which had almost exactly the same epicentral region. One important aspect of the 1759 earthquake, which is much better documented, is that it was associated with a 95-km-long fault break in the Bekaa, on the west side of the valley, many metres wide in places (Archives Nationales, 1759). It is not possible to assess the tectonic effects of the 1202 earthquake, which seems to have been multiple and comparable to the shock of 1759 in terms of location and the extent of faulting.

Notes

To the most excellent Lord, and most outstanding benefactor, Sancho, by grace of God the glorious king of Navarre: from Brother Geoffrey, humble master of the house of the Jerusalem Hospital, with all his brethren, greetings and the fellowship of devoted prayer. As Your Majesty's ears are no strangers to the sorrows and miseries of the kingdom of the Promised Land, we are reluctantly obliged to relate to Your Highness the lamentable afflictions, which have recently occurred in that place.

While everything was silent, and night was running her course, on the 20th day of May, which is named after the moon [i.e. Monday], at the hour when sleep caresses tired eyes, a little before first light, the wrath of God engulfed us, and there was a great earthquake. Of the cities and fortresses of the East, as well pagan as Christian, some were overthrown, some destroyed, and others, on account of the damage caused by the shocks, were threatened with ruin. The city of Acre, a most convenient port, suffered an unspeakably dreadful and death-dealing blow: some of the towers, the ornate royal palace and walls were ruined, and there was death among rich and poor. O lamentable occurrence! Tyre, a city of strength and a refuge of Christians, which always freed the oppressed from the hands of evil-doers, suffered so great an overthrow of its walls, towers, churches and houses that no man living now could expect to see it restored in his lifetime. What should we write about the death of the men of that city, when death took them without number in the ruins of their homes? This sorrow, this death, lamentable before [all] other things, and this unfortunate event adds shudders [of terror] to our fear. The most splendid city of Tripolis, although suffering considerable harm to its walls and houses, and death to its citizens, underwent less of an upheaval [than Tyre]. The towers, walls, houses and fortifications of Arches [`Arqa] were razed; their people were killed, and the localities are deserted: one would think that they had never been inhabited. Our fortresses of Krak [Hisn al-'Akrad] and Margat [Marqab] suffered considerable damage, but in spite of the heavy shaking they received from the divine wrath, could still hold out against enemy attacks. Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent.

The pagan cities and peoples bewailed the fact that they had received incurable wounds from this unforeseen fate. Especially when our hearts were afflicted with so many sorrows, food was extremely expensive, and a plague fatal to animals added further misery to all the remaining Christians.

We also felt obliged to bring to Your Gracious Lordship's ears that while the harvest was green, showing that an abundance of crops was coming to us once more, a cloud overshadowed the sprouting ears [of wheat] on the Feast of St Gregory, so that when the crops were harvested they were found to be very blighted: we have a surfeit of paupers and our land is afflicted with an influx of beggars. Therefore, Lord of Virtues, most excellent King, may the Land of the Lord's Nativity, sunk in sorrow and misery, and almost annihilated by calamities, be revived by your generosity, and by your counsel be comforted in her desolation.' (Geoffrey of Donjon, in Mayer 1972, 306-308).
To his venerable father and beloved friend, by the grace of God, the abbot general of the Order of Cistercians: Philip de Plessis, humble master of the Knights Templar, sends greeting trusting more in the Lord than in man, Amen. Believing in you heartfelt concern for the good and well-being of the Eastern Lands, it behoves me to relate to you the terrible misfortunes, unheard-of calamities, unspeakable plagues and punishment as of God, which has come upon us in punishment for our sins. [First two disasters: Christian population of County of Tripoli threatened, farmers take refuge in castles and cities; "fog" comes down and ruins three quarters of crops.]

The third [calamity], which was more sorrowful and terrible than the others: on the 20th day of May, at the crack of dawn, a terrible sound was heard from heaven, and there was a dreadful roar from the earth and an earthquake, such as has never been from the beginning of the world, such that most of the walls and houses of Acre were razed to the ground and a countless multitude of the inhabitants were killed. God, in his mercy to us, preserved our houses [i.e. those of the Knights Templar] intact. As for the city of Tyre, all the towers except three and the walls, except for the outer barbican, and all the houses with their people, save a few, fell to the ground. A very large part of the city of Tripolis collapsed, killing a great number of people. The castle of Arches ['Arqa], with all its houses, walls and towers was fattened, and the castle of Arsum [Arima?] was razed to the ground. Most of the walls of Chastel Blanc [Safitha], and the larger tower [of the latter], which we believed was surpassed by none in the strength and compactness of its construction, was weakened by cracks and shaking: it would have been better for us if it had collapsed totally, than remained standing in that condition. The city of Tortosa [Tarsus], however, and its fortress with its towers and walls and people and all was preserved by divine mercy. [Fourth calamity: plague] [Valedictory]' (Philippe de Plessis, in Mayer 1972,308-310)..
(1202) In that year there was a great earthquake in Syria, in which cities and towns were engulfed.' (Sal. Ad. 23).
(a.1202) There was a great earthquake which ruined Acre, Tyre, Giblet, Arzer and a great part of Tripolis, together with many other lands of the Christians and infidels.' (Amadi, 91f.).
In 1202 there was a great earthquake which struck Acre, Tyre, Gibelet and Arches, and several other cities.' (Annales 6447).
The region of Outremer was afflicted by a great disaster: on 20th May, around daybreak, a terrible sound was heard in the sky and an awful rumble from the earth, and there were earthquakes so violent that the most part of the city of Acre, with its ramparts, houses and even the royal palace, was razed to the ground, and countless persons were wiped out. Similarly the city of Tyre, the most [strongly] fortified in those parts, was almost completely overturned, while all of its towers bar three collapsed, and the ramparts, as high as they were solid, were either badly damaged or almost thrown to the ground, except for some forewalls which they call barbicans; all the houses and the buildings, with a few exceptions, were shaken. Likewise in the region of Tripolis the castle of Arqa, a great fortress, was razed to the ground with its towers, ramparts, houses and people. A great part of the city of Tripolis fell too, and many people were killed. Similarly most of the ramparts and towers of Chastel-Blanc [Safitha] were thrown to the ground. There were few coastal cities which did not suffer some damage: the city of Antaradus, which is also called Tortosa, escaped this disaster unharmed and intact.' (Rob. Aux. 264).
And in this year [a.H. 597/1200] there was great scarcity in Egypt, for the Nile did not overflow according to custom. And men ate the bodies of dead animals and also of men. And then pestilence followed upon famine closely. And there was also an earthquake and it destroyed many buildings and high walls in Damascus, and Emesa, and Hamath, and Tripoli, and Tyre, and Akko, and Shemsin [Samaria], and it reached Beth Rhomaye, but it was not violent in the East.' (Abu'l-Faraj 351/407).
There was a great earthquake in Tyre, on the 3rd [ ]' (MS Barletta, Kohler 1901, 42/401).
1203. There was an earthquake in almost all of Palestine, overturning cities and houses.' (Ann. Uticenses, see also Alexandre 1990,170).
In that year [1202] a great earthquake happened in the land of Jerusalem, such as has not occurred from the Lord's Passion until now: for almost the whole of Tyre, that famous city, was overthrown with its inhabitants, and a third of Ptolemais, that is Acre, with its castle and towers, and other castles were also overthrown, as many in the Christian territory as in that of the Saracens. This particular earthquake even affected several places in England.' (Cogg. 141-142).
In 1202 there was a great earthquake which demolished many houses in Acre, Tyre, Giblet, Tripoli, Arches, and many other houses belonging to the Christians and Saracens.' (Gestes Chypr. RHC 59/663).
. . . earthquakes occurred in the land and brought down the walls of Tyre, Beirut and Acre, much of which was rebuilt.' (Ernoul, 31).
. . . there were earthquakes: they broke down the walls of Tyre and Acre, which were [partly (MS difference: see 245 n. 6)] rebuilt.' (Estoire 244-245).
[30 March 1202] There was the greatest earthquake ever seen in Syria. The city of Acon, with all its palaces and many other buildings, was overthrown, and a similar fate befell many other cities.' (Fabri, i. 283b/ix. 350).
(a.Arm. 651) Second earthquake. A large number of cities were overturned on the Sahel [littoral].' (Het'um Chron. 480).
In 1202 the violent earthquake happened which destroyed Ak'a, Sur, ?plet', Arka and the great part of Trapawl [Soy], and many other cities.' (Het'um Pat. Het. Chron. n. 61).
AD 1202 . . In the same year there was a great earthquake in Syria, in which cities and towns were engulfed; and virtually the whole city of Tyre collapsed . . .' (Alb. Mil. 654).
(1202) On the 30th day of May there was an earthquake in Outremer, three days before the Ascension of the Lord, and a terrible sound was heard: a great part of the city of Acre collapsed with the royal palace, and many people died, almost all of Tyre was overthrown and Arches, a very well fortified town, was razed to the ground. Most of Tripolis collapsed, and a great many people died. Ancharadus ... came out of it unscathed. And after this the land was barren, and many people died.' (Will. Nang.).
God showed himself to be [the] master of hours and times, and that he either speeds or hinders the journeys of men, for the floor by the Emperor's bed gave a little and a crack of considerable size opened in it. The emperor surprisingly escaped this danger . . (Choniat Bonn 701).
Hence we reached Famagusta, a city built close to the sea, with a good harbour, slightly fortified. Here is the third suffrage see of the lord bishop of Nicosia. Near it is the site of the same city now destroyed, from which, they say, came that famous and blessed Epiphanius (Wilb. Old. xxvii/180/Excerpta 14). `(1202) A great and terrible earthquake occurred in the Land of Jerusalem.' (Mem. Edm. Abb. 11).
On Monday 26th Shaban, which was 25th Pashons, early in the morning, a violent earthquake was felt which caused terror among men. Seized with terror, everyone leapt down from his bed and cried out to the all-powerful God. The shaking lasted for a long time: the shocks were like the movement of a sieve, or like that of a bird lowering and lifting its wings. In all there were three violent shocks, which shook buildings, caused doors to tremble and roof-joists to crack: [these shocks] threatened to ruin buildings in poor repair or on an elevated or very high site. There were further shocks around midday of the same day; but only a small number of people felt them, because they were weak and did not last long. On that night there was extreme cold, which obliged one to cover up more than usual. This was followed in the day by extreme heat, and a violent, pestilential wind which stopped people's breathing and suffocated them. It is rare for Egypt to suffer an earthquake as violent as that.

Then we received news, which had passed from one to another, that the earthquake was felt at the same time in far countries and in very distant cities. I think that it is most certain that at the same time a great part of the earth felt the shock, from Qus as far as Damietta, Alexandria, the sea coast of Syria, and the whole of Syria in its entire length and breadth. Many settlements disappeared totally without leaving the slightest trace, and an innumerable multitude of men perished. I know of not a single city in Syria which suffered less in this earthquake than Jerusalem: this city sustained only very slight damage. The ravages caused by this event were far greater in the regions inhabited by the Franks, than in the Muslim territories.

We have heard it said that the earthquake was felt as far as Akhlat and in the neighbouring districts, as well as on the island of Cyprus. The rising of the sea and agitation of the waves was a most terrible sight to behold, something quite unrecognisable: the waters parted in diverse places, and divided up into masses like mountains; boats found themselves on dry land, and a great quantity of fish was thrown on to the shore. We also received letters from Syria, Damascus and Hamat, which contain details of this earthquake. I personally received two, which I will report in exactly the same way as that in which they were written..
Copy of the letter from Hamat

On Monday 26th Shaban, in the early morning, it was as if the earth had moved and the mountains were being agitated in different ways. Everyone imagined that this was the earthquake which should precede the Last Judgement. The earthquake was felt twice on that day: the first time it lasted about an hour; the second shock was not so long, but stronger. Many fortresses were damaged by it, among which was the fortress of Hamah, in spite of the solidity of its construction; that of Barin, even though it was tightly furbished and light, was also damaged, as well as the fortress of Baalbek, notwithstanding its strength and firmily. As yet we have received no news to give from the cities and fortresses far from here.

