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1212 CE Quake

1 May 1212 CE

by Jefferson Williams









Introduction & Summary

The earliest source for this earthquake is contemporaneous Abu Shama of Damascus who described an earthquake which struck on the night of 1 May 1212 CE. Abu Shama wrote that this earthquake was reported to have caused damage in Cairo, Shubak, and al-Karak and was felt most strongly at Ayla. Later Muslim sources more or less repeat his account but do not mention Ayla and state that there was seismic destruction in Egypt - not just Cairo. There is also a report from Nectarius of Jerusalem specifying damage to Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai from an earthquake which struck at dawn on 1 May 1212 CE and was preceded by a foreshock which struck at sunset of the previous evening (30 April). Two of the later Muslim sources and Abu Shama report an atmospheric phenomenon which apparently preceded the earthquake. Abu Shama described it as a black wind accompanied by many falling stars. Later writing authors al-Maqrizi and as-Suyuti, both Egyptians, described it as "smoke" seen coming down from the sky in Damascus. Ambraseys (2009:338) reports that aftershocks continued for a year - apparently based on Nectarius of Jerusalem.

Abu Shama's report of a strong shock at Ayla coupled with damage reports from Shubak, al-Karak, and Saint Catherine's in the Sinai suggests a fault break on the Araba and/or in the Gulf of Aqaba. There may be supporting paleoseismic evidence from the southern Araba however at many sites it is difficult to distinguish effects of the 1068 CE Quake(s) from the 1212 CE Quake. The Qatar Trench, however, appears to have well dated evidence for the 1212 CE Quake. There may also be Paleoseismic evidence for the the 1212 CE Quake in the Dead Sea.

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
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

States that on the night of 1 May 1212 CE [year assumed] there was a tremendous earthquake which destroyed many parts of old and new Cairo while adding that it also destroyed towers and houses at Al- Karak and Shubak and many women and children died in the ruins. Abu Shama also said that the most violent shock was at Aylat, on the coast and added that it was said that the earthquake was preceded by a black wind and many falling stars.

Ibn Kathir Arabic
Biography

Ibn Kathir was a historian and traditionist born around 1300 CE in Bosra. He moved to Damascus in 1306 CE and died there in 1373 CE (H. Laoust in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3, 1991:817-818). His most notable work, The Beginning and the End (Al-Bidaya wa'l-Nihaya). was written in 14 volumes (H. Laoust in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3, 1991:817-818). The earthquake account may be in Volume 13.

Muslim Before 1373 CE Damascus
Account

States that there was a very violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed adding that the same thing happened at Al-Karak and Shubak, and some of its citadel towers were destroyed and many women and children died in the ruins.

al-Maqrizi Arabic
Biography

Al-Maqrizi was born around 1364 CE in Cairo, spent most of his life in Egypt, and died in 1442 CE (Rabbat, 2003:6, 18). He worked at clerical and administrative jobs in government and, at one time, was an inspector of the markets of Cairo and northern Egypt (wikipedia). He later gave all that up to become a preacher and later president of a Mosque. In 1408 CE, he moved to Damascus but finally retired to Cairo. In 1430 CE, he traveled for 5 years. His literary works exceed 200 and are focused on Egypt (wikipedia).

Sunni Muslim Shafi‘i (Rabbat, 2003:9) before 1442 CE Cairo or Damascus
Account

States that there was a violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed adding that there was also an earthquake at Al-Karak and Shubak and many people died in the ruins and a number of towers in its citadel were destroyed. States that smoke was seen coming down from heaven to earth in Damascus between dusk and evening.

as-Suyuti Arabic
Biography

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

Sufi Muslim 15th c. CE Cairo
Account

States that in A.H. 608 (15 June 1211 - 2 June 1212 CE) there was a violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed adding that there was also an earthquake at Al-Karak and Shubak, and some towers in its citadel were destroyed and many people died in the ruins. States that smoke was seen to come down from heaven to earth between dusk and evening at the tomb of Atika in the western part of Damascus..

Nectarius of Jerusalem Greek
Biography

Nectarius of Jerusalem was born in Crete in 1605 CE and was educated at Saint Catherine's monastery in the Sinai where he became a monk (F. Kattenbusch in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VIII, 1914:98). At the age of 35 he studied in Athens and around 1660 CE at the age of 55 he became abbot of the monastery after completing some business on behalf of the monastery in Constantinople. However, on his way to be consecrated in Jerusalem, he was chosen as the Patriarch of Jerusalem and was consecrated in this position in April 1661 CE (F. Kattenbusch in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VIII, 1914:98). He authored several texts and died in 1680 CE (F. Kattenbusch in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VIII, 1914:98). Nectarius is said to have written a history of the Egyptian empire down to Sultan Selim in an Arabic manuscript which he composed in Greek (wikipedia citing Fabricius, Bibliotheca Graeca (ed. Harless), ix, 310).

Greek Orthodox Christian before 1680 CE Jerusalem ?
Account

Ambraseys (2009:337), citing Nectarios Kretas (1768, 197; 1677, 198) and Eustratiades (1932, 1225) quoting an Arabic synaxarium written at the monastery [of St Catherine in Sinai] in February 1214, states the following:

In the Sinai Peninsula, the shock caused severe damage to the monastery of St Catherine, destroying a major part of its fortifications and damaging the church. The northern wall of the monastery, with its northwest and northeast corners, collapsed. Of the cells, some were destroyed completely and others lost their roofs, apparently without loss of life. This was possibly due to the fact that the earthquake, which struck at dawn, had been preceded by a foreshock at sunset the previous evening (Monday 30 April), which might have served as a warning.

