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1284 CE Quake

Sha'ban A.H. 683 (13 Oct. 1284 - 10 Nov. 1284 CE)

by Jefferson Williams









Introduction & Summary

In Sha'ban A.H. 683 (13 Oct. 1284 - 10 Nov. 1284 CE), there may have been an earthquake which did some damage in Damascus. Damascene al-Dhahabi, who was about 10 years old when the earthquake allegedly struck, states that there was shaking or disturbances in Damascus during this month but does not explicitly state that this was due to an earthquake. al-Yafi'i, who was born after this event and was writing perhaps one or several decades after al-Dhahabi, commented on al-Dhahabi's report by stating that the shaking or disturbances seemed to be due to an earthquake. About 300 years later, Damascene Ibn al-Imad wrote about this alleged earthquake and stated that the earthquake split the walls of Bab al-Faradis and reached the school of Muqaddamyya, both in Damascus.

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
al-Dhahabi Arabic
Biography

Muslim Early 14th century CE Damascus al-Dhahabi states that there were disturbances or shaking in Damascus in Sha'ban A.H. 683 but does not explicitly say that this was due to an earthquake.
al-Yafi’i Arabic
Biography

Muslim before 1367 CE al-Yafi'i states that the disturbances or shaking described by al-Dhahabi in Damascus in Sha'ban A.H. 683 was due to an earthquake.
Ibn al-Imad Arabic
Biography

Hanbali Sunni Muslim 1670 CE Damascus Ibn al-Imad states that in Sha'ban A.H. 683 (13 Oct. 1284 - 10 Nov. 1284 CE), an earthquake split the walls of Bab al-Faradis and reached the school of Muqaddamyya, both in Damascus.
Text (with hotlink) Original Language Biographical Info Religion Date of Composition Location Composed Notes
Damage Reports from Textual Sources

Seismic Effects
Effect Sources Notes
Damascus shaken al-Dhahabi, al-Yafi’i, Ibn al-Imad al-Dhahabi does not explicitly say that the shaking was due to an earthquake
split the walls of the Bab al-Faradis and reached the school of Muqaddamyya Ibn al-Imad
Locations
Location Sources Notes
Damascus al-Dhahabi, al-Yafi’i, Ibn al-Imad
Date
Date Sources Notes
Sha'ban A.H. 683 (13 Oct. 1284 - 10 Nov. 1284 CE) al-Dhahabi, Ibn al-Imad

Great History of Islam by al-Dhahabi

تاريخ الإسلام by الذهبي

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Shams ad-Dīn adh-Dhahabī شمس الدين الذهبي
Shams ad-Dīn Abū ʿAbdillāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿUthmān ibn Qāymāẓ سهامس ادءدين ابو عابديللاه موحامماد يبن احماد يبن عوتهمان يبن قايماظ يبن عابديللاه اتءتوركوماني الءفاريقي ادءديماسهقي (?)
ʿAbdillāh at-Turkumānī al-Fāriqī ad-Dimashqī عابديللاه اتءتوركوماني الءفاريقي ادءديماسهقي (?)
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Excerpts

al-Dhahabi describing shaking or disturbances in Damascus that he did not explicitly ascribe to an earthquake.
English from Ambraseys (2009)

(a.H. 683) Damascus and its district were strongly shaken. The Egyptian soldiers camped in the valley and the river flooded. (al-Dhahabi, al-’Ebar i. 5/342).

English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

In the month of Sha'ban, there were great disturbances at Damascus. Egyptian troops had descended on the area; destruction occurred, and rivers overflowed their banks.

Original Document

  • not bookmarked


Chronology
Year Reference Corrections Notes
13 Oct. 1284 - 10 Nov. 1284 CE Sha'ban A.H. 683 none Calculated using CHRONOS.
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Mir'at by al-Yafi’i

Mir'at IV by al-Yafi’i

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
al-Yafi’i
Abdullah bin Asaad Al-Yafi'i
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Excerpts

al-Yafi'i states that the disturbances or shaking described by al-Dhahabi in Damascus in Sha'ban A.H. 683 seemed to be due to an earthquake.
English from Ambraseys (2009)

this seemed to have been caused by an earthquake. (Al-Yafi’y, Mirat. 4/198)

English from Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

As far as I know, it was an earthquake; but God has greater knowledge.