On Tuesday 27th of the same month, around the time of midday prayer, there was another earthquake which was felt by all men, whether awake or asleep; we suffered another shock on the same day at the time of afternoon prayer. From the news which we then received from Damascus it was learnt that the earthquake destroyed the eastern minaret of the great mosque, the largest part of the building, called the Kallaseh, and the entire hospital, together with many houses which fell on their inhabitants, killing them..
Copy of the letter from Damascus

"I have the honour to write to you-this letter, to inform you of the earthquake which took place during the night of Monday 26th Shaban, at the break of dawn, and which lasted for quite some time. One of us said that it lasted long enough to read the surat of the Koran entitled 'The Cavern'. One of the oldest men of Damascus attests that he had never felt anything equal to it. Among other damage caused by it in the city, sixteen crenellations of the great mosque and one of the minarets fell; another was split, as well as the leaden dome. The building called the Kallaseh was swallowed up, as the earth was open, and two men died; a man also died at the gate called the Gate of Jirun. There were several cracks in diverse parts of the mosque, and a great number of the city's houses fell.

The following details were reported to us regarding the countries occupied by the Muslims. Paneas and Safet were partly overthrown; in the latter town only the son of the governor sur- vived. Tebnin suffered the same fate. In Nablus not a wall remains upright, except in the Street of the Samaritans. It is said that Jerusalem, thanks be to God,, has suffered nothing. As for Beit- Jan, not even the foundations of the walls remain, everything having been swallowed up in the ground. Most of the cities in the province of Hauran have been destroyed, and of none of them can it be said, 'Here was a certain town'. It is said that the greater part of Acre has been overthrown, as well as a third of the city of Tyre. Irka and Safith have been swallowed up. On Mt Lebanon, there is a defile between the two mountains where people go to pick green rhubarb: we are told that the two mountains came together and swallowed up the men who were there, numbering almost 200. In all, many things are said about this earthquake. On the four days following shocks continued to be felt day and night."' (`Abd al-Latif, r.e. 262/414).
(a.H. 597) ... 30 000 victims were buried under the ruins and Acre was destroyed together with Tyre and all the coastal citadels. The earthquake spread as far as Damascus and caused the exterior minaret of the mosque to fall, as well as the greater part of al-Kalasa, and the Baymaristan of Nureddin. Most of the houses in Damascus were destroyed, with few exceptions. People fled to the square, sixteen of the crenellations fell from the mosque, and the dome of Nasr split in two before men's eyes. Walkers had left Baalbek to pick currants in the mountains of Lebanon, and the two mountains closed over them and they were wiped out. The citadel of Baalbek was destroyed in spite of its careful construction.
The earthquake also spread towards Homs, Hamah and Aleppo, and all the capitals. It tore through the sea towards Cyprus and there were some very high waves, [as a result of which] boats were driven on to the shore and shipwrecked. The earthquake continued in the direction of Akhlat and Armenia, Azerbaijan and al-Jazirah. The number of victims in that year reached I 100 000 men and it lasted for the time taken to read the Surat al-Kahf, then there was a succession of further shocks.' (Sibt ibn al-Jauzi, Mir'at 8/331).
(a.H. 598) In the month of Sha'aban a prodigious earthquake took place and Homs was destroyed with its citadel, and the watchtower which also dominates Hisn al-Akrad. The earthquake spread as far as Cyprus, Nablus and the neighbouring regions.

This earthquake affected three of the coastal cities, viz. Tyre, Tripolis and `Araqa, and it caused considerable destruction in the Muslim territories in the north. It was felt as far as Damacus, where it shook the tops of the minarets of the mosque, and several crenellations of the north wall.

A maghrebin was killed at Kalasa and also a Mamluk Turk, [the latter] a slave of an official who lived in the Street of the Samaritans: this occurred at daybreak on Monday 26th Sha'aban (20th Ab in the Syrian calendar). The earthquake lasted until the following morning.' (Sibt ibn al-Jauzi, Mir'at 8/ 331).

(a.H. 599/20 September 1202] At the beginning of Muharram, on the night of Saturday, shooting stars appeared in the sky, from the east to the west: they looked like locusts spread from right to left. Such a phenomenon had never been seen, except at the birth of the Prophet, then in a.H. 241 and 600.' (Sibt ibn al-Jauzi, Mir'at 8/333).
In the month of Sha'aban of that year the earth shook in the country of al-Jazirah, and of Sham, Egypt, and other regions too. The catastrophe was terrible, with the destruction reaching as far as Damascus, Hims, Hamat and the village; the village of Busra also collapsed. The Syrian littoral was the worst affected, with destruction in Tripoli, Tyre, Acre, Nablus and other cities. The earthquake went as far as the country of Rum [i.e. the Byzantine borders]; the area least damaged was Iraq, where no houses were destroyed.' (Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil 12/110).
At dawn on Monday 26th Sha'aban (25 Bachans) there was a prodigious earthquake. People were very agitated, leaping from their beds in great surprise, and calling on God (Subhana). The cataclysm continued for a long time: one might say that it was like the shaking of a sieve, or even the beating of a bird's wings. It stopped after three or four strong shocks: buildings shuddered, doors banged, roofs creaked and poorly constructed buildings collapsed. Then it started again on Monday at midday. Not everyone felt it this time because the shock was weak and brief. The night was very cold and one had to cover up, which was unusual. And in the morning, the cold had changed into an extraordinary heat, and a wind of Sumun got up, so strong that it prevented one from breathing, and even the most hardy endured it with difficulty. An earthquake of such force has rarely occurred in Egypt.

News spread by word of mouth of an earthquake at the same time in distant regions. And, what interests me is that at the same hour the earth had shaken at the same time in Damietta, Alexandria, in all the coastal regions and all over Sham. Cities were ruined, some to the point that they disappeared without trace. Peoples in great numbers and countless nations were wiped out: I knew a city, as securely founded as Jerusalem, which, however, suffered damage such as one would never have foreseen. The Frankish possessions were worse affected by this earthquake than those of the Muslims. We have heard it said that this earthquake was felt as far as Akhlat and its frontiers and as far as the island of Cyprus. The sea was turbulent and lighthouses suffered considerable damage. The waters parted and waves came up like mountains. Boats were grounded and wrecked, and many fish were thrown up on to the shore.

Messages were received from Damascus and Hamat announcing [the occurrence of] the earthquake. Here are two which I have held in my hands and which I have transcribed [here] word by word:
On 26th Shaaban an earthquake occurred and it was almost as if the earth had begun to walk; the mountains opened and everyone thought that this was the Last Hour. There were two shocks: the first lasted an hour or a little more, and the second was not as long; but more violent. A few citadels were affected: the first, Hamat, suffered in spite of the quality of its buildings, as did Barin, even though it was solid and finely built, and Baalbek too, notwithstanding its robust strength.

We have received no precise information to mention on neighbouring countries and citadels. On Tuesday 27th of this month, at midday, there was an earthquake which everyone felt, both those who were asleep and those who were awake. Everyone was shaken, whether standing or sitting. Another shock occurred too, after afternoon prayer!
We have received from Damascus the following news, according to which the earthquake had damaged the Eastern minaret of the mosque and the most part of the Kallasats as well as the entire hospital (Baimaristan). Several houses had collapsed on their inhabitants, who were killed. Here is the text of the message:
Thus speaks the Mamluk: An earthquake occurred during the night of Monday 26 Shaaban at dawn and it lasted for some time. Some of his aides reckon that [it lasted long enough] to read the Surat al-Kahf.

Someone from Machaikh in Damascus said that he had never seen such an earthquake before.

The damage extends as far as the cemetery, and includes 16 crenellations of the mosque, one minaret (the other is cracked), the lead dome called Nast the Kallasat, which collapsed killing two men; another man was killed on the gate of Jirun, and there was widespread destruction in many places, [including that of] many houses.

The Muslim territories were affected: part of Banyas, Safad, where only the sons of the governor survive.

Tibnin too, and Nablus, of which only one wall and Samosata street remain standing.

He stipulates that Jerusalem was spared by the grace of God.

As for Bayt Jin, only the foundations and the walls remain, and even then they have crumbled. The country of Huran has collapsed and one cannot recognise the sites of its villages.

A large part of Acre has been destroyed, and 30 per cent of Tyre and `Arqa have collapsed: ditto in Safitha. On Mt Lebanon people had gone out to pick green currants [gooseberries?], and the mountain collapsed on them. There were nearly 200 victims. People spoke much of this.

For four [days and nights] after this we prayed to God to protect us. He is our safety and our surest protector.
(Abu'l-Fida al-Mukht. 262-2'70).
(a.H. 600/1203) In that year there was an earthquake in most countries: Egypt, Sham, Jazirah, the land of Rum [Byzantine Empire], Sicily and Cyprus. It reached Mosul and Iraq, and other countries as well. Among the [places] which were ravaged, the walls of Tyre and most of Sham were very [badly] affected. The earthquake spread as far as Sebta, in the country of Maghreb, with the same effects.' (Ibn al-Athir, Kamil xii/198; Ibn al-Wardi; Tatimmat, 2/122).
[There was] a great earthquake in the Islamic lands.' (Katib celebi, Takvim, 76).
In that year [a.H. 597] there was a great earthquake in the month of Shaban [April-May 1201]. It came from the direction of Upper Egypt and spread over the world in a single hour. Buildings in Egypt were destroyed and many people disappeared under the destruction. It reached Syria and the coast, and Nablus was destroyed: only the walls of the Sumrah quarter were left standing. 30 000 people perished under the rubble. Likewise Akka and Tyre were destroyed, along with the fortresses of the coast. It encompassed Damascus: some of the minarets of the Umayyad Mosque were destroyed, and most of al-Kallasah and the Nuri hospital. The people fled to the public spaces. Sixteen galleries fell from the mosque. The Qubbah al-Nasr split. Banyas and Hunayn suffered as well. A group of people from Baalbek, travelling on the road, were buried under a mountain landslide and perished. Most of the citadel of Baalbek was destroyed. Homs, Hama, and Aleppo were affected. [The earthquake] crossed the sea to Cyprus. The sea split and rose like a mountain, hurling ships on to the shore and breaking up a number of them. It reached Akhlat, Armenia, Azarbayjan, and al-Jazirah, and also Ajarn. It was said that thousands or 100 000 perished under the rubble.' (Ibn al-Dawadari, vii. 149-150).
(a.H. 598) In Shaban [April-May 1202] the earthquake returned. It destroyed what remained of Nablus. The citadel of Homs was cracked. It destroyed Hisn al-Akrad. Its effects reached Cyprus.' (Ibn al-Dawadari, vii. 153).
(a.H. 600/1203-4, quoting from Ibn Wasil] In this year there was a great earthquake which encompassed Egypt, Syria and Rum as far as Sicily.' (Ibn al-Dawadari, vii. 158).
bn al-Jauzi has said in his al-Mieat that in the month of Shaban of [5198 [26 April to 24 May] a very violent earthquake occurred which split [n. 334; B text has 'tomba'] the citadel of Hims and caused the observatory of the same to collapse; it razed Hisan al-Akrad and reached Naplus, destroying everything which had remained there (ce qui avait subsiste). (Ibn al-Jauzi, al-Mirat, 8/311).

References

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

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)


Figures 49 a & b from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)



(097) 1202 May 20 Western Syria Lebanon tsunami, landslides

This is one of the strongest and best documented seismic events in the Mediterranean area, the most advanced historical and seismological study of which has been provided by Ambraseys and Melville (1988). Their study includes important Latin and Arabic published sources. In the brief survey provided below, we have added Marsilio Zorzi's letter to the corpus of known sources.