The shock triggered rock falls from the mountains behind the monastery, and was followed by aftershocks that continued for a year. The date of the earthquake was commemorated as a day for prayers and penitence
Ambraseys (2009:338 n.2) notes that the day for prayers, 1 May, is the definitive date of the shock.

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

Seismic Effects
Effect Sources Notes
Violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed Abu Shama, Ibn Kathir, al-Maqrizi, as-Suyuti Abu Shama says it destroyed many parts of old and new Cairo but did not mention Egypt.
Earthquake at Al-Karak and Shubak and many people died in the ruins of houses and a number of towers in its citadel were destroyed Abu Shama, Ibn Kathir, al-Maqrizi, as-Suyuti
The most violent shock was at Aylat, on the coast Abu Shama Abu Shama
Smoke was seen coming down from heaven to earth between dusk and evening Abu Shama, al-Maqrizi, as-Suyuti Abu Shama said the [nighttime] earthquake was preceded by a black wind and many falling stars.
as-Suyuti specifies that this was observed at the tomb of Atika in the western part of Damascus
Damage to Saint Catherine's monastery in the Sinai Nectarius of Jerusalem
Date
Date Sources Notes
1 May Abu Shama and Nectarius of Jerusalem Nectarius of Jerusalem date provided by Ambraseys (2009:338 n.2)
Time of Day
Time Sources Notes
nighttime Abu Shama
dawn Nectarius of Jerusalem Nectarius of Jerusalem timing provided by Ambraseys (2009:338)
preceded by a foreshock at sunset the previous evening (Monday 30 April) Nectarius of Jerusalem Nectarius of Jerusalem timing provided by Ambraseys (2009:338)

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)

During the night of 27 Dhul-qa'da (1 May), there was a tremendous earthquake which destroyed many parts of old and new Cairo; it also destroyed towers and houses at Al- Karak and Shubak. Many women and children died in the ruins. The most violent shock was at Aylat, on the coast. It was said that the earthquake was preceded by a black wind and many falling stars.

Chronology
Year Reference Corrections Notes
night of 1 May 1212 CE night of 27 Dhu'l-Qa'da none
  • Calculated using CHRONOS
  • A.H. 608 is assumed
  • 1 May 1212 CE fell on a Tuesday (calculated using CHRONOS)
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Beginning and the End by Ibn Kathir

Al-Bidaya wa'l-Nihaya by ابن كثير

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn Kathīr ابن كثير
Abu al-Fiḍā ‘Imād Ad-Din Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Umar ibn Kathīr al-Qurashī Al-Damishqī إسماعيل بن عمر بن كثير القرشي الدمشقي أبو الفداء عماد
Abū l-Fidāʾ Ismāʿīl ibn ʿUmar ibn Kaṯīr أبو الفداء إسماعيل بن عمر بن كثير
Imād ad-Dīn عماد الدين
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Ibn Kathir was a historian and traditionist born around 1300 CE in Bosra. He moved to Damascus in 1306 CE and died there in 1373 CE (H. Laoust in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3, 1991:817-818). His most notable work, The Beginning and the End (Al-Bidaya wa'l-Nihaya), was written in 14 volumes (H. Laoust in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3, 1991:817-818). The earthquake account may be in Volume 13.

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

There was a very violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed. The same thing happened at Al-Karak and Shubak, and some of its citadel towers were destroyed. Many women and children died in the ruins.

Seismic Effects Locations Sources
Sources

H. Laoust in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3 (1991:817-818) describes Ibn Kathir's sources as follows

His history of the caliphate makes use, among other sources, of al-Tabari, Ibn 'Asakir, Ibn al-Djawzi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Djawzi, Kutb al-Din al-Yunini, al-Dhahabi, etc. The Biddya ends with a chronicle of the history of Damascus, which owes much to the Ta'rikh of al-Birzali (d, 739/1338-9) and his Mu'djam.

Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa’l-nihaya fi ’l-tarikh, 13 volumes, ed. Cairo, 1932–39 (1300–1373) 1351-58.

Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa'l-nihaya, Beirut 1966.

al-Bidaya complete text

zlib booklist on Ibn Kathir (Indonesian)

IBN KATHIR, al-Bidaya wa wa 'l-nihaya fi al-tarikh, 14 vols., Cairo 1932-1939.

Notes
Dependants

H. Laoust in Encyclopedia of Islam v. 3 (1991:817-818) describes some of Ibn Kathir's dependants

The popularity of the Biddya is proved by the great number of historical works for which it, in its turn, was the basis, including those of Ibn Hidjdji (d. 816/1413), Ibn Katfi Shuhba (d. 851/1348) and especially Ibn Hadjar al-'Askalani (d. 852/1449), who wrote a continuation not only of Ibn Kathir but of two of the latter's great teachers, al-Mizzi and al-Dhahabi. Al-'Ayni (d. 855/1451) was also indebted to the Biddya.