Chronology
Year Reference Corrections Notes
13 Oct. 1284 - 10 Nov. 1284 CE Sha'ban A.H. 683 none Calculated using CHRONOS.
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Fragments of Gold in the Accounts of Those Who Have Departed by Ibn al-Imad

Shadharat al-dhahab fi akhbar man dhahab by إبن العماد

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ibn al-ʿImād إبن العماد
ʿAbd al-Ḥayy bin Aḥmad bin Muḥammad ibn al-ʿImād al-ʿAkarī al-Ḥanbalī Abū al-Falāḥ عبد الحي بن أحمد بن محمد ابن العماد العكري الحنبلي أبو الفلاح
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Excerpts
English from Ambraseys (2009)

the earth split the walls of the Bab al-Faradis and reached the school of Muqaddamyya.’ (Ibn al-Hambali, Shadharat 5/381)

English machine translated from Arabic

A.H. 683

In Shaaban, the huge increase was in Damascus at night, and the Egyptian military [Nazala] was in the valley, so he went to them indescribable, destroyed houses, collapsed rivers, broke water locks Bab al-Faradis, entered until he reached the School of Al-Muqaddiya, and broke the Bab al-Faradis bridge.

Chronology
Year Reference Corrections Notes
13 Oct. 1284 - 10 Nov. 1284 CE Sha'ban A.H. 683 none Calculated using CHRONOS.
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Notes
Ambraseys (2009) terminology

As he is sometimes wont to do, Ambraseys (2009) refers to Ibn al-Imad by a less common variant of his name - Ibn al-Hanbali.

Archaeoseismic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
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.

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Tell Ya'amun



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 8.2 - 9.0 (0 cm.)
8.1 - 8.9 (12 cm.)
8.0 - 8.8 (28 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)
0 10 4 1322 CE ± 22 1350 CE ± 71 Kagan et. al. (2011) assigned a date of 1312 CE based on an erroneous catalog entry from Ben-Menahem which is a duplicate of the 1212 CE Quake not assigned
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
Dead Sea - En Gedi possible 7.9 - 8.8
  • Seismites assigned to earthquakes in 1202, 1212, and 1293 CE from Agnon et al (2006)
Migowski et. al. (2004) assigned a 1293 CE date to a 1 cm. thick Type 4 seismite at a depth of 94.81 cm. (0.9481 m).
Dead Sea - Nahal Ze 'elim possible 8.3 - 9.1 At site ZA-1, Ken-Tor et al (2001a) assigned a a date of 1293 CE to a ~15 cm. thick Type 4 seismite which they labeled as Event F and was dated between 1270 and 1400 CE (± 2σ). In Table 4 of Kagan et. al. (2011), a 16 cm. thick seismite at ZA-1 was associated with the 1293 CE earthquake. At site ZA-2, Kagan et. al. (2011) did not find any seismites whose time window encompassed 1293 CE.
Araba - Introduction n/a n/a n/a
Araba - Taybeh Trench possible LeFevre et al. (2018) assigned a 1293 CE date to a seismite labeled as E3supp (aka E3bis) which was age modeled to between 819 and 1395 CE.
Araba - Qatar Trench possible ≥ 7 Klinger et. al. (2015) identified one seismic event which might fit.
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 - 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. Kanari et al (2020) also dated Event E2 in Trench T3 to after 1294 CE and assigned it to earthquakes in 1458 or 1588 CE. Kanari et al (2020) dated sand blows SB1 and SB2 in Trench T3 to between 1287 and 1635 CE and suggested they may have formed during an earthquake in 1458 CE.
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)
0 10 4 1322 CE ± 22 1350 CE ± 71 Kagan et. al. (2011) assigned a date of 1312 CE based on an erroneous catalog entry from Ben-Menahem which is a duplicate of the 1212 CE Quake not assigned
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


Dead Sea - En Gedi

Migowski et. al. (2004) assigned a 1293 CE date to a 1 cm. thick Type 4 seismite at a depth of 94.81 cm. (0.9481 m).