Effects of the earthquake

At dawn on 20 May 1202 (about 02:40 UT), there was a very destructive earthquake affecting the oriental Mediterranean coast and hinterland of what are now Lebanon, Syria and Israel. Within the territories then ruled by the Crusaders, the most seriously damaged towns were Acre (now Akko) and Tyre (or Sur). At Acre, the town walls, royal palace and some towers were very badly damaged; a great many houses collapsed, but those belonging to the Knights Templars were unharmed. There were many deaths, but no numbers are given. At Tyre, all the walls collapsed, except for the outer barbicans, all but three of the towers, and also churches and houses. There was a very high death toll. Funds were allocated for reconstruction work in both towns. Inland, the towns of Baniyas and Safad (present-day Zefat) were partly destroyed. According to the sources, the only survivor at Safad was the governor's son. At Bayt Jinn, which stood on the road between Damascus and Baniyas, only the foundations of buildings remained; in many places, the town walls collapsed. There was also some destruction at Tibnin, as well as very extensive collapses in unidentified villages in the Hawran region (east of Lake Tiberias). One village was reduced to ruins near Busra ---- perhaps because of a landslide. Farther south, Nabulus (Nablus) completely collapsed, except for one district, and there was slight damage at Jerusalem.

The worst damage in the County of Tripoli (or Tarabulus) was at the castle of Archis, where the walls, as well as towers and houses, almost completely collapsed. There was serious damage at Gibelet (Jubayl) and many victims at Tripoli, but the sources are not in total agreement as to the extent of the damage there. At Baalbek, the citadel collapsed, in spite of its being a solid and stable construction. At Damascus, many houses collapsed, and there were many victims. The Umayyad mosque suffered damage in a number of places: the eastern minaret and 16 merlons collapsed, but the other minaret was simply damaged. The lead dome of the mausoleum of Nasr was damaged, and a large part of the Kallasa mosque collapsed, killing two people. The hospital of Nur al-Din also collapsed.

At Chastel Blanc (or Safita), most of the walls collapsed, and the main tower, although a well-built and solid structure, was seriously damaged and split open. The castle "Arsum" was also destroyed. It is difficult to ascribe a location to this castle, but Ambraseys and Melville (1988, p.191) suggest that it is to be identified with Arima (Qalat al-Uraymah), a few kilometres from Chastel Blanc. The castles of Crak des Chevaliers (or Hisn al-Akrad, present-day Qalat al-Hisn) and Margat (present-day Al- Marqab) were badly damaged, but remained capable of resisting any enemy attacks. The citadel at Hims was damaged, and its guard tower collapsed. The fortresses of Hamat and Ba`rin were damaged, in spite of their solid construction. The town of Tortosa (present-day Tartus) and its castle were slightly damaged. Three strong shocks were felt in Cairo. Buildings and doors shook, while ceilings, floors and anything unstable or in an elevated position collapsed. The inhabitants awoke in terror and fled screaming. Elsewhere in Egypt, the earthquake was felt at Damietta, Alexandria and Qus. The earthquake also struck the island of Cyprus, but the exact effects there are not known. The earthquake had a vast propagation zone. It was felt at Aleppo and Antioch, at Akhlat (now Ahlat) and its province, at Mosul, and in the regions of Mesopotamia, Iraq, Azerbaijan and part of Anatolia. There remain to be considered the puzzling references to Sicily and Sabta (i.e. Ceuta, a Moroccan town opposite Gibraltar), which appear in Ibn al-Athir and Ibn Wasil respectively. Ambraseys and Melville (1988) very cautiously include them amongst the localities and areas where the earthquake of 20 May 1202 was felt, pointing out that they are not mentioned anywhere else in western Arab sources, and that there are no other reports of effects at western Mediterranean locations. The problem is dealt with by Guidoboni and Traina (1996, pp.1216-9), who discuss the suggestion that, given their enormous distance from the epicentral area, the references to Sicily and Ceuta may concern separate earthquakes from that of 20 May 1202. The lack of other sources of information about effects in Sicily and Ceuta means that this problem remains unsolved. The major earthquake at dawn on 20 May was followed by other brief shocks towards noon on the same day which were slightly felt in Cairo. This may be the same earthquake recorded as having been felt by everyone at Hamat; but we are told that the earthquake at Hamat occurred at midday on Tuesday 21 May and was followed by another shock in the afternoon. Altogether, the shocks lasted for four days. The two Latin sources and the most important Arabic source to describe this earthquake agree as to the date. The letter from Geoffrey of Donjon and that from Philip du Plessis date it to Monday 20 May 1202; Ibn al-Lubad al-Bagdadi and the two letters he quotes date it to Monday 26 Shdban in the year of the Hegira 598, which corresponds to 21 May 1202, but that day was a Tuesday. This discrepancy of a day is something one sometimes finds in the conversion of dates from the Muslim calendar, but it proves to be negligible since Ibn al-Lubad al-Bagdadi himself also gives the date as 25 Bashansh [Pachons] in the Coptic calendar, a date which corresponds to 20 May. These two different traditions also agree in recording that the earthquake occurred at dawn or shortly before.

Environmental effects

Amongst the environmental effects of the earthquake, the sources mention a tsunami and substantial landslides and slips on the Lebanese mountains.

Earthquake on 20 May 1202: number and languages of the sources analysed no.32

1. Latin 17 (54%)
2. Arabic 9 (28%)
3. Vulgar French 3 (9%)
4. Vulgar Italian 1 (3%)
5. Syriac 1 (3%)
6. Armenian 1 (3%)

Tsunami

Gigantic waves rose up in the sea between Cyprus and the coast of Syria. The sea withdrew from the coast, ships were hurled on to the eastern coast of Cyprus, fish were thrown on to the shore, and lighthouses were damaged (see below Ibn al-Lubad al- Bagdadi, al-qmad al-Isfahani and Ibn Munkala).

Landslides

About 200 people from Baalbek, who had gone out to gather wild fruit, were killed in landslides from two mountains in the Lebanese range between the Bekaa valley and the Mediterranean coast (see below Ibn al-Lubad al-Bagdadi). One village was reduced to ruins near Busra (now Busra ash Sham] perhaps because of a landslide.

Historical sources: an overall view

The earthquake occurred in the period between the Third and Fourth Crusades. As in the case of the earthquake of 29 June 1170, the Latin and Arabic sources which are the two main and independent traditions concerned deal almost exclusively with the lands under their respective control, each adding to the information provided by the other. Much briefer reports also appear in Vulgar French, Syriac and Armenian sources, which largely reflect those in Latin and Arabic. Of the Latin sources, the most important are of two letters written respectively by Geoffrey of Donjon, Grand Master of the Order of Knights Hospitallers, to king Sancho VII of Navarre (1194-1234), and by Philip du Plessis, Grand Master of the Knights Templars, to Arnold I, abbot of Citeaux. Both letters were written in June 1202, that is to say shortly after the earthquake, and have been published in Mayer (1972, pp.306-8, 308-10). There may also be some information of the 1202 earthquake in a letter dating to 1243 (Rohricht 1893, no.1114), from Marsilio Zorzi, Venetian ambassador (bailo) for Syria, in which he refers to a group of properties in the city of Tyre, some of which had been destroyed in an earthquake. The report in the Chronicon of Robert of Auxerre, a contemporary monk and writer who died in 1212, derives in large part from the letter from Philip du Plessis, as Mayer (1972) has shown. The other Latin sources are much briefer than the above and are expressed in more general terms, so we list only those which date to the mid or late 13th century (sources 2): Of the Vulgar French sources, the 13th century Estorie de Eracles Empereur states that part of the funds collected for the Fourth Crusade could be used for rebuilding the walls of Acre and Tyre. The Annales de Terre Sainte and the early 14th century Chronique de Terre Sainte, though providing information in very summary form, mention Gibelet, which is not named by any of the other sources. As far as Arabic sources are concerned, the most informative is Ibn al-Lubad al-Bagdadi. What he tells us is particularly important, because he not only records effects at Cairo, in Egypt generally and elsewhere, but also transcribes two letters from Hamat and Damascus, thereby providing a reliable and detailed picture of the earthquake. When the earthquake struck, he was in Cairo, and his work was written two years later, in May 1204. In other contemporary Arabic sources (the Mosul historian Ibn al-Athir and Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, who lived at Damascus), or later 13th and 14th century sources (the Damascene historian and textual scholar Abu Shama, the historian Ibn Wasil, and the Syrian historians Abu 'l-Fida and Ibn al-Wardi, who are briefer than Ibn al-Lubad al-Bagdadi), the earthquake is dated to the month of Shdban in the year 597 of the Hegira, which corresponds to the period 7 May - 4 June 1201. In some cases these writers record earthquakes in the year 598 of the Hegira, or even 600 (Ibn al-Athir). However, as Ambraseys and Melville (1988, pp.185-7) have suggested in their discussion of the sources and problems of chronology involved in the study of the earthquake, since the more reliable Latin and Arabic sources only refer to one earthquake, it is reasonable to suppose that the other datings in the Arabic sources are all duplications of an earthquake which actually occurred on 20 May 1202.

Latin sources

ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTS

The letter from Geoffrey of Donjon (June 1202) provides the most detailed information:
While all things lay in silence and the night proceeded on its course', on the twentieth day of May, to which is given the name of the moon [i.e. Monday], at the hour when sleep caresses tired eyes, shortly before dawn, the wrath of God rose up against us and `there was a great earthquake'. Of the towns and castles in the East, whether belonging to pagans or Christians, some were annihilated, some destroyed and some risked being reduced to ruins because of the damage inflicted by the strong earthquake. The city of Acre, which is a very convenient port, has suffered incredible and devastating damage to its towers, to the royal palace and to the walls with which it was protected, while countless houses have been reduced to ruins, and the death of rich and poor is unbearable to speak of. Alas! Tyre, the city of strength', the refuge of Christianity, which ever 'freed the oppressed from the hands of the enemy', has suffered such damage to its walls, towers, churches and houses, that no man alive today can hope to see their restoration complete during his lifetime. What can we write about the death of the people of this town, for death has taken them without number in the ruins of their homes. This affliction, this catastrophe to be wept over above all others, and this dreadful event have added terror to our fear. The city of Tripoli, resplendent with its walls and houses, has been gravely weakened by the great number of victims, and yet it has suffered less damage than other towns. At Archis, towers, walls, houses and town walls have been reduced to ruins, and places which have been left deserted because their inhabitants have been killed, look as though they had never been inhabited. Our castles of Cratum [Crak des Chevaliers] and Margat have suffered much damage, but nevertheless still have little to fear from enemy attacks, if they are spared greater shaking by the will of God. Antioch and the lands of Armenia, although struck by the earthquake, have not suffered too serious damage amidst all these dreadful events. Pagan towns and their people bemoan the incurable wounds that they have suffered through the blows of implacable fate. And while our hearts are afflicted by this deep grief, the great lack of food and a deadly pestilence which has struck animals cause further suffering for those Christians who have survived. We have decided to report to the charitable ears of Your Majesty that when our crops were still young, we had the expectation of an abundant harvest. But as the ears were sprouting, there came on the day of St.George a fog which rendered vain all our hopes of gathering in the crop, because it made everything rot, with the result that the desolate earth is now trodden by a mass of the poor and a crowd of beggars. And so, 0 'Lord of Virtues', most excellent sovereign,.may the Earth, which saw the Birth of our Lord but now lies grief and poverty stricken, desolated and almost annihilated by this disaster, breathe again thanks to your clemency, and be consoled by your advice.