Exhortations and Instructions on the Districts and Antiquities & Admonitions of the Orthodox by al-Maqrizi

Khitat & Itti’az by المقريزي

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Al-Maqrīzī المقريزي
Maḳrīzī
Taqī al-Dīn Abū al-'Abbās Aḥmad ibn 'Alī ibn 'Abd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad al-Maqrīzī تقي الدين أحمد بن علي بن عبد القادر بن محمد المقريزي
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Al-Maqrizi was born around 1364 CE in Cairo, spent most of his life in Egypt, and died in 1442 CE (Rabbat, 2003:6, 18). He worked at clerical and administrative jobs in government and, at one time, was an inspector of the markets of Cairo and northern Egypt (wikipedia). He later gave all that up to become a preacher and later president of a Mosque. In 1408 CE, he moved to Damascus but finally retired to Cairo. In 1430 CE, he traveled for 5 years. His literary works exceed 200 and are focused on Egypt (wikipedia).

Excerpts
English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

There was a violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed. There was also an earthquake at Al-Karak and Shubak and many people died in the ruins and a number of towers in its citadel were destroyed. And smoke was seen coming down from heaven to earth in Damascus between dusk and evening.

Seismic Effects Locations Sources
Sources and Notes

from Al-Maqrizi’s works are the most comprehensive account of the Fatimid era by Nimira Dewji March 7 2015

One of the most important sources of Fatimid history is the works of the prolific Egyptian Taqi al-Din Ahmad b. Ali al-Maqrizi (1364-1442). Al-Maqrizi was the first historian to understand that the history of space – a city, building – can reveal as much as any text or document. He attempted to reconstruct the vanished Fatimid city by tracing its walls and streets and enumerating its mosques and palaces in his massive book, Exhortations and Instructions on the Districts and Antiquities, usually known as Khitat (Districts).

Al-Maqrizi also wrote a chronicle of Fatimid history from its origins to the end of the dynasty: Admonitions of the Orthodox, usually known as the Itti’az (Admonitions). One of the sources that al-Maqrizi repeatedly cites is the Book of Treasures and Curiosities, written in Arabic by an anonymous eyewitness to some of the events of the Fatimid period; this work describes the material and the visual world of the period. The manuscript was thought to have been lost but was discovered in the 1950s in the Gedik Ahmet Pasa Library at Afyonkarahsar in Turkey. It was subsequently translated into English and published.

The Khitat provides unique insights into the topographical facets of Cairo, a city founded by al-Mu‘izz in 969, describing the many spectacular structures established in Egypt. His other work, the Muqaffa, records invaluable biographical accounts of the prominent figures of Fatimid society.

Al-Maqrizi’s writings represent the most comprehensive account of the Fatimid era. His Itti‘az al-hunafa’ bi-akhbar al a’imma al-Fatimiyyin al-khulafa’ (Lessons for the Seekers of Truth in the History of the Fatimid Imams and Caliphs) focuses principally on the Fatimid age.

The Institute of Ismaili Studies has published the book, Towards a Shi‘i Mediterranean Empire, that focuses on the reign of the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Mu‘izz as discussed in the Itti‘az. The Institute has also published an Arabic critical edition of al-Maqrizi’s Itti‘az al-hunafa.

References:

Jonathan. M. Bloom, Arts of the City Victorious: Islamic art and architecture in Fatimid North Africa and Egypt. Yale University Press. 2008

Dr. Shainool Jiwa, Towards a Shi‘i Mediterranean Empire: Fatimid Egypt and the Founding of Cairo. I.B. Taurus in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies

Online Versions and Further Reading
References

al-Maqrizi, Taqi al-Din, Kitab al-suluk li-ma’rifat duwal al-muluk, ed. M. Ziada and A. ’Ashur, 4 volumes, Cairo 1934/972, also ed. J. M. de Goeje, Leiden: Bibl. Geograph. Arabes, 1906.

al-Maqr. khit.: Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi, Kitab al-mawa’z wa’l-itibar fi dhikr al-khitat wal’athar, ed Bulaq, Cairo, 1853–54; partial trans. ed. G. Wiet, MIFAO xxx–liii, Cairo, 1911–25.

al-Maqrizi, Taqi al-Din partial trans. in M. Quatremere ` (1837), Histoire des sultans Mamlouks de l’Egypte, London: Oriental Translations Fund, 4 volumes in 2, 1837–45.

al-Maqrizi, Kitab al-sulak li-mdrifat duwal al-muluk, ed. M.Mustafa Ziada and Sa`id A.F `Ashur, 4 vols. in 8, Cairo 1934-72, partial trans. in M.Quatremere, Histoire des sultans Mamlouks de l'Egypte, London 1937-45.

Rabbat, N. (2003) Who was Maqrizi ? A biographical sketch

al-Maqqari, Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Tilimsani, Nafit al-tib, Beirut n.d 355

al-Maqrizi, Ahmad b. 'Ali, Daw' al-sari li-ma'rifat khabar tamim al-dari, (1) ed. C. D. Matthews, JPOS, 19:147, 1939/40

Cairo 1972 201 al-Dhahab al-masbuk fi dhikr man hajja min al-khulafa' wa'l-muluk, Cairo 1955 259

Book: The Megrazi plans called "sermons and consideration by mentioning plans and monuments" - in Arabic but your browser can translate to English

Khitat

Ambraseys (2009) quotes Khitat by al-Maqrizi for the Earthquake of 1068 CE.

