Geographical sites:

  • Edessa (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #491585)
    Pleiades_icon Edessa settlement Description: An ancient place, cited: BAtlas 50 B3 Edessa


Text #5981

The Chronicle of Zuqnin
[p. 68]

524-525 The year eight hundred and thirty-six: Waters entered Edessa1

It seemed right to us not to conceal in silence the terror and great ruin that overtook Edessa, the metropolis of Osrhoene, during our time. That is to say, in the year eight hundred and thirty-six, when from this time on a decree of the Most High, as it is written, came into force respecting many people, a flood occurred in some places around the third hour of the night. While many were sleeping, many others bathing in the public bathhouse, and others still taking supper, huge torrents of water suddenly rushed through the river Daysan and found their way into […], which is in the middle of the city in which this river Daysan ran. Suddenly, in the darkness of the night, the city wall broke through from the top and blocked and held the flow of water behind it. And it rose up massively and went over all the marketplaces and all the houses of the city that were along the river. In one hour, or perhaps two, water filled the city and it was inundated, just as the water suddenly rushed through all the gates of the public bathhouses, and all those who were in it drowned. When people looked for the doors to get out and flee, the flood was seen going through the doors, submerging all those who were in the lower stories, and they all drowned and perished. And if there were people in upper stories who noticed and hastened in order to go down and flee, the flood faced them and they sank and suffocated. Houses that were not solid collapsed, and as people were in deep sleep and unaware, they fell and drowned in the same flood. Only those whom God the merciful wished to keep alive were saved, because their houses were firm and did not collapse, especially those that were built with stones and lime, in the whole sector that sloped downward towards the river. As for the high places that were located at the foot of the mountain, they also were saved.

  1. Land, Anecdota III, 244. Chronicon Edess. XCI 10:27-11:9 [37], Ps.-Zacharias II 74:14-75:24 [203-204] and Michael IV 270-72 [II 179-80] agree on the date. Chronicon 724 150:6 [115] dates it to S. 835 (523-524). James of Edessa 318:6-7 [240] dates it to 196 = S. 832 (520-521) the same date of (another?) flood mentioned by Michael IV 266 [II 169]. Malalas 418 [237]. [OF]

Text #5983

Michael the Syrian. Chronicle
[p. 105]



[93] In 836 of the Syrian Era [A.D. 525], Asclepius, a wicked and depraved man, was bishop in Edessa and he harassed the faithful to accept the impious Council [of Chalcedon]. He rounded up 20 wondrous cenobites, tortured them wickedly, and threw them into prison. Now it came about that in the second hour of evening a major flood poured down from the mountains. It clashed against the [city] walls and retreated. The second time it came, it demolished the walls, and coursed over the city, killing man and beast alike by carrying them into the Euphrates River.

Text #5984

Malalas. The Chronicle of John Malalas
[Bk. 17 p. 237]

In that year Edessa, a great city in the province of Osrhoene, was engulfed one evening by the wrath of God in the form of river-water, from the river known as Skirtos which flows through the middle of the city. The inhabitants perished together with their houses. The survivors and inhabitants of the city used to say that the river had flooded this city on another occasion but had not caused such destruction. “For we have learned”, they said, “that the same thing has happened on other occasions”. After the anger had ceased, there was found by the buildings near the river, when they were having their foundations cleaned out, a large stone table, on which was carved the following inscription, “The river Skirtos (Leaper) will leap terrible leapings for the citizens”. The city of Edessa was built by Seleukos Nikator, who fortified it. Seleukos, who was a Macedonian, had named it Antioch the Half-barbarian and, after its first calamity it was renamed Edessa. The emperor gave much to each city, renewing them with many beautiful works and giving generously to the survivors. He renamed Edessa Justinoupolis.

Text #5985

Theophanes the Confessor. Chronicle
[p. 262]

In the same year Edessa, a large and famous city, the metropolis of the province of Osrhoene, was engulfed through divine anger by the waters of its river. For the river Skirtos which passes through the midst of it, provides it with great wealth and enjoyment. At that time, being in full flood like a sea, it dragged away the houses along with their inhabitants and submerged them. There is a story current among those who were saved that the same river had destroyed the city on other occasions but not to the same degree. After the floods had ended, a stone tablet was found on the bank of the river inscribed with the following message in hieroglyphic lettering: “The river Skirtos will skittishly skittle the citizens.” The emperor Justin provided much towards the restoration of both cities.

Text #428

Zachariah of Mitylene. The Syriac Chronicle
[Bk. 8 Ch. 4 p. 204]

And, while affairs in Edessa were in this position, in the year eight hundred and thirty-six of the Greeks, the year three1, on the twenty-second of April, the river Scirtus, which enters and passes through the city, rose and overflowed, and overthrew two sides of the wall, and drowned many persons; for it was supper-time, and while their food was in their mouth the waters rushed in upon them, the flooded Scirtus.

  1. 525 [OF]

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