Dum medium silentium tenerent omnia et nox in suo cursu iter perageret, vicesimo die stantis maii, cui nomen lune est impositum, in hora, qua defessis sopor blanditur oculis, paulum ante diluculum ira dei in nos est asperata, `terremotus factus est magnus'. Civitatum et castrorum Orientis tam paganismi quam christianitatis pars est eversa, pars destructs, pars propter nimie excussionis lesionem adhuc minatur riunam. Civitas Aconensis, que portus est oportunitatis, in parte turrium, regalis etiam palatii et murorum, quibus fuit palliata, in ruina domorum innumerabili, in morte divitum et pauperum ineffabili miram et exitialem passa est lesionem. 0 dolenda res! Tirus, `urbs fortitudinis, refugium christianitatis, que semper oppressos 'de manu inimicorum liberavie, in muris et turribus, ecclesiis et domibus tantam passa est eversionem, ut nullus hominum iam vivens eius possit expectare vivendo restauracionem. Quid de morte hominum eiusdem civitatis scriberemus, cum in ruina domorum mors eos sine numero apprehendisset. Hic dolor, hoc exitium pre ceteris gemebundum et hic eventus infortunatus timori nostro tremorem sociarunt. Tripolitana civitas splendidissima in muris et domibus, in morte populi graviter corrupta, minorem ceteris passa est lesionem. Archay turres, muri, domus et menia funditus eversa, populi interempti loca deserta testantur numquam se habuisse habitatorem. Castra nostra Cratum et Margatum plurima gravata insultus tamen hostium. adhuc .parvipendunt, si sine maiore conserventur divinitus quassacione. Antiochia et partes Armenie terremotu concusse non multam, non lamentabilem in tantis lugendis passe sunt corrupcionem. Paganismi civitates et populi inmemorate sortis dispendio insanabilia se recepisse vulnera conqueruntur. Presertim cum in plerisque doloribus corda nostra sint afflicta, caritas inmensa victualium, letalis pestis animalium residue christianitati universaliter dolor est specialis. Sane tamen caritatis dominacionis vestre auribus duximus disserendam, dum messis nostra fuisset in herba, frugum ubertatem nobis se monstrabat reddituram. Set postmodum spiels pullulantibus in festo beati Georgii supervenit nebula, qua spes nostra in metendis segetibus pro earum corrupcione penitus fuit exinanita, unde pauperum nimietas, mendicorum affluentia terram premit desolatam. Igitur elomine virtutum', rex excellentissime, Terra Dominice Nativitatis sedens in dolore et miseriis, iam fere kalamitatibus extincta, vestra respiret dementia, vestro consilio consoletur desolata.
In his letter (June 1202) to Arnold I, abbot of Citeaux, Philip du Plessis recalls two earlier "scourges", in the form of military encounters in the Tripoli area and the adverse weather conditions which had severely affected the grain harvest, and he then goes on to describe the disastrous effects of the earthquake; and he ends by pointing out that a third of those who survived the earthquake died in an epidemic:
To the venerable father and dearest friend by the grace of God abbot of Citeaux and of the whole Order [...]. The third scourge proved more catastrophic and terrible than the others; for on the twentieth day of May, at dawn, a terrifying voice was heard from heaven and dreadful rumblings rose from the earth, and there were earthquakes such as had not been seen since the creation of the world; and they razed most of the walls and houses at Acre to the ground, crushing a great many people to death in the ruins. But divine mercy willed that our houses should remain undamaged. At the city of Tyre, all but three of its towers were destroyed, and all the city walls except for the outer barbicans, and all the houses with their inhabitants, except for a few survivors. Most of the city of Tripoli was destroyed, along with a large proportion of the townspeople. The castle of Archis has been reduced to ruins, including all its houses, walls and towers, and the castle of Arsum [Arima] has been razed to the ground. At Chastel Blanc, most of the walls collapsed, and the main tower, which we thought to have been built with out.. standing 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 state. Divine mercy spared the town of Tortosa and its castle, the walls, the inhabitants, and everything else. The fourth scourge with which we are afflicted is that, in addition to the disasters we have mentioned, the corruption of the air has caused such high mortality that almost a third of those who survived the earthquake have died, and those who were able to rise from their beds after such prolonged enfeeblement were barely alive. And since we are weighed down by all these disasters and calamities, we need your prayers to overcome them, and we firmly trust in God that we shall obtain them".

Venerabili patri et amico karissimo dei gratia Cisterciensi abbati totique conventui ordinis Tertia vero ceteris flebilior et horribilior talis fuit, quod vicesima die maii summo diluculo audita est vox terribilis de coelo, mugitus horribilis de terra, et terremotus, quales non fuerunt ab initio mundi, facti sunt, ita quod partem maximam Accaron in muris et domibus ad terram prostraverunt et gentem innumerabilem occupatam occiderunt. Domus autem nostras divina misericordia nobis integras resevavit. Civitatis vero Tyri omnes turris exceptis tribus et muri excepta exteriora barbacana et omnes domus cum plebe sua paucis reservatis in terram corruerunt. Civitatis vero Trypolis maxima pars cecidit et magnam plebem occupavit. Castrum vero Archados cum omnibus domibus suis et muris et turribus in terram prostratum est castrum Arsum funditus corruit. Castri autem Albi maxima pars murorum cecidit, turris autem maior, qua nullam credimus fortuis vel firmius aedificatam, in hoc rimis et quassaturis debilitata est, quod melius nobis esset, si funditus corrueret, quam ita stans permaneret. Civitatem vero Tortose et castrum cum turribus et muris et plebe et omnibus divina misericordia reservavit. Quarta autem pestilentia fuit, quod tanta mortalitas ex corruptione aeris pestes priores secuta est, quod fere tertia pars eorum, qui de terremotu evaserunt, defuncta est et vix invenitur vivus, qui longi languoris lectum evadere potuisset. Et quum tantis miseriis et calamitatibus opprimamur, necesse est nobis, ut vestris orationibus, de quibus plurimum in domino confidimus, de miseriis predictis resurgamus.
It is reasonable to suppose that there is a reference to damage caused by the 1202 earthquake in a letter written in October 1243 by Marsilio Zorzi, who was the Venetian ambassador for Syria (in Rohricht 1893, no.1114). After recounting how he and other noblemen in Syria had gained control of the city of Tyre, Zorzi enumerates the benefits and privileges enjoyed by the Venetians in the city, including the estates of the church of St.Mark, consisting of a series of properties in Tyre and its surroundings. Of some of these all inside the city he says that they had been destroyed in an earthquake, which he does not identify. He mentions three bakeries, an unspecified number of houses and a tower house:
[...] another bakery, which belonged to the Veneto community, but has now been destroyed in an earthquake; another bakery of that community, now destroyed in the earthquake; and another bakery, situated on the public street towards the east, also destroyed in the earthquake; a piece of land, whose houses have now been destroyed the earthquake, towards the north, by the city walls; and a house, similar in form to tower, which stood on the street, but has now been destroyed in the earthquake".

[...] alter furnus, qui fuit communis Venetorum sed nunc terrae motus destructus iacet; alius furnus communis terrae motus destructus; alius furnus, terrae motus destructus, qui firmat in orientem in via publica; petia terae, cuius domus nunc terrae motus destructae firmant versus septentrionem in murum civitatis; domus quasi turris, quae est super viam, sed nunc terrae motus destructa est.
Two more houses, a warehouse and a mill are mentioned in the same letter as having been destroyed (destructi), but the cause of the damage is not specified. We have not set out the text of Robert of Auxerre, because it depends largely on the letter from Philip du Plessis as already pointed out.

Vulgar French sources

ANNALS AND CHRONICLES

The Estorie de Eracles Empereur tells how Fulk of Neuilly (d. 1202), a country parish priest from near Paris and preacher of the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204), had been making use of the Order of Cistercians since 1198 to gather funds for the new crusade to the Holy Land, on the instructions of pope Innocent III (1198-1216). In particular, we are told that:
the funds entrusted to Citeaux [the mother house of the Cistercians], were taken to the Holy Land, and there was never a better arrangement than that made by master Fulk at Citeaux, for there had been earthquakes [in the Holy Land]; if the walls of Tyre and Acre were rebuilt, it should be done with some of those funds".

Li avoirs, qui fu comande a Cisteaus, fu portez Outre mer, ne onques avoir ne vint a si bon point come celui qui maistre Foque avoit a Cisteaus, car li crolles avoit este en la terre; si estoient fondu li mur de Sur et d'Acre que l'en refist toz d'une partie de cel avoir.
In the Annales de Terre Sainte, we read:
In the year 1202, there was an earthquake which destroyed Acre, Tyre, Gibelet and Archis, and part of Tripoli; and many Christian and Saracen towns were reduced to ruins.

A. mil et CC et II, fu le crosle qui abati Acre, Sur, Gibelet et Arces et une partie de Triples; et chairent plusieurs chites des Crestiens et des Saracins.
Very similar words are to be found in the Chronique de Terre Sainte.

Arabic sources

CHRONICLES

In Ibn al-Lubad al-Bagdadi's long text, we read as follows:
At dawn on Monday 26 Shdban, which corresponds to 25 bashansh [Pachons in the Coptic calendar], there was a tremendous earthquake; people leapt from their beds in panic, screaming in terror and calling on God to help them. The earthquake lasted for a long time: its movement was like that of a sieve or the beating of a bird's wings. There were three violent shocks, which caused buildings and doors to shake, while ceilings, floors and anything unstable or in an elevated position collapsed. The shocks started again at midday, but few people were aware of them because they were weak and brief. That night, the cold was so intense that it was necessary to cover oneself, but the next day the hot samun wind blew so much that the air became unbreathable. Rarely had there been such strong earthquakes in Egypt. Later on, news spread that the same earthquake had struck distant regions at the same time as here. I learned that the earth had shaken at Qus, Damietta and Alexandria. Many places were destroyed so completely that no trace of them was left, and there were many victims I heard of one town in as strong a position as Jerusalem, and yet it suffered unexpected damage. However, the damage suffered by the Franks in the earthquake was greater than that in Muslim lands. We learned that the earthquake reached as far as the town of Akhlat and its province on the one hand and the island of Cyprus on the other. The sea became extremely wild, causing serious damage to lighthouses. In certain places, the waters divided and waves rose up like mountains, hurling boats on to the land, and throwing fish on to the shore. Then messages came from Syria about the earthquake. Set out below are two letters, from Damascus and Hamat. Letter from Hamat: `On Monday 26 Shdban the earth began to shake as though it were beginning to walk; the mountains swayed, and everyone thought the day of Judgement had come. There were two shocks: the first lasted for about an hour, whereas the second was briefer but stronger. Some fortresses felt the effects of the earthquake, especially the fortress of Hamat, in spite of the good quality of its construction, and then that of Ba`rin, in spite of its solid architecture, and that of Balabak [Baalbek], in spite of its solidity. We have not heard any details of more distant regions and fortresses. On Tuesday 27, at the time of midday prayer, there was a violent earthquake which was felt by everybody, whether they were awake or asleep, and whether they were standing or sitting down. On the same day, there was [another shock] at the time of afternoon prayer. News came from Damascus that the earthquake had destroyed the eastern minaret of the [Umayyad] mosque, a large part of the Kallasa and the whole hospital [of Nur al-Din]; many houses collapsed on top of their inhabitants, killing large numbers of them.