al-Mawa`iz wa'l-i`tibar bi-dhikr al-khitat wa'l-athar, Beirut n.d. 76, 175, 245, 259, 304, 313, 344, 364, 422, 460, 469, 475-476, 483, 549-550, 552-553, 564, 566, 569, 571, 576-577, 585, 592, 598, 702, 709-710, 836, 918, 941-942, 943 al-Muqaffa, ed. T. Bianquis, BEO, 26:185, 1973 550, 552, 553, 558

Maqrīzī (al-), Taqī al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn 'Alī (1908) [1906]. Kitāb al-Khiṭaṭ al-Maqrīzīyah (in Arabic). Vol. 4. Cairo: Al-Nīl Press.

al-Maqrizi, Kitab al-Mawa`iz wa 7-ietibar f ti dhikr al-khitat wa'l-athar ft Misr wa'l-Qahira wa'l Nil wa-mayatdallaqu biha min al-akhbar al-mdruf bi-ism al-khitat, Cairo, 1270/1853-54.

Description topographique et historique de l'Égypte by Urbain Bouriant (Trans.) - Translated from Al-Mawāʻiẓ wa-al-lʻtibār bi-Dhikr al-Khiṭaṭ wa-al-āthār - did not find the earthquake in here

Itti‘az

Gil (1992:409 n. 60) quotes Itti‘az by al-Maqrizi for the Earthquake of 1068 CE.

al-Maqrizi, Taqi al-Din, Ittiaz al-huntafa, ed. Jamal al-Din al-Shayyal, 3 volumes, Cairo, 1967–73.

Itti‘az al-hunafa’ bi-akhbar al-a’imma al-Fatimiyyin al-khulafa’ (Lessons for the Seekers of Truth on the History of the Fatimid Imams and Caliphs)

News article - IIS Publishes Arabic Critical Edition of al-Maqrizi’s Itti‘az al-hunafa’

Redjala, M. b., et al. (1975). "Les Éditions De L'Itti'Āz Al-Hunafā' (Histoire Fatimide) De Maqrīzī Par Ahmad Hilmy, Sadok Hunī (Khouni), Fātiha Dib Et Peter Kessler." Arabica 22(3): 302-323.

Wiet, M.G. (1911) El-mawâ'iz wa'l-i'tibâr fî dhikr el-khitat wa'l-âthâr. t.1 Chap. I-XXX - Arabic with french footnotes - online

Itti'az al-hunafa', Cairo 1967/73 255, 304, 463, 545, 547, 548-549, 550, 552-553, 555, 557-558, 560-561, 564-566, 576, 585, 587-588, 592, 595-596, 598, 600, 602-603, 607, 610-611, 811, 894, 944

Itti'az al-hunafa by Aḥmad ibn ʻAlī Maqrīzī (ed. 1948)

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 Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In the year 608 [H. = 1212-1213], there was a violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed. There was also an earthquake at Al-Karak and Shubak, and some towers in its citadel were destroyed and many people died in the ruins. Smoke was seen to come down from heaven to earth between dusk and evening at the tomb of Atika in the western part of Damascus.

English from Sprenger (1843)

A.H. 608. In Egypt and Cairo many persons lost their lives, and great smoke arose west of Damascus.

English from Sprenger (1843) - embedded



An Original Manuscript - Arabic

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



























Chronology
Year Reference Corrections Notes
15 June 1211 - 2 June 1212 CE A.H. 608 none Calculated using CHRONOS
Seismic Effects Locations Notes and Further Reading
References

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

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

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

WORKS & BOOKS OF IMAM JALALUDDIN SUYUTI

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

References form 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

Nectarius of Jerusalem

Aliases

Aliases Greek
Nectarius of Jerusalem
Nectarios Kretas
Nikolaos Pelopidis Νεκτάριος Πελοπίδης
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Nectarius of Jerusalem was born in Crete in 1605 CE and was educated at Saint Catherine's monastery in the Sinai where he became a monk (F. Kattenbusch in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VIII, 1914:98). At the age of 35 he studied in Athens and around 1660 CE at the age of 55 he became abbot of the monastery after completing some business on behalf of the monastery in Constantinople. However, on his way to be consecrated in Jerusalem, he was chosen as the Patriarch of Jerusalem and was consecrated in this position in April 1661 CE (F. Kattenbusch in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VIII, 1914:98). He authored several texts and died in 1680 CE (F. Kattenbusch in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VIII, 1914:98). Nectarius is said to have written a history of the Egyptian empire down to Sultan Selim in an Arabic manuscript which he composed in Greek (wikipedia citing Fabricius, Bibliotheca Graeca (ed. Harless), ix, 310).

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

  • from Ambraseys (2009:337), citing Nectarios Kretas (1768, 197; 1677, 198) and Eustratiades (1932, 1225) quoting an Arabic synaxarium written at the monastery [of St Catherine in Sinai] in February 1214
In the Sinai Peninsula, the shock caused severe damage to the monastery of St Catherine, destroying a major part of its fortifications and damaging the church. The northern wall of the monastery, with its northwest and northeast corners, collapsed. Of the cells, some were destroyed completely and others lost their roofs, apparently without loss of life. This was possibly due to the fact that the earthquake, which struck at dawn, had been preceded by a foreshock at sunset the previous evening (Monday 30 April), which might have served as a warning.

The shock triggered rock falls from the mountains behind the monastery, and was followed by aftershocks that continued for a year. The date of the earthquake was commemorated as a day for prayers and penitence.

