Earthquakes in the Mediterranean and Middle East
An unspecified disaster or an earthquake damaged Antioch. In describing this event, the sole source uses the expression ‘theomania’ (wrath of God), which usually means an earthquake, and since the city was apparently destroyed and entirely rebuilt with improvements, in the absence of any other possibilities an earthquake is the likely cause (Malalas CS. 324 & Slav. 18).
The earthquake happened at 10 in the morning in 21 Peritios (February) in the eighth year of Antiochus, 152 years after the foundation of the city. These chronological elements are inconsistent and imply either 148 or 130 BC, the former being more plausible (Downey 1938; 1961a, 120, 126). However, Domnianus’ World History which is Malalas’ source, dates from very early in the sixth century AD, thus making the veracity of the whole event uncertain. The account presented by Malalas also seems to exaggerate the damage caused by the ‘wrath of God’. In the light of the confusions which are possible in his used of sources, it is plausible that the disaster which, in Malalas’ chronicle, sounds like an earthquake might originally have been the defeat of Antiochus VII, which, with its loss of life, would have affected the city almost as heavily as an earthquake.
There is no archaeological evidence for this event.