Letter from Damascus:
Your servant reports on the earthquake which occurred on Monday 26 Shdban at dawn, and lasted for a long time. Some witnesses say it lasted as long as it takes to read the sura of The Cave; some other elderly people of Damascus maintain that they have never seen anything like it in their lives. The damage includes the collapse of sixteen merlons and a minaret (the other was only damaged) at the [Umayyad] mosque, and of the lead dome of the mausoleum of Nasr. The Kallasa collapsed, killing two men. There was another victim at Bab Jayrun. Furthermore, the [Umayyad] mosque was damaged in many places, and a large number of houses have collapsed everywhere. In Muslim regions, they say that Baniyas has partly collapsed, and also Safad, where the only survivor is the son of the governor. There has been destruction at Tibnin, and at Nabulus, where not a single wall has remained standing, except in the Samra district. According to reports, Jerusalem has been left undamaged, thanks be to God. At Bayt Jinn, foundations and walls are left, although the latter have collapsed in many places. Similar collapses have occurred in the region of Hawran, to the extent that it is impossible to make out the old form of its villages. They also say that most of Acre has collapsed, and that a third of Tyre has been destroyed. Araqa and Safita are also in ruins. On the mountains of Lebanon, a group of people had gone out to collect wild fruit and two mountains closed over them, killing about two hundred.
In reporting what happened, some have exaggerated the number of victims. The earthquake lasted for four days. Then our prayers were answered by God, our protector and saviour'. The other 13th century or later Arabic sources are much briefer, and only in a few cases do they add information to what we find in Ibn al-Lubad al-Bagdadi. As we have already pointed out, moreover, some of these authors pre- or post-date the earthquake, or else create a doublet. Ibn al-Athir records two earthquakes in Egypt and Syria, dating them to the years 597 and 600 of the Hegira; but we are in fact almost certainly dealing with a single event which other Arabic sources date to the year 598 of the Hegira (= 1202):
In the month of Shdban in that year [597 H. = 7 May - 4 June 1201], the earth shook at Mawsil, everywhere in Mesopotamia, in Syria, in Egypt and elsewhere. In Syria, the effects were dreadful: many houses were destroyed at Damascus, Hims and Hamat, and a village near Busra was swallowed up by the earth. There was also massive damage along the Syrian coast: the citadels of Tripoli, Sur, Acre and Nabulus were destroyed. The earthquake also reached Byzantine territory. In Iraq, the damage was slight.
The second reference reads:
In that year [600 a terrible earthquake struck a large part of the territories of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Byzantium. It reached Sicily, Cyprus, Mawsil and Iraq. The walls of the city of Tyre were destroyed, and the earthquake caused damage throughout Syria.
Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi's narrative is as follows:
In the month of Shdban, there was a violent earthquake which caused destruction in the citadel at Hims and the collapse of its guard tower; Hisn al-Akrad was destroyed. The earthquake also struck the island of Cyprus, and reached as far as Nabulus, destroying that region. This tremendous earthquake caused destruction in all the northern Muslim countries. At Damascus, it caused the collapse of the tops of the minarets in the mosque [the Great Umayyad Mosque], as well as some merlons on the north side. A man from the Maghreb was killed at the Kallasa lime kilns; and a Turk also died: the slave of a money changer who lived in the Sumaysat district. It happened at dawn on Monday 26 Shdban, which corresponds to 20 Ab [August in the Syriac calendar]. The next morning there was a weak shock.
Abu Shama, al-Dhayl `ala al-Rawdatayn, fol. 20] reports that:
In the month of Shdban, there was a tremendous earthquake [which came?] from Upper Egypt. For an hour, the ground was like the sea; the towns of Baniyan, in Egypt, and Nabulus were destroyed, and many people perished in the ruins. Then the earthquake reached Syria and its coast; at Nabulus not so much as a wall was left standing, except in the Samra district, and there were 30,000 victims. Acre and Sur were destroyed, aE well as all the citadels along the coast. The earthquake reached Damascus: part of the east minaret of the [Great Umayyad] mosque collapsed. There was massive damage to the lime kilns (al-Kallasa), the Nur al-Din hospital, and nearly all the houses in the city. The inhabitants ran out into the squares. Sixteen balconies fell from the [Umayyad] mosque, and the Nasr mausoleum split open. Banyas was destroyed. People from Ba'alabik who had gone out to pick wild fruit were crushed to death when two mountains collapsed on top of each other. The citadel of Ba'alabik was destroyed, in spite of the fact that it was a strong building made of solid stone. The earthquake reached Hims, Hamat, Aleppo and other towns. The sea withdrew from the coast as far as Cyprus. There were very high waves which smashed boats on the shore. Then the earthquake spread towards Akhlat, and into Armenia, Adharbayjan and Mesopotamia. About 1,100,000 victims were counted. The initial violence of the earthquake abated in the time it takes to read the sura of The Cave; but the shocks continued for days.
The historian Ibn Wasil records that in 600 H. [= 1203-1204]:
There was a violent earthquake which affected most regions of Egypt and Syria, Gazira [the Arabian peninsula], Bilad al-Rum [Byzantine territories], Sicily, Cyprus, Mosul, and Iraq; and they say it reached Sibtat [Ceuta] on the far side of the Maghreb [in Morocco].
According to Ibn Munkala:
Amongst the extraordinary things which happened in Cyprus, there was an earthquake in the year 597 which was felt from Syria to Mesopotamia, Byzantine territory and Iraq. The sea withdrew from the coast as far as Cyprus, throwing ships on to the island, and ending up on its eastern shores. God only knows how many earthquake victims there were.
The historian Ibn al-Wardi records that in the year 600 H. [= 1203-1204]:
There was an earthquake which affected Egypt, Syria, Gazira [the Arabian peninsula], Bilad al-Rum [Byzantine territories], Sicily, Cyprus and Iraq. And Sur [Tyre] was destroyed.
Abu 'l-Fida gives the same date as Ibn al-Athir. He maintains that in the year of the Hegira 597 [=1200-1201]
There was a violent earthquake in the regions of Gazira [the Arabian peninsula] and Syria and along the coast, and many towns were destroyed.
For the year 600 H. 1203-1204], however, he writes that:
There was a violent earthquake which spread across Egypt, Syria, Gazira, Bilad al-Rum, Sicily, Cyprus, Iraq and other regions. And the town walls at Sur [Tyre] were destroyed.


References

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

Sbeinati et al (2005)


Fig. 16. Map of intensity distribution for May 20, 1202 earthquake
(Ambraseys and Melville, 1985). Shaded zone is the most affected
region. (from Sbeinati et al, 2005)

〈086〉 1202 May 20, early morning



Parametric catalogues



Seismological compilations



Monographs

Ambraseys and Melville (1988)

A shallow, large magnitude multiple earthquake was widely felt in the Middle East around daybreak on the morning of 20 May 1202. The main shock was felt from Lesser Armenia, parts of Anatolia and northwest Iran to Qus in upper Egypt, and from Sicily in the west to Iraq and Mesopotamia in the east (radius of 1200 km). It was associated with tsunamis. This event caused serious damage in Syria and to a lesser extent in Cyprus, with great loss of life. The epicenter was evaluated to be 34.1N and 36.1E, with estimated magnitude MS= 7.5.

Both Acre and Tyre were severely damaged with heavy loss of life. Contemporary letters (Mayer, 1972) speak of damage to walls and towers in both cities, including the palace at Acre. The house of the Temperas in Acre was spared. All but 3 towers and some outlying fortifications were destroyed in Tyre, along with churches and many houses. Intensities in Tyre may be assessed higher than those in Acre, respectively around IX and VIII. In Shamrin (Samaria) and Houran, damage was equally severe (VIII). Safad was partially destroyed, with the loss of all (VIII).

At Bait Jann, not even the foundations of walls remained standing, everything having been swallowed up (IX). In Nablus, there was total destruction (IX). In Houran province, most of the towns were so badly damage (Abd Al-Latif; Sibt Al-Jwazi). One of the villages around Busra is said to have been completely destroyed, perhaps by landslides (Ibn Al-Athir). Jerusalem suffered relatively lightly (Abd Al-Latif) at intensities not exceeding VI. Damascus was strongly shaken (VIII): a large number of houses collapsed, major buildings near the citadel were damaged, the Umayyad mosque lost its eastern minaret and 16 ornamental battlements along its north wall, one man was killed in the collapse of the Jirun gate of the mosque, the lead dome of the mosque was split in two and one other minaret fissured (Le Strange), the Kallasa mosque was ruined, killing a North African and a Mamluk slave (Abu Sha The shock in Damascus was of long duration. Another slight shock was felt early on the following morning (Abu Shama), and aftershocks continued for at least four days (‘Abd Al-Latif). In Jubail, houses are said to have collapsed (VII). The walls of Beirut are said to have been repaired around this time following earthquake damage (VII).

Rockfalls in Mount Lebanon overwhelmed about 200 people from Baalbak. Baalbak itself was destroyed (‘Abd AlLatif) (IX). In Tripoli, there was heavy loss of life (Mayer) and heavy damage (Ibn Al-Athir) (VIII). Tartus and the Templar citadel seem largely to have been spared (Berchem and Fatio; Enlart) (VI). The strongholds at Marqab and Krak (Hosn Al-Akrad) were badly damaged (Geoffrey of Donjon; Sibt Al-Jawzi) (VII). Castle of Barin was also damaged (Abd Al-Latif) (VII). In Homs, the shock was experienced at similar intensities (VII), where a watchtower of the castle was thrown down (Sibt Ibn Al-Jwazi). The earthquake in Hama was experienced as two shocks, destroying its castle, along with many houses (Ibn Al-Athir) (VIII). In and around Aleppo, the earthquake is said to have been felt (Sibt Ibn Al-Jawzi) (V), and also in Antioch (V).

This event was reported also in Al-Mousel (IV-V) and throughout the districts of Mesopotamia (IV), as far as Iraq, though without destruction of houses. Azarbaijan, Armenia, parts of Anatolia are said to have experienced the earthquake (Ibn Al-Athir; Sibt Ibn Al-Jawzi). The shock was felt throughout Egypt from Qus to Alexandria: in Cairo, the shock caused arousing sleepers who jumped from their beds in fear (V). Three violent shocks were reported, shaking buildings, doors and roofs (Abd Al-Latif). In Cyprus, the earthquake damaged churches and other buildings and was strongly felt (Abd Al-Latif; Annales 5689; Ibn Al-Athir) (VII?).

The sea between Cyprus and the coast parted and mountainous waves were piled up, throwing ships up onto the land (Arabic authors). Eastern parts of the island were flooded and numbers of fish were left stranded (Abd Al-Latif; Ibn Mankali in Taher). The earthquake is said to have been felt as far as Sicily (Ibn Al-Athir) (IV) and Ceuta (Ibn Wasil) (III?). It is very likely that the shaking reported on or after 1 March 1202 felt in and around Constantinople was from the earthquake of 20 May (Nicetas) (IV).

The loss of life caused by this earthquake and its aftershocks is high. A figure frequently quoted in Arab sources is 1100000 dead (Al-Dhahabi; Al-Suyuti) for the year 597-598 A.H. (1201-1202). This includes those dying of famine and the epidemic consequent on the failure of the Nile floods, graphically described by Abd Al-Latif, who noted 111000 deaths in Cairo along between 596 and 598 A.H. Aftershocks were reported from Hama, Damascus and Cairo, for at least four days (Abd Al-Latif).

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 1202 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 M7.6 for the 1202 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.

Salamon et. al. (2011)

1202 05 20 02:40 UT:

Severe tsunami on Levant coast and Cyprus

Many authors have reported this tsunami, describing it as a considerable event. Shalem (1956) mentions a tsunami on the Syrian coast and at Akko; Ambraseys (1962) notes the coasts of Syria, Cyprus, and Egypt that were affected; Amiran et al. (1994) describes a severe tsunami on the Levant coast and serious damage at Akko; Soloviev et al. (2000) list a tsunami near the coast of Syria. This is also mentioned by Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) and Ambraseys and Melville (1995).

Recent works of Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) and Ambraseys (2009) point to a tsunami along the coast of historic Syria (present day Syria, Lebanon, and northern Israel), and Cyprus. Guidoboni and Comastri (2005) summarize the impression of the original sources: Gigantic waves rose up in the sea between Cyprus and the coast of Syria. The sea withdrew from the coast, ships were hurled on to the eastern coast of Cyprus, fish were thrown on to the shore, and lighthouses were damaged.

The tsunami followed a destructive earthquake that affected the oriental Mediterranean coast and hinterland of what are now Lebanon, Syria, and Israel (Ambraseys and Melville, 1988; Ambraseys et al., 1994; Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005; Ambraseys, 2009). Surface rupture along the Yammouneh fault (Daeron et al., 2004, 2005; Nemer et al., 2008) and the Jordan Gorge segment of the DST (Marco et al., 1997, 2005; Ellenblum et al., 1998) indicate that this was an on-land earthquake. It is therefore possible to assume that one or more seismogenically-triggered sub-marine landslides offshore of the Levant coast generated the tsunami. An estimated magnitude of this event was given by Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) as Ms = 7.5, Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) determined this as a large event, and Ambraseys (2006) gave an estimate of Ms = 7.2.