Chronology
Year Reference Corrections Notes
dawn 1 May the day for prayers, 1 May, is the definitive date of the shock none Ambraseys (2009:338 n.2) wrote that the day for prayers, 1 May, is the definitive date of the shock
Seismic Effects Locations Notes and Further Reading
References

Eustratiades, S.A. (1932) Oi en Byzantio megaloi kai katastreptikoi seismoi. Romanos o Melodos, I (Paris), 121-6.

Eustratiadis, S. A. (1918), Katalogos ton en ti moni Vlateon apokeimenon kothikon, Thessaloniki.

Melville, C. P. (1984), ‘The use of historical records for seismic assessment’, in A. Brambati and D. Slejko (eds.), The O.G.S. Silver Anniversary Volume, Trieste.

Nectarios Kretes, Patriarch of Jerusalem (1677) Epitomi tis ierokosmikis historias, 1st edn; also ed. S. Milias, Venice (1758).

Nectarios Kretas (1768, 197; 1677, 198)

Nectarios Kretas (1658), Epitomi tis hierokosmikis historias, ed. S. Milias, Venice, 1677.

Papamichalopoulos, C. N. (1912), I moni tou orous Sina, Athens–Cairo

Bibliography from New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge

Among the writings of Nectarine the most important is his refutation of the theses of a certain Peter regarding the papal supremacy (ed. Dositheus, with a life of Nectarius, Jassy, 1682). He is still better known by his recommendation of the Confessio orthodoxa of Mogilas (latest ed., E. Legrand, Bibliographie hellenique, ii. 208 sqq., 4 vols, Paris, 1894-98). A letter to the monks of Sinai is also contained in E. Renaudot's Genadii patriarchoe Constanlinopolitani homiliae de sacramento eucharistiae, etc. (Paris, 1709, pp. 171-183). In his doctrine of the Eucharist Nectarine was strictly orthodox, and a zealous opponent of Cyril Lucar (q.v.) and the "Calvinistic" movement.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Beside the biography noted in the test and the work of Legrand, vols. ii-v. passim. consult:

M. Le Quinn. Oriens Christianus, iii. 6520-522. Paris, 1740

A. Pichler, Geschichte der kirchlichhen Trennung zwischen dem Orient und Occident, i. 474-481, Munich, 1864 (deals with the tract against Peter).

Notes

Ambraseys (2009:338) states

[2] Nectarios Kretas (1768, 197; 1677, 198) and Eustratiades (1932, 1225) quote an Arabic synaxarium written at the monastery in February 1214. The day for prayers, 1 May, is the definitive date of the shock; Muslim sources all give 27 Dhul-Qada, which is 2 May [JW: 27 Dhu l-Qa'da A.H. 608 = 1 May 2012 CE] .

[3] This information is recorded by Nectarios, a Sinaite archbishop writing in 1658. He gives the date as 1312 or 1212, whereas Papamichalopoulos (1912, 29) places the earthquake on 1 May 1608 on the authority of Iosaph, which is not consistent with the other chronological elements in the account. These two sources have misled Ben-Menahem (1979, 258), who has 1312 (or 1608): the date should read 1212 (608 a.H.). See Melville (1984, 99).

