Geographical sites:

  • Antioch (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #658381)
    Pleiades_icon Antiochia/Theoupolis urban, settlement, amphitheatre Description: A city founded ca. 300 BC by Seleucus I Nicator, a successor of Alexander the Great. Antioch was a great trading center and numbered as one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Justinian I renamed the city 'Theoupolis' in the sixth century AD.


Text #3186

Malalas. The Chronicle of John Malalas
[Bk. 8 Ch. 25 p. 109]

After Demetrianos, Antiochos, grandson of Grypos and son of Laodike, daughter of Ariarathes, emperor of the Cappadocians, reigned for nine years.

At that time Antioch the Great, suffered from the wrath of God, in the eighth year of his reign, in the time of the Macedonians, 152 years after the original laying of the foundation of the wall by Seleukos Nikator, at the tenth hour of the day, on 21st Peritios-February. It was completely rebuilt, as Domninos the chronicler has written. It was 122 years after the completion of the walls and the whole city that it suffered; it was rebuilt better.

Text #9442

Ambraseys. Earthquakes in the Mediterranean and Middle East
[p. 94]

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.

Text #9443

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Considering the confusion of the source in respect of dating, but taking into account the additional reports of cometary activity and unusual atmospheric events that are very close in time, I am redating this event to 147 to coincide with the reported spike in the ice cores, the reported glowing read sky, and other related phenomena. It may very well be that the “wrath of God” was an overhead cometary explosion that blasted Antioch, destroying it, but leaving no archaeological traces.

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