References

Salamon, A., et al. (2011). "A critical evaluation of tsunami records reported for the Levant Coast from the second millennium bce to the present." Isr. J. Earth Sci. 58: 327-354.

Ambraseys et al (1994)


Fig. 2.11 1202 May 20, Dead Sea (from Ambraseys et al, 1994)

1202 May 20 Monday 26 Sha'ban 598 Dead Sea

A major earthquake in the upper Jordan and Litani Valleys was responsible for tens of thousands of casualties in the eastern Mediterranean region (see Figure 2.11). The shock occurred early in the morning and was felt throughout Egypt, causing great concern but little damage. In Cairo, the shock was of long duration and aroused sleepers. Three violent shocks were reported, but only tall or vulnerable buildings were particularly affected, along with those on high ground, which threatened to collapse. A lesser shock was felt about midday the same morning.1

The main shock was felt from Sicily to Azarbaijan in N.W. Iran, and from Constantinople to Aswan.2

Footnotes

1 'Abd al-Latif, pp. 264-73/trans. de Sacy, pp. 414-15.

2 Ambraseys and Melville (1988) give a detailed account of this earthquake, and of the duplications found in modern catalogues, e.g. Ben-Menahem (1979), pp. 260 (20 May 1202) and 273 (July-August 1201).

References

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

Ambraseys and Melville (1988)

Ambraseys and Melville (1988:190) discussed destruction in Damascus

A large number of houses are reported to have collapsed and beside the destruction in town, major buildings near the citadel were damaged. The Umayyad mosque lost its eastern minaret and 16 ornamental battlements along its north wall. One man was killed in the collapse of the Jirun (eastern) gate of the mosque. The lead dome of the mosque was split in two and one other minaret fissured (cf. Le Strange, 1890, p. 241). The adjacent Kallasa mosque was ruined, killing a North African and a Mamluk slave (Abu Shama, p. 29, quoting al-'Izz). This building had been founded in 1160 by Nur al-Din and restored by Saladin in 1189 after its destruction by fire (Elisseeff, 1967, p. 294). West of the mosque, Nur al-Din's hospital was completely destroyed. People fled for the open spaces. The shock in Damascus was of long duration and old men could not recall such a severe one having occurred before ('Abd al-Latif, p. 416-417). Previous destructive earthquakes had occurred in 1157 and 1170. A nother slight shock was felt early the following morning (Abu Shama, p. 29), and aftershocks continued for at least four days ('Abd al-Latif [aka al-Baghdadi], p. 417).
Ambraseys and Melville (1988:190-193) discussed destruction elsewhere [JW: some textual interpretations are presented below - consult original accounts when in doubt]
Further north, houses are said to have collapsed at Jubail (Gibelet), recently recovered by the German Crusade (1197) which restored the landlink between the Kingdom of Acre and the County of Tripoli (Annales de Terre Sainte, p. 435, Chronique de Terre Sainte, p. 16). The walls of Beirut, also regained in 1197, are said to have been repaired around this time following earthquake damage (variant readings in L'Estoire d'Eracle (p. 244-5) incorrectly under A.D. 1200; likewise Ernoul, p.'338). The fact that the Prince of Batrun, a Pisan, granted his compatriots remission of taxation early in 1202 indicates that this town too suffered damage (Muralt, 1871, p. 264). The extent of the destruction is not easy to assess in these places. The walls of Jubail were dismantled by Saladin in 1190 and were probably not rebuilt a fter the Christian takeover. Wilbrand of Oldenborg who visited Jubail in 1211 found only a strong citadel, and a similar situation in Beirut and Batrun (p. 166-7; cf. Rey, 1871, p. 121). There is therefore the danger that damage from the extensive military operations in the period before and during the Third Crusade is misreported as earthquake damage, and even if not, some of these castles may have been rendered more vulnerable by acts of warfare. Inland, however, rockfalls in Mount Lebanon overwhelmed about 200 people from Baalbek who were gathering rhubarb; Baalbek itself was destroyed despite its strength and solidity ('Abd al-Latif, p. 416).

In the County of Tripoli, the Christian sources disagree slightly on the degree of damage to Tripoli itself, though both main accounts refer to heavy loss of life (Mayer, 1972). Ibn al-Athir (xii, 112) also refers to the heavy damage there, suggesting intensities not less than VIII. Other strongholds were severely shaken: the castle of 'Arqa (Arches) was completely ruined and deserted villages in the area were taken to indicate heavy loss of life (Philip du Plessis: but perhaps simply the flight of the inhabitants, since famine and sickness were also rife). It may be noted that Rey (1871, p. 92) cites 'Abd al-Latif and Robert of Auxerre concerning an earthquake in Sha'ban 597 (sic.)/20 May 1202 which destroyed Jebel 'Akkar and Chastel Blanc, falsely equating "Archas" with 'Akkar, which the occidentals called Gibelcar. The destruction of 'Arqa is also mentioned by Arab writers ('Abd al-Latif, p. 417, Abu Shama, p. 29). Philip du Plessis records the complete destruction of the castle at "Arsum", which is not satisfactorily identified but perhaps refers to 'Arima. Mayer (1972, p. 304) is reluctant to identify Arsum but points to the possibility of Arsuf, near Caesarea. Support for this is found in the account of the pilgrimage of Wilbrand of Oldenborg, who in 1212 found the small ruined town of "Arsim" (Arsuf) on his way to Ramla (p. 184). As Mayer mentions, however, the letter seems to refer rather to a place in Tripoli, and 'Arima is suggested on the grounds: 1) that it probably belonged to the Templars; and 2) it was one of the few strongholds retained by the Christians in the truce that ended the Third Crusade (Setton, 1969, i, 664). It is situated a few miles SSW of Chastel Blanc. Philip further reported that the greater part of the walls of the Templar stronghold Chastel Blanc (Safitha) had fallen and the keep weakened to such an extent that it would have been better had it collapsed completely. 'Abd al-Latif (p. 417) also mentions the destruction of the castle. The castle keep was probably rebuilt using existing materials (Deschamps, 1977, pp. 257-258). Tortosa (Tartus) however and the Templar citadel there seem largely to have been spared, notably the Cathedral of Notre Dame (Berchem and Fatio, 1914, p. 323, Enlart, 1928, p. 397).

The Grand Master of the Hospitallers (Geoffrey of Donjon) wrote that their strongholds at Margat (Marqab) and Krak were badly damaged but could probably still hold their own in the event of attack. Damage to Krak (Hisn ai-akrad) is also mentioned in the account of Sibt b. al-Jauzi (p. 510). In the same vicinity, but in Muslim hands, the castle of Barin (Montferrand), despite its compactness and fineness, was also damaged ('Abd al-Latif, p. 416).

There is little additional evidence to help assess the intensities indicated by these reports. Studies of military architecture (e.g. Rey, 1871, Deschamps, 1934, 1977) on the whole use documentary evidence of earthquakes to support the chronology and identification of building phases at the castles, rather than documentary or archaeological evidence of rebuilding to indicate the extent of earthquake damage. Indeed, it is interesting that Deschamps, unaware of the reports of earthquake damage at Marqab in 1202, makes no reference to this specific period as being one of substantial building at the castle (Deschamps, 1977, p. 282-284), whereas in the case of Krak damage done by the earthquake is thought to have been responsible for some of the reconstruction work analysed (Deschamps, 1934, p. 281). Even so, the fact that the knights of Krak were frequently on the offensive in the next few years after 1203, and were joined by the knights from Marqab, is thought to indicate that both castles were "already in a perfect state of defense". These raids may rather suggest that attack was the best form of defense. Nevertheless, the circumstantial testimony by Geoffrey can be taken at face value and is supported by the fact that Marqab successfully resisted a counter-attack by al-Malik al-Zahir, Amir of Aleppo, in 601/1204-1205 (Ibn Wasil, iii, 165). Both Marqab and Krak were visited in 1211 by Wilbrand of Oldenborg and seemed to his probably unprofessional gaze to be very strong, the latter housing 2000 defendants (p. 169-170). Few details are available about Barin, which was finally dismantled in 1238-1239 (Deschamps, 1977, p. 322). It seems unlikely that intensities exceeding VII were experienced at any of these strongholds.

In neighboring Muslim territory, the shock was experienced at similar intensities in Hims (Horns, Emessa), where a watchtower of the castle was thrown down (Sibt b. al-Jauzi, p. 510) and Hamah, where the earthquake was experienced a s two shocks, the first lasting "an hour" and the second shorter but stronger. Despite its strength, the castle was destroyed, along with many houses and other buildings. Two further shocks were felt the following afternoon ('Abd al-Latif, p. 416). Considerable damage to houses in both towns is implied by Ibn al-Athir (xii, 112).

Further north, the earthquake is said to have been felt in Aleppo and other regional capitals (Sibt b. al-Jauzi, p. 478), and also in Antioch, though less strongly (Geoffrey of Donjon). It was also reported in Mosul and throughout the districts of Mesopotamia, as far as Iraq, though without destruction of houses. Azarbaijan, Armenia, parts of Anatolia and the town of Akhlat are said to have experienced the earthquake (Ibn al-Athir and Sibt b. al-Jauzi, toe. cit.).

In the south, the shock was felt throughout Egypt from Qus to Alexandria. Sibt b. al-Jauzi (p. 478, probably quoting al-'Izz) says that the shock came from al-Sa'id and extended into Syria; al-Sa'id being the region south of Fustat (Old Cairo) down to Aswan (Yaqut, iii, 392). In Cairo, the shock was of long duration and aroused sleepers, who jumped from their beds in fear. Three violent shocks were reported, shaking buildings, doors and roofs. Only tall or vulnerable buildings were particularly affected, and those on high ground, which threatened collapse ('Abd al-Latif, p. 414-5). Such a strong shock was considered unusual for Egypt and must have been at least intensity V. The details provided indicate that Egypt experienced long-period shaking at a large epicentral distance. A lesser shock was felt at about midday the same morning, probably the one reported from Hamah at midday on Tuesday 27 Sha'ban (21 May).

In Cyprus, under Frankish rule since 1191, the earthquake damaged churches and other buildings and was strongly felt (Annales 5689, fol. 108b; 'Abd al-Latif, p. 415; Ibn al-Athir, xii, 130). Damage to buildings is not however very well attested and it is noteworthy that most of the "Cypriot Chronicles" refer only to damage on the mainland. In the words of the Arabic authors, the sea between Cyprus and the coast parted and mountainous waves were piled up, throwing ships up onto the land. Eastern parts of the island were flooded and numbers of fish were left stranded ('Abd al-Latif, p. 415; Ibn Mankali in Taher, 1979). The significance of this seismic sea-wave is discussed below.

The earthquake is said to have been felt as far as Sicily (Ibn al-Athir, xii, 130) and Ceuta (Ibn Wasil, iii, 161), but this still lacks confirmation in the annals of the Muslim west, dominated at this period by the Almohads. No details have been recovered of the shock in the western Mediterranean area. It is very likely that the shaking reported on or after 1 March 1202 felt in and around Constantinople was from the earthquake of 20 May (Nicetas, p. 701).

The loss of life caused by this earthquake and its aftershocks is difficult to estimate. A figure frequently quoted in Arab sources is 1,100,000 dead (e.g., al-Dhahabi, iv, 296; al-Suyuti, p. 47) for the year 597-598 H. (A.D. 1201-1202). This specifically includes those dying of famine and the epidemic consequent on the failure of the Nile floods, graphically described by 'Abd al-Latif, who notes 111,000 !sic.] deaths in Cairo alone between 596 and 598 H. (p. 412). More realistically, the figure of 30,000 casualties is given, primarily, it would seem, in the Nablus area (Sibt b. al-Jauzi, p. 478). No reliance can be placed on such figures, but the fact that the main shock occurred at dawn, when most people were in bed, without noticeable foreshocks, probably contributed to a high death toll.