Archaeoseismic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Jericho - Introduction n/a n/a n/a
Jericho - Hisham's Palace probable ≥ 8
9-10
Later Earthquake - Alfonsi et al (2013) dated the causitive earthquake for the major seismic destruction at Hisham's Palace to the earthquake of 1033 CE unlike previous researchers who dated it to one of the Sabbatical Year earthquakes. Their discussion is reproduced below:
The archaeological data testify to an uninterrupted occupancy from eighth century until 1000 A.D. of the Hisham palace (Whitcomb, 1988). Therefore, if earthquakes occurred in this time period, the effects should not have implied a total destruction with consequent occupancy contraction or abandonment. Toppled walls and columns in the central court cover debris containing 750-850 A.D. old ceramic shards (Whitcomb, 1988). Recently unearthed collapses north of the court confirm a widespread destruction after the eighth century (Jericho Mafjar Project - The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago). These elements support the action of a destructive shaking event at the site later than the 749 A.D. earthquake. The two well-constrained, major historical earthquakes recognized in the southern Jordan Valley are the 749 and 1033 A.D. (Table 1; Marco et al (2003); Guidoboni and Comastri, 2005). We assign an IX—X intensity degree to the here-recorded Hisham damage, whereas a VII degree has been attributed to the 749 A.D. earthquake at the site (Marco et al, 2003). Furthermore, Whitcomb (1988) defines an increment of occupation of the palace between 900 and 1000 A.D. followed by a successive occupation in the 1200-1400 A.D. time span. On the basis of the above, and because no pottery remains are instead associated with the 1000-1200 A.D. period at Hisham palace (Whitcomb, 1988), we suggest a temporary, significant contraction or abandonment of the site as consequence of a severe destruction in the eleventh century.
Petra - Introduction n/a n/a n/a
Petra - Jabal Harun possible ≥ 8 Phase 12 destruction event - not well dated - Mikkola et al (2008) noted that in this destruction event all remaining roof structures collapsed and there was a layer of stone tumble. Hard-packed, clayey soil directly under the lowermost deposits of stone tumble [...] contained relatively few finds apparently making it difficult to date. Also found in the stone tumble were the remains of two fallen arches, a row of voussoirs, some drums fallen from a column, and many other architectural elements found throughout the complex.
Petra - Petra Church possible ≥ 8 Fiema et al (2001) characterized structural destruction of the church in Phase X as likely caused by an earthquake with a date that is not easy to determine. A very general terminus post quem of the early 7th century CE was provided. Destruction due to a second earthquake was identified in Phase XIIA which was dated from late Umayyad to early Ottoman. Taken together this suggests that the first earthquake struck in the 7th or 8th century CE and the second struck between the 8th and 16th or 17th century CE.
Petra - Blue Chapel and the Ridge Church possible Later undated earthquake(s)- Perry in Bikai et al (2020:70) noted that from the 8th c. A.D. on, the abandoned structures suffered extensive damage from repeated earthquakes.
Shivta possible ≥ 8 Erickson-Gini (2013) identified earthquake collapse at Shivta which she dated to possibly in the Middle Islamic period after the site was abandoned at the end of the Early Islamic period. Korjenkov and Mazor (1999a) identified a post Byzantine earthquake which struck after 7th century CE abandonment. The terminus ante quem for this earthquake is not well established. Korjenkov and Mazor (1999a) estimated an Intensity of 8-9 for the post Byzantine earthquake and placed the epicenter a few tens of kilometers away in the WSW direction. They also report that a site effect is not likely at this location.
el-Lejjun possible ≥ 8 4th Earthquake - ~600 CE - 1918 CE - Groot et al (2006:183) report discovery of a nearly complete Umayyad Lamp in Square 4 of Area B (Barracks - B.6.038) in the Post Stratum Gap - above and later than the 3rd earthquake layer. Above the Ummayyad lamp was a 0.7 m thick layer of tumble containing some roof beams and many wall blocks (Groot et al, 2006:183). They note that the basalt roof beams found embedded in the lowest tumble level (B.6.032) suggests initial massive destruction rather than gradual decay over time. The wall blocks, found in the upper layer of tumble, contained one late Islamic (1174-1918 CE) and one Ayyubid/Mamluk (1174-1516 CE) sherd indicating a significant amount of time may have passed between the possibly seismically induced roof collapse and the wall collapse which was not characterized as necessarily having a seismic origin. This opens up the possibility that one of the mid 8th century CE earthquakes or a later earthquake may have also caused damage at el-Lejjun. deVries et al (2006:196) suggests that Umayyad abandonment of the northwest tower was probably triggered by further major collapse. In the North Gate, deVries et al (2006:207) found evidence of full scale destruction in layers above 3rd earthquake debris and post-earthquake occupation layers which contained Late Byzantine/Umayyad and Umayyad sherds. Subsoil/tumble was found in C.9.008 (north room), C.9.009 (south room) and C.9.005 (stairwell) bear ample witness to the destruction of the rooms, perhaps in the Umayyad period. Although Late Byzantine sherds were found in Post Stratum layers in the North Gate, if one assumes that the 3rd earthquake was the Inscription at Aeropolis Quake which struck before 597 CE - probably within a decade of 597 CE, one can establish an approximate and fairly conservative terminus post quem for this earthquake of ~600 CE. While the terminus ante quem is the end of the post stratum III gap (1918 CE), it is probable that that the earthquake struck much earlier.
Castellum of Qasr Bshir possible ≥ 8 Later Earthquake(s) - Above what was presumed to be a Late Umayyad collapse layer Clark (1987:490) found another collapse layer in H.2
A period of abandonment followed [the Late Umayyad collapse], punctuated by a squatter occupation of the room, during which a fire was lit in the corner. There followed a major collapse of masonry, after which no further occupation of the room took place.
Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Jericho and environs - Introduction



Jericho and environs - Hisham's Palace at the Khirbet el-Mefjer site



Petra - Introduction



Petra - Jabal Harun



Petra - The Petra Church



Petra - The Ridge Church and the Blue Chapel



Shivta



el-Lejjun



Castellum of Qasr Bshir



Landslide Evidence

Tsunamogenic Evidence

Paleoseismic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
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 to probable 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 to probable 8.1 - 8.9
  • Seismites assigned to earthquakes in 1202, 1212, and 1293 CE from Agnon et al (2006)
Migowski et. al. (2004) assigned a 1212 CE date to a 4.2 cm. thick Type 4 seismite at a depth of 103.07 cm. (1.0307 m).
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 1212 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 1212 CE.
Araba - Qatar Trench probable ≥ 7 Klinger et. al. (2015) identified one seismic event which fits.
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 to probable ≥ 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
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) assigned a 1212 CE date to a 4.2 cm. thick Type 4 seismite at a depth of 103.07 cm. (1.0307 m).



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 1212 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 1212 CE.



Araba - Qatar Trench

Klinger et. al. (2015) identified one seismic event which fits.

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)

AD 1212 May 1 Gulf of Aqaba

A damaging earthquake on 27 Dhu'l-Qa'da 608 a.H. in the Gulf of Aqaba and in south Palestine. At al-Shaubak and al-Karak, towers and houses were destroyed, killing a number of women and children (Ibn Kathir xiii. 62; al-Maqrizi I/1, 175; al-Suyuti 49/35). The earliest account says that it was strongest in the part of Aila (Eilat) that is by the sea[1].

