The Great Earthquake of 365 AD

The effects of this quake were devastating, causing ruin and death throughout the entire Eastern Mediterranean region and as far as Alexandria on the North African coast.  The description of the massive tidal wave which hit Alexandria shortly afterwards was recorded by an eyewitness, an excerpt is included.

Indeed, this cataclysmic event is now thought by many seismologists to be responsible for the island of Crete rising a staggering ten yards from the sea in just a few seconds, leveling every single town on the island.  The epicenter was located off the eastern coast of that island.

kourion-column-cliffsThe Ancient City of Kourion 

kourion-apollo-temple-dormsTemple of Apollo at Kourion

Archaeological evidence gathered from 1934 to 1985 shows that there was little to no habitation of Kourion for almost twenty years after the catastrophe from 365 to 383AD.

Parts of Kourion as Paphos were never rebuilt to their former grandeur. Paphos recovered to a degree, but after the Arab raids of the 5th century, Kourion was abandoned.


Whatever the case may be, there is ample literary evidence to suggest that this particular earthquake was without doubt one of the most destructive seismic events in recorded history, an event so completely devastating it left few physical traces in its wake.

Under-floor heating system at the ancient Baths of KourionMunicipal Baths at Kourion

The 4th Century Eyewitness Account moments before the Tsunami caused by the 365AD Earthquake hit Alexandria, Egypt

by Ammianus Marcellinus in Res Gestae 

Slightly after daybreak, and heralded by a thick succession of fiercely shaken thunderbolts,  the solidity of the whole earth was made to shake and shudder, and the sea was driven away, its waves were rolled back, and it disappeared, so that the abyss of the depths was uncovered and many-shaped varieties of sea-creatures were seen stuck in the slime; the great wastes of those valleys and mountains, which the very creation had dismissed beneath the vast whirlpools, at that moment looked up at the sun’s rays.


© 2008 - 2015