Aftershocks were reported from Hamah, Damascus, and Cairo, for at least four days ('Abd al-Latif, p. 417, Abu Shama, p. 29), one of which, apparently felt in Cairo and Hamah, must have been a large event. There remains the possibility that the aftershock sequence was terminated with a destructive shock that totally destroyed what was left of Nablus, but it seems preferable to consider both reports by Sibt b. al-Jauzi as referring to the same one shock. Whatever the exact sequence of events, the cumulative effects of the earthquake were clearly catastrophic. Most of the sites affected in the epicentral region (see Figure 2) must have needed total reconstruction or major repairs (cf. Table 1), although in most cases the evidence is circumstantial, not specific.

Ambraseys and Melville (1988:193) discussed their seismic interpretation
From the foregoing it appears that the 1202 earthquake was a shallow, large magnitude multiple event. This is attested by:
  1. the large area over which the shock was felt
  2. the long-period effects observed at large epicentral distances
  3. the fact that the main shock was followed by aftershocks at least one of which was very widely felt
  4. by a seismic sea-wave generated between Cyprus and the Syrian coast
  5. by the observation that in the epicentral region the earthquake was experienced as more than one shock.
References

Ambraseys, N. N., and Melville, C.P. (1988). An analysis of the eastern Mediterranean earthquake of 20 May 1202. History of seismography and earthquakes of the world. W. K. H. Lee, et al. San Diego, Academic Press: 181–200.

Abou Karaki (1987)

* JUNE 2, 1201 A.D., 26 CHABANE 597 A.H.

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

NAJA: We will see that a simple printing error in a reference, could lead to 2 doublets... It should be noted that all the dates that we give, according to the various authors, should be reduced to two, (in 1201 and 1202 AD). The rest represent errors, of the type I and II and printing!

  • (578 AD), North of Palestine, Urfa, and Nablus (Will).
  • (579 AD), Antioch and Daphne (Will).
  • (1182 AD), Syria, southern part of the West Bank, several ruined towns. (Will).
  • (1183 AD), Syria, Antioch, Damascus, Tripoli partially destroyed (Will ).
  • (1201 AD), Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia; a violent shock which also extended to Cyprus. (Will).
  • 1202 (AD), Event similar to the previous one, probably occurring in the same area, and repeating itself for several months (Will).
  • 1203 AD J.C, Syria (Will).
  • 1204 AD AD, Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Cyprus and Sicily, Destruction of the walls of Tyre. Very strong in Aleppo, probably vertical (Will).
NAJA: In fact, there were only two important events that took place in 1201 and 1202 AD. J.C. Here is the explanation of this error:

The diversity of sources to which (Will) referred has, paradoxically, contributed to accentuating the confusion, the first two dates presented, i.e. 578 and 579, should be Muslim calendar dates and not A.D. dates. Their direct transformation resulted in the years 1182 and 1183; so far, the type error I is clear and has resulted in the production of two doublets; But that is not all : these years 578 and 579 are indeed in the original Arabic, "598 A.H. and the following"; a printing error, in Sprenger's translation, 1843 transformed 598 into 578 (see AMBR1), date taken over unchanged by (Will) and certainly by others, who have not made an additional error of type I, and have transformed these two dates in 1182 and 1183 AD. J.C., also listed by (Will). The remaining dates (1201, 1202) are the dates correctly processed; as for the other two (1203 and 1204), they could have resulted from a bad conversion (Type II error). The sequel will confirm these suppositions. Let us briefly highlight how "this set of events" has been quantified in the catalog of (BM1)

A - (1182 AD), 32°,.6N, 36°,7N, Jabal Ed-Druz, Io = IX-X, ML = 6.7 (BM1)
B - (1183 AD), 34°,7N 32°,5E, Cyprus area, h=n, Io=VIII-*IX, ML=6.0 (BM1).
A'- (1201 AD), 34°,5N 36°,8E, Io = XI, ML = 7.3 (BM1).
B'- (1202 AD), 32°,5N 35°,5E , Io = X - XI, ML = 6.7 (BM1).

NAJA: It being understood that event A is strictly the same as A' and event B is strictly the same as B', we can only note the need to relativize the meaning of this type of quantifications, always considering that the resulting results can only be approximations, more or less coarse, we will come back to this.

There remains a very important anomaly about these events; indeed, the following description (AMBR1) can lead to an overestimation of the importance of these earthquakes.

- In the meantime (OCT. 12. 1200, SEP. 1201), Year 597 apr. H, an earthquake felt almost over the whole earth, particularly in Upper Egypt'; this earthquake caused great destruction; it spread to Syria and to the sea, in Mesopotamia, the Greek Empire and Iraq; it was particularly destructive in Syria, and was also felt in Armenia, Azerbaijan. It has been calculated that through this earthquake, 11n0.000 (one million one hundred thousand) victims perished, the first shock lasted only a moment but, after that, it lasted several days and it seems that this earthquake came from Mesopotamia. (AMBR1).

NAJA: a very large part in (TAHA) and (TAHF) is devoted to these events going in a direction that confirms the spirit of the remarks of the previous contribution. The number of victims mentioned above seems quite real. Nevertheless, this figure covers the effects of a series of earthquakes which followed one another in 1201 and 1202, as well as the effect of an epidemic which broke out during this time: it is the plague, which is likely to largely explain the number of victims put forward. We can also conclude by analyzing the contribution of (TAHA pp. 124 to 136) "that the earthquake came from Upper Egypt... and that at the same time the city of Nablus was completely destroyed, no wall remained standing except the district of the Samaritans; in this city there were 30,000 dead... A witness gave a description origin of the movements of the earth during the earthquake:
It was like the movement of wheat through a sieve or like the flapping of the wings of birds" so it is a sinusoidal movement. This last observation could correspond to the "visible waves of earthquakes: slow, long period, short lengths of waves observed in the epicentral zones of large earthquakes. - See Aki et al. (1980), Volume 1, Page 532 and Lommitz (1970)
- June 2, 1201 AD. J.C., Baalbek (X-XI) Damascus (IX), Acre (VIII-IX), Jerusalem (VII-VIII),..., Cairo (V-VI) (PTAH).

- 1202 a.d. J.C. Homs (VIII) (PTAH).

The city of Nablus should have been listed with I = IX at least. It should also be noted that the term "Upper Egypt" designates its southern part.

One last contribution.

- 1183, the city of Tripoli (in Libya) is destroyed: 20,000 victims.
It is likely that the earthquake of 1183 can be compared in terms of its magnitude to the earthquake of APRIL 15 1935 (ML = and, as for this last earthquake, its focus is related to the Misurata - Maamoun ditch (1976) p. 95.
NAJA
  1. Confusion' between Tripoli (Lebanon) and Tripoli (Libya)?
  2. The Misurata earthquake took place on April 19, not the 15.
French

* 2 JUIN 1201 apr. J.C.,' 26 CHABANE 597 apr. H.

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

NAJA : Nous allons voir qu'une simple erreur d'impression dans une référence, a pu aboutir à 2 doublets... Il faut remarquer que toute les dates que nous donnons, d'après les différents auteurs, devraient se ramener à deux, (en 1201 et en 1202 apr. J.C.). Le reste repré¬sente des erreurs, du type I et II et d'impression !

  • (578 apr. J.C), Au Nord de la Palestine, Urfa, et Naplouse (Will).
  • (579 apr. J.C.), Antioche et Daphne (Will).
  • (1182 apr. J.C), Syrie, partie méridionale de la Cis-jordanie, plusieurs villes ruinées. (Will).
  • (1183 apr. J.C), Syrie, Antioche, Damas, Tripoli partiellement détruites (Will ).
  • (1201 apr. J.C), Syrie, Palestine et Mésopotamie ; un choc violent qui s'est également étendu à Chypre. (Will).
  • 1202 (apr. J.C), Evéneinent similaire au précédent, probablement se produisant dans la même zone, et se 'répétant durant plusieurs mois (Will).
  • 1203 apr. J.C, Syrie (Will).
  • 1204 apr. J.C, Egypte, Syrie, Mésopotamie, Asie mineure, Chypre et la Sicile, Destruction des murs de Tyr. Très fort à Alep, probablement vertical (Will).
NAJA : En fait, il n'y a eu que deux événements impor¬tants qui ont eu lieu en 1201 et 1202 apr. J.C. Voici l'explication de cette erreur :

La diversité des sources auxquelles s'est référé (Will) a, paradoxalement, contribué à accentuer la confusion, les deux premières dates présentées, à savoir 578 et 579, devraient être ides dates de calendrier musulman et non apr. J.C. Leur transformation directe a abouti aux années 1182 et 1183 ; jusque là, l'erreur du type I est claire et elle a, eu,comme conséquence, la production de deux doublets ; mais cela n'est pas tout : ces années 578 et 579 sont en effet dans l'original Arabe, "598 apr. H et la suivante" ; une erreur d'impression, dans la traduction de Sprenger, 1843 a transformé 598 en 578 (voir AMBR1), date reprise tel quel par (Will) et certainement par d'autres, qui n'ont pas fait d'ereu7r: supplé¬mentaire du type I, ét ont transforméceÉ deux dates en 1182 et 1183 apr. J.C., également listées par (Will). Les dates restantes (1201, 1202) sont les dates correctement transformées ; quant' aux deux autres (1203 et 1204), elles pourraient avoir résulté d'une mauvaise conversion (erreur du type II). La suite confirmera ces suppositions. Soulignons brièvement, la façon dont "cet ensemble d'évé¬nements" a été quantifiée dans le catalogue de (BM1)

A - (1182 apr. J.C.), 32°,.6N, 36°,7N, Jabal Ed-Druz, Io = IX-X, ML = 6,7 (BM1)
B - (1183 apr. J.C.), 34°,7N 32°,5E, zone de Chypre, h = n, Io = VIII -*IX, ML = 6,0 (BM1).
A'- (1201 apr. J.C.), 34°,5N 36°,8E, Io = XI, ML = 7,3 (BM1).
B'- (1202 apr. J.C), 32°,5N 35°,5E , Io = X - XI, ML = 6,7 (BM1).

NAJA : Etant bien entendu que l'événement A est stric-tement le même que A' et l'événement B est strictement le même que B', nousne pouvons que constater la nécessité de relativiser la signification de ce type de quantifications, en considérant toujours que les résultats qui en découlent ne peuvent qu'être des approximations, plus ou moins grossières, nous y reviendrons.

Il reste une très importante anomalie à propos de ces événements ; en effet, la description suivant (AMBR1) peut conduire à une' surestimation de l'importance de ces séismes.

- Dans l'intervalle (12 OCT.. 1200, SEP. 1201), Année 597 apr. H, un séisme ressenti presque sur toute la terre, particulièrement en Haute-Egypte' ; ce séisme a causé des grandes destructions ; il s'est étendu en Syrie et à la mer, en Mésopotamie, à l'empire grec et à l'Irak ; il était particulièrement destructeur en Syrie, et a été également ressenti en Arménie, en Azer-baidjan. Il a été calculé qu'à travers ce tremblement de terre, 11n0.000 (un million cent mille) victimes ont péri, le premier choc n'a duré qu'un moment mais, après cela, il a duré plusieurs jours et il semble que ce séisme est venu de la Mésopotamie. (AMBR1).