In the Sinai Peninsula, the shock caused severe damage to the monastery of St Catherine, destroying a major part of its fortifications and damaging the church. The northern wall of the monastery, with its northwest and northeast corners, collapsed. Of the cells, some were destroyed completely and others lost their roofs, apparently without loss of life. This was possibly due to the fact that the earthquake, which struck at dawn, had been preceded by a foreshock at sunset the previous evening (Monday 30 April), which might have served as a warning.

The shock triggered rock falls from the mountains behind the monastery, and was followed by aftershocks that continued for a year. The date of the earthquake was commemorated as a day for prayers and penitence[2]. The walls and cells were almost immediately rebuilt with the assistance of the metropolitan, Gabriel of Supaki (Petra), whose caravan of builders originally sent to rebuilt the church at Agia Koryphi (Jabal Musa), which had been damaged by a previous shock, arrived at St Catherine's six days after the earthquake[3]. The shock is also said to have caused damage at Qal'at al-Jundi in Sinai[4], but the evidence is inconclusive. In Egypt, the shock was strongly felt in Cairo and Fustat and destroyed a number of houses. The location of the earthquake should be sought in the Gulf of Aqaba or south of the Dead Sea. No details of the shock are recorded for Syria or Damascus.

Footnotes

[1] Abu Shama, Dhail, p. 78. Strong winds and shooting stars were noticed the previous day.

[2] Nectarios Kretas (1768, 197; 1677, 198) and Eustratiades (1932, 1225) quote an Arabic synaxarium written at the monastery in February 1214. The day for prayers, 1 May, is the definitive date of the shock; Muslim sources all give 27 Dhul-Qada, which is 2 May [JW: 27 Dhu l-Qa'da A.H. 608 = 1 May 2012 CE] .

[3] This information is recorded by Nectarios, a Sinaite archbishop writing in 1658. He gives the date as 1312 or 1212, whereas Papamichalopoulos (1912, 29) places the earthquake on 1 May 1608 on the authority of Iosaph, which is not consistent with the other chronological elements in the account. These two sources have misled Ben-Menahem (1979, 258), who has 1312 (or 1608): the date should read 1212 (608 a.H.). See Melville (1984, 99).

[4] Ben-Menahem refers to Tamari (1977), who has a summary of the epigraphy relating to the Qal'at al-Jundi's construction history. One might infer from the last inscription, dated 1201(?), and a footnote referring to an edict of a certain Malik al-Kamil dated 1221(?), mentioned by Ibn al-Dawadari, that the fort was damaged by an earthquake during the intervening period. However, there is no such inference made by Tamari himself, and Ibn al-Dawadari's chronicle sheds no further light on the issue.

References mentioned

Nectarios Kretas (1768, 197; 1677, 198)

Nectarios Kretas (1658), Epitomi tis hierokosmikis historias, ed. S. Milias, Venice, 1677.

Nectarios Kretes, Patriarch of Jerusalem (1677) Epitomi tis ierokosmikis historias, 1st edn; also ed. S. Milias, Venice (1758).

Eustratiades, S.A. (1932) Oi en Byzantio megaloi kai katastreptikoi seismoi. Romanos o Melodos, I (Paris), 121-6.

Melville, C. P. (1984), ‘The use of historical records for seismic assessment’, in A. Brambati and D. Slejko (eds.), The O.G.S. Silver Anniversary Volume, Trieste.

Tamari, S. (1977), ‘Two further inscriptions from Qalat al-Gundi’, in Studies in Memory of Gaston Wiet, ed. Rosen-Ayalon, Jerusalem: Institute of Asian and African Studies, The Hebrew University, pp. 261–265.

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

(101) 1212 May 1 Gulf of Aqaba

On 27 Dhu'l-qa'da in the year 608 of the Hegira (corresponding to 1 May 1212) there was a destructive earthquake in southern Palestine and Egypt, with the worst damage at Aylat (Elat) on the Gulf of Aqaba, where a great deal of destruction occurred. There were also widespread collapses, very serious damage and many victims not only at Cairo, where collapses occurred in both the old and new cities, but also at Al-Karak and Shubak (Ash Shawbak), two localities situated respectively to the east and south of the Dead Sea, in what is now Jordanian territory. There is also evidence that some towers collapsed in the citadel at Shubak (Jordan). The chief source for this earthquake is Abu Shama, an Arab historian and textual scholar from Damascus, who lived from 1203 to 1268:
During the night of 27 Dhul-qd da (1 May), there was a tremendous earthquake which destroyed many parts of old and new Cairo; it also destroyed towers and houses at Al- Karak and Shubak. Many women and children died in the ruins. The most violent shock was at Aylat, on the coast. It was said that the earthquake was preceded by a black wind and many falling stars.
The earthquake is also recorded in some chronicles compiled by Arab historians of later centuries. Thus Ibn Kathir (a 14th century historian from Damascus) records that
There was a very violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed. The same thing happened at Al-Karak and Shubak, and some of its citadel towers were destroyed. Many women and children died in the ruins.
Al-Mairizi, a geographer and scholar who lived in Cairo in the 14th century, records the earthquake in similar terms:
There was a violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed. There was also an earthquake at Al-Karak and Shubak and many people died in the ruins and a number of towers in its citadel were destroyed. And smoke was seen coming down from heaven to earth in Damascus between dusk and evening.
Finally, the famous Cairo historian al-Suyuti (16th century) records:
In the year 608 [H. = 1212-1213], there was a violent earthquake in Egypt and at Cairo, and many houses were destroyed. There was also an earthquake at Al-Karak and Shubak, and some towers in its citadel were destroyed and many people died in the ruins. Smoke was seen to come down from heaven to earth between dusk and evening at the tomb of Atika in the western part of Damascus.