Dead Sea - Nahal Ze 'elim

At site ZA-1, Ken-Tor et al (2001a) assigned a a date of 1293 CE to a ~15 cm. thick Type 4 seismite which they labeled as Event F and was dated between 1270 and 1400 CE (± 2σ). In Table 4 of Kagan et. al. (2011), a 16 cm. thick seismite at ZA-1 was associated with the 1293 CE earthquake. At site ZA-2, Kagan et. al. (2011) did not find any seismites whose time window encompassed 1293 CE.



Araba - Introduction



Araba - Taybeh Trench

LeFevre et al. (2018) assigned a 1293 CE date to a seismite labeled as E3supp (aka E3bis) which was age modeled to between 819 and 1395 CE.



Araba - Qatar Trench

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

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

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 - 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. Kanari et al (2020) also dated Event E2 in Trench T3 to after 1294 CE and assigned it to earthquakes in 1458 or 1588 CE. Kanari et al (2020) dated sand blows SB1 and SB2 in Trench T3 to between 1287 and 1635 CE and suggested they may have formed during an earthquake in 1458 CE.



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 1284 Damascus

This earthquake was strongly felt in Damascus and the surrounding area. In the city itself, the wall around Bab al Faradis was apparently split, and the earthquake was at least felt at the school of Muqaddamyya. It may also have caused the River Barada, which bisects Damascus, to flood.

This event is reported by three sources. Al-Dhahabi (1274–1348/52) places this event in a.H. 683 (20 March 1284 to 9 March 1285), noting that ‘the river [Barada] flooded’. In another work al-Dhahabi cites al-Yafi’y, who says that the flood seemed to have been due to an earthquake. Finally, al-Hambli adds details of the damage in Damascus.

Notes

(a.H. 683) Al-Dhahabi says that Damascus and its district were strongly shaken. The Egyptian soldiers camped in the valley and the river flooded. (al-Dhahabi, al-’Ebar i. 5/342).


Al-Yafi’y said that this seemed to have been caused by an earthquake. (Al-Yafi’y, Mirat. 4/198, in al-Dhahabi).


Ibn al-’Imad says that the earth split the walls of the Bab al-Faradis and reached the school of Muqaddamyya.’ (Ibn al-Hambali, Shadharat 5/381).

References

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

Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)

(137) 1284 October 13 - November 10 [Sha'ban 683 H.] Damascus [Syria]

sources

literature catalogues d. catalogues p. In the month of Sha'ban in the year 683 of the Hegira, which corresponds to the period 13 October - 10 November 1284, Damascus was probably struck by a strong earthquake which caused collapses and serious damage. The uncertainty as to what really happened at Damascus at that time is due to the fact that the closest source to the event, the Damascene Arab historian and theologian al-Dhahabi (1274-1348), does not refer explicitly to an earthquake, simply reporting that there were serious disturbances at Damascus caused by both natural events and warfare. However, the Yemeni Arab historian al-Yafi`i (1300-1367) maintains that the disturbances mentioned by al-Dhahabi had been caused by an earthquake. The latter states:
In the month of Sha'ban, there were great disturbances at Damascus. Egyptian troops had descended on the area; destruction occurred, and rivers overflowed their banks.
Commenting on this passage, al-Yafi`i states:
As far as I know, it was an earthquake; but God has greater knowledge.
The report of an earthquake seems quite convincing, but it is not possible to establish whether there is any connection between the rivers overflowing their banks, as mentioned by al-Dhahabi, and the earthquake.
Intensity Table
Localities Lat. Long. I
Damascus 33 30 36 19 VIII ?
References

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

Abou Karaki (1987)

19 MARCH 1284 - 8 MARCH 1285 A.D. 683 A.H.

- Damascus, (IX-X) (PTAH)

NAJA: event which seems very ambiguous to us in (TAHA).
French

J = Dans l'intervalle (19 MARS 1284, 8 MARS 1285) Année 683 apr. H

- Damas, (IX-X) (PTAH)

NAJA : événement qui nous semble très ambigu dans (TAHA).

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