NAJA : une très large partie dans (TAHA) et (TAHF) est consacrée à ces événements allant dans un sens qui confirme l'esprit des propos de la contribution précédente. Le nombre des victimes mentionné ci-dessus semble bien réel. Néanmoins ce chiffre couvre les effets d'un ensemble de séismes qui se sont succédés en 1201 et 1202, ainsi que l'effet d'une épidémie qui s'est déclarée pendant ce temps : il s'agit'de la peste, ce qui est de nature à expliquer largement le nombre de victimes avancé. On peut également conclure par l'analyse de la contribu¬tion de (TAHA pp. 124 à 136) "que le séisme est venu de la Haute-Egypte... et qu'en même temps, la ville de Naplouse a été entièrement détruite, aucun mur n'est resté debout sauf le quartier des samaritains ; dans cette ville il y a eu 30.000 Morts... Un témoin a donné une description originale des mouvements de la terre pendant le séisme :
Cela fut comme le mouvement du blé dans un tamis ou comme les battements des ailes d'oiseaux" donc il s'agit d'un mouvement sinusoïdal. Cette dernière observation pourrait correspondre aux "ondes visibles des tremblements de terre : lentes, longue période, courte longueurs d'ondes observées dans les zones épicentrales des grands séismes. - Voir Akiet al. (1980), Tome 1, Page 532 et Lommitz (1970)
- 2 juin 1201 apr. J.C., Baalbek (X-XI) Damas (IX), Acre (VIII-IX), Jérusalem (VII-VIII),..., le Caire (V-VI) (PTAH).

- 1202 apr. J.C. Homs (VIII) (PTAH).

La ville de Naplouse aurait dû figurer avec I = IX au moins. Il faut remarquer d'autre part que le terme "la Haute-Egypte", désigne sa partie méridionale.

Une dernière contribution.

- 1183, La ville de Tripoli (en Lybie) est détruite: 20.000 victimes.
Il est probable que le séisme de 1183 peut être comparé au point de vue de sa magnitude au séisme du 15 AVRIL 1935 (ML = et, comme pour ce dernier séisme, son foyer est en relation avec le fossé de Misurata - Maamoun (1976) p. 95.
NAJA
  1. Confusion' entre Tripoli (Liban) et Tripoli (Lybie) ?
  2. Le séisme de Misurata a eu lieu le 19 Avril et non le 15.

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.

Arieh (1977)

1. THE EARTHQUAKE OF 1201

a. Sources

This was a high-magnitude earthquake which was reportedly felt throughout the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. Ibn al-Athir describes the affected area as follows:

There was an earthquake in the land of Mawsil and the whole of Mesopotamia and Syria and elsewhere ... It was felt in Byzantium ... and in Iraq". (Al-Kamil, vol. XII, p. 171).
According to Ibn al-Imad
this mighty earthquake extended over most of the world" (Shadarat al-Dhaba, vol. IV, p. 328)
On the effects, Ibn al-Athir writes:
Its worst marks were left upon Syria. Many houses were destroyed in Damascus, Hims and Hamat. One village in the vicinity of Busra (ancient Botsra in the Hauran) was swallowed up by the land. It greatly affected (also) the (Syrian-Palestinian) coast: destruction was caused to Tripoli; Tyre, Acre, Nablus and other fortresses. (Al-Kamil, vol. XII, p. 171)
Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi gives a more detailed account of the effects:
It "began in Upper Egypt and extended all over the world in one hour. It destroyed the city of Nablus and the buildings of Cairo ... then it extended over Syria and the (Syrian-Palestinian) coast, totally destroyed Nablus - in which not even one wall remained erect save for the Samaritan quarter. 30,000 people died under the debris. Acre, Tyre and all the coastal fortresses were destroyed. Extending to Damascus (the earthquakes) destroyed ... most of the houses of the city ... The villages of Banias, Hunin and Tibrin (Tibrin ?) were ruined ... The fortress of Ba'al Bek, although it had been firmly built with huge stones, was thrown down. The earthquake extended to Hims (Emessa), Hamat, Halab (Aleppo) and the fortresses of the Byzantine border. It cut through the sea of Cyprus and the sea parted and became like lofty mountains, casting boats to the shore where they broke to pieces. The victims numbered approximately 1,100,000 human beings". The duration of the earthquake was about 40-45 minutes, "the length of time that iI takes to read the Chapter cf the Cave (Surat al-Kahf)", but "its tremors (probably after-shocks and/or other earthquakes) continued for several days" ... (Mir'at al-Zaman, vol. VIII/2, p. 478).
b. Estimate of intensities and epicenter location

Very conservative estimates of the seismic intensities of the reputed earthquake of 1201 are summed up in the following table. Relevant intensity values (covering only Syria) are plotted on Figure 3.

Table 3: The 1201 Earthquake
Site Damage Est. Imax Remarks
Nablus "It totally destroyed Nablus, in which not even one wall remained erect, save the Samaritan quarter. 30,000 people died under the debris" (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) IX-X Seems exaggerated (the number of population was less than 30,000)
Cairo "It destroyed the buildings of Cairo" (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) IX?
Damascus "It caused the collapse of ... most of the houses of the city" (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) IX? probably caused by another earthquake
Safed "Of all the inhabitants only one escaped death" (Dhahabi) IX
Banias Ruined (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) VIII
Hunin Ruined (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) VIII
Tibrin Ruined (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) VIII
Acre Ruined (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) VIII
Tyre Ruined (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) VIII
Syrian Coast All the coastal fortresses were destroyed (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) VIII
Ba'al Bek The fortress collapsed (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) VIII
Cyprus Heavy tsunamis (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi)
Emessa felt (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) IV
Hamat felt (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) IV
Aleppo felt (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) IV
Byzantine border felt (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) IV
The pattern of intensity distribution suggests a combination of two or more earthquakes, one of them offshore (which affected Cyprus). Considering the effects in Syria it seems that the epicenter location should be in the Dead Sea-Jordan Rift Valley - probably somewhere between the Dead Sea and Lake Kinneret. Nablus was undoubtedly the most affected city, probably followed by Safed and Damascus. The reported destruction of Acre, Tyre and all the coastal fortresses is dubious, since there is no report of any particular damage (similar to that of Nablus, Safed, Damascus, Ba'al Bek etc.)

The maximal probable seismic intensity at the NP-1 site, suggested from the intensity distribution, could not exceed VIII (MMS) - which is the assumed maximal seismic intensity along the Syrian coast.

2. THE EARTHQUAKE OF 1202 (MAY-JUNE)

The affected area of this earthquake (from- Syria to Cyprus) was similar to that of 1201. (As mentioned, there is a possibility of only one earthquake). However, it had lower seismic intensities. The earthquake effects are summed up in the following table:

Table 4: The 1202 Earthquake
Site Damage Est. Imax
Hims (Emessa) "It cracked the fortress of Hims" (Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi) VII-VIII
Damascus "Threw down the Belvedere of the citadel" (Ibid) VII-VIII
Nablus "It demolished whatever had escaped (the earthquake of the previous year)" (Ibid) VIII
Cyprus "The earthquake moved over to the Island of Cyprus" (Ibid)
The highest seismic intensity - VIII - attained at Nablus, suggests an epicenter location in the Dead Sea-Jordan Rift Valley. However, Cyprus was certainly affected by another earthquake. Even if the effects were restricted only to Nablus, Damascus and Hims, it is unexplained why the earthquake did not affect other nearby localities (Safed, Acre, Ramleh etc.). Data are in- sufficient for preparing an isoseismal map.

Since there were not reports on damage along the Syrian-Palestine coast, it is assumed that the maximal probable seismic intensity at the NP-1 site could hardly exceed VII.

4. THE EARTHQUAKE OF 1203-4

a. Sources

The accounts of this earthquake are vague and are probably a repetition of the effects of the 1201-2 earthquakes or of earthquakes outside our region.

A typical description of this earthquake runs as follows:
In this year (10th September 1203 - 28th August 1204) there was a great earthquake which struck most of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, the Byzantine Empire, Sicily, Cyprus, and reached as far as Mawsil, Iraq and elsewhere. The city wall of Tyre was demolished and many places in Syria were affected by it" (Ibn al- Athir: Al-Kamil, vol. XII, p. 198).
b. Estimate of Intensities

The described effects of the reputed. 1203-4 earthquake are vague but the pattern of intensity distribution seems similar to those of the 1201 earthquake. It seems that the earthquake originated in the vicinity of Syria and affected mainly Tyre (probable intensity VIII 'MMS) and several other Syrian towns.

The Muslim historians (like Ibn al-Athir), probably combined then:- effects with those of other contemporary earthquakes and "created" a major earthquake. (see above.)

The available data do not justify the preparation of an isoseismal map. Considering the effects on Syria, the maximal probable seismic intensity at the NP-1 site should be negligible, and certainly should not exceed VII (MMS).

References

Arieh, E. (1977). An Evaluation of Six Significant Historical Earthquakes, Jerusalem, Israel: Report for the Seismological Section of the Geologic Survey of Israel.


Figure 3

Paleoclimate - Droughts

References

References

Agnon, A., et al. (2006). "Intraclast breccias in laminated sequences reviewed: Recorders of paleo-earthquakes." Geological Society of America Special Papers 401: 195-214.

Ambraseys, N. N., and Melville, C.P. (1988). An analysis of the eastern Mediterranean earthquake of 20 May 1202. History of seismography and earthquakes of the world. W. K. H. Lee, et al. San Diego, Academic Press: 181–200.

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

Daeron, M., et al. (2005). "Sources of the large A.D. 1202 and 1759 Near East earthquakes." Geology 33(7): 529-532.

Ellenblum, R., et al. (1998). "Crusader castle torn apart by earthquake at dawn, 20 May 1202." Geology 26(4): 303-306.

Hough, S. E., and R. Avni (2009). "The 1170 and 1202 Dead Sea Rift earthquakes and long‐term magnitude distribution on the Dead Sea fault zone." Isr. J. Earth Sci. 58(3-4): 295-308.

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.

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.

Le Strange, G. (1890). "Palestine under the Moslems A description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500."

Ancient Texts (partial list)


Beugnot, A. A. L'Estoire de Eracles, empereur, et la conqueste de la terre d'Outre-mer, c'est la translation et l'estoire de Guillaume, arcevesque de Sur.

Chronique de Terre Sainte and Annales de Terre Sainte 435 inside of Raynaud, G. and G. de Monrtal (1887). Les gestes des Chiprois. Recueil de chroniques françaises écrites en Orient au 13e & 14e siècles (Philippe de Navarre & Gérard de Montréal publié pour la première fois pour la Société de l'Orient latin".

Les gestes des Chiprois. Recueil de chroniques françaises écrites en Orient au 13e & 14e siècles (Philippe de Navarre & Gérard de Montréal publié pour la première fois pour la Société de l'Orient latin" Mayer, H. E. (1972), 'Two unpublished letters on the Syrian earthquake of 1202', in S. A. Hanna (ed.), Medieval and Middle Eastern Studies



Ancient Arabic Texts (partial list)


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.

Abu al-Fida Ismail Ibn Hamwi . The Concise History of Humanity or Chronicles (Arabic: 'Tarikhu 'al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar al-Bashar (History of Abu al-Fida).

Ibn al-Furat, Tarikh al-duwal wal-muluk, vols. iv/1âv, ed. Hassan al-Shamma, Basra, 1967; also vol. vii, ed. C. K. Zurayk and N. Izzedin, Beirut, 1936-42.

Bar Hebraeus, see Abu'l-Faraj, Girgis.

al-Dawadari, I. Kanz al-durar wa-jei mi` al-ghurar. Dar al-kutub al misriyya ms. 2578 ta'rikh. Cairo.

al-Dawadari, I. Kanz al-durar wa-jei mi` al-ghurar. Dar al-kutub al misriyya ms. 2578 ta'rikh. Cairo.

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

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

Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature Vol. 2

Ibn al Hambali, I. a. I. a.-H. (931-32). Shadharat al-dhabab. Cairo.

Abd al-Latif, Kitab al-ifada, trans. S. de Sacy, Reation d'Egypte, Paris, 1810.

ABU SHAMA, Dhailâala al-raudatain fi akbar al-daulatayn, edited by M. ZAHID AL-KAUTHARI, Cairo 1947.

ABUSHAMA, Kitab al-Raudatayn fi akbar al-daulatayn, edited by M. HILMI, 2 vols., Cairo 1956-1962.

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