Ambraseys et al (1994)


Fig. 2.12 1212 May 1, Dead Sea. (Ambraseys et al, 1994)

1212 May 1 27 Dhu'l-Qa'da 608 Dead Sea

A damaging earthquake in south Palestine also affected Egypt, where it was strongly felt in Cairo and Fustat and destroyed a number of houses. At al-Shaubak and al-Karak, towers and houses were destroyed, killing a number of women and children.1 The earliest account says it was strongest in the part of Aila (Eilat) that is by the sea.2

In the Sinai Peninsula, the shock caused severe damage to the monastery of St Catherine, destroying a major part of its fortifications and damaging the church. The northern wall of the monastery, with its northwest and northeast corners, collapsed. Of the cells, some were destroyed completely and others lost their roofs, apparently without loss of life. This was possibly due to the fact that the earthquake, which struck at dawn, was preceded by a foreshock at sunset the previous evening (Monday 30 April), which might have served as a warning. The shock triggered rockfalls from the mountains behind the monastery, and was followed by aftershocks that continued for a year. The date of the earthquake was commemorated as a day for prayers and penitence.3 The walls and cells were almost immediately rebuilt with the assistance of the metropolitan, Gabriel of Supaki (Petra), whose caravan of builders originally sent to rebuild the church at Agia Koryphi (Jabal Musa), damaged by a previous shock, arrived at St Catherine's six days after the earthquake.4 The earthquake is also said to have caused serious damage at Qalat al-Jundi in Sinai,5 but the evidence is inconclusive.

The location of the earthquake should be sought in the Gulf of Aqaba or south of the Dead Sea. No details of the shock are recorded for Syria or Damascus (Figure 2.12).

Footnotes

1 Ibn Kathir, XIII, 62; al-Maqrizi, I/i, 175; al-Suyuti, p. 49/35.

2 Abu Shama, Dhail, p. 78; also Taher (1979), p. 137/82, 238. Strong winds and shooting stars were noticed the previous day.

3 Nectarios (1758), p. 197, (1677), p. 198 (see also next note) and Eustratiades (1932), p. 125, quote an Arabic synaxarium written at the monastery in February 1214. The day for prayers, 1 May, is the definitive date of the shock; Muslim sources all give 27 Dhu'l-Qa'da, which is 2 May.

4 This information is recorded by Nectarios, a Sinaite archibishop writing in 1658. He gives the date as 1312 instead of 1212, while Papamichalopoulos (1912), p. 29 places the earthquake on 1 May 1608 on the authority of Ioasaph, which is not consistent with the other chronological elements in the account. These two sources have misled Ben-Menahem (1979), p. 258, who has 1312 (or 1608): the date should read 1212 (608 H). See also Melville (1984a), p. 99.

5 Ben-Menahem refers to Tamari (1977), who has a summary of the epigraphy relating to Qal'at al-Jundi's construction history. One might infer from the last inscription, dated 1201 (?) and a footnote referring to an edict of al-Malik al-Kamil dated 1221 (?), mentioned by Ibn al-Dawadari, that the fort was damaged by an earthquake during the intervening period. However, there is no such inference made by Tamari himself, and Ibn al-Dawadari's chronicle sheds no further light on the issue

References mentioned

Nectarios Kretes, Patriarch of Jerusalem (1677) Epitomi tis ierokosmikis historias, 1st edn; also ed. S. Milias, Venice (1758).

Eustratiades, S.A. (1932) Oi en Byzantio megaloi kai katastreptikoi seismoi. Romanos o Melodos, I (Paris), 121-6.

Papamichalopoulos, C. N. (1912), I moni tou orous Sina, Athens–Cairo

Abou Karaki (1987) Earthquake Catalog

English

* 2 MAY 1212 A.D., 27 Dhu'l-Qa'da 608 A.H

A violent earthquake, destroyed many sites in Egypt and in Cairo: towers and houses were destroyed in Karak and Chawbak; a group of children and women perished under the rubble. The maximum force of this earthquake was in Eileh (= Elat), at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba. It was said that a blackish wind preceded this one-day earthquake, and there were a lot of shooting stars.(TAHA).

- 2 MAY.., Elat (VIII-IX), Karak (VIII), Cairo (VIII) (PTHA).

French

* 2 MAI 1212 apr. J.C., 27 DHU.0 608 apr. H.

- Un séisme violent,' ayant détruit beaucoup de sites en Egypte et au Caire : des to,urset des maisons ont été détruites à Karak et à Chawbak ; un groupe d'enfants et de femmes a péri sous les décombres. La force maximale de ce séisme a été à Eileh (= Elat, à l'extrémité Nord du Golfed'Aqaba). On a dit qu'un vent noirâtre a précédé ce séisme d'une journée, et il y a eu beaucoup d'étoiles filantes. (TAHA).

- 2 MAI.., Elat (VIII-IX), Karak (VIII), Le Caire (VIII) (PTHA).
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.

Paleoclimate - Droughts

References