Text #4007

Strabo. Geography
[Strab. 1.3.16. Translated by Horace Leonard Jones. Harvard University Press. 1917 p. 215]


For midway between Thera and Therasia fires broke forth from the sea and continued for four days, so that the whole sea boiled and blazed, and the fires cast up an island which was gradually elevated as though by levers and consisted of burning masses — an island with a stretch of twelve stadia in circumference. After the cessation of the eruption, the Rhodians, at the time of their maritime supremacy, were first to venture upon the scene and to erect on the island a temple in honour of Poseidon Asphalios. And in Phoenicia, says Poseidonius, on the occasion of an earthquake, a city situated above Sidon was swallowed up, and nearly two-thirds of Sidon itself was engulfed too, but not all at once, so that no considerable destruction of human life took place. The same operation of nature extended also over the whole of Syria, but with rather moderate force; and it also passed over to certain islands, both the Cyclades and Euboea, with the result that the fountains of Arethusa1 were stopped up, though after many days they gushed up at another mouth, and the island did not cease from being shaken in some part or other until a chasm in the earth opened in the Lelantine Plain and vomited forth a river of fiery lava.

  1. A spring in Chalcis. [nE]

Text #8725

Seneca. Natural Questions. Series: The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca
[Sen. 6.17.3. Translated by Harry M. Hine. The University of Chicago Press. 2010 p. 101]

The truth of this account is demonstrated by the following evidence too: often after an earthquake has occurred, if part of the earth’s surface has been split open, a wind has blown from it for several days. That is what is reported to have happened in the earthquake that affected Chalcis.1 You will find in Asclepiodotus, a student of Posidonius [in these very causes of natural questions], and you will find in other writers, too, that the earth gaped open at one point, and a wind blew from there for a considerable time. It had presumably made for itself the channel through which it issued.

  1. This Chalcis may have been Chalcis-on-Belus in northern Syria. Note that Strabo does not name the city when he says “in Phoenicia, says Poseidonius, on the occasion of an earthquake, a city situated above Sidon was swallowed up” followed by “The same operation of nature extended also over the whole of Syria”. [nE]

Text #8723

Justin. Epitome of the Phillippic History of Pompeius Trogus
[Bk. 30 Ch. 4 ]


In the same year a concussion of the earth happened between the islands Thera and Therasia, in the midst of the sea at an equal distance from either shore, where, to the astonishment of those that were sailing past, an island rose suddenly from the deep, the water being at the same time hot. In Asia too, on the same day, the same earthquake shattered Rhodes, and many other cities, with a terrible ruin; some it swallowed up entire. As all men were alarmed at this prodigy, the soothsayers predicted that “the rising power of the Romans would swallow up the ancient empire of the Greeks and Macedonians.1

  1. One suspects that Justin was confused about an earthquake shattering Rhodes since the report was apparently derived from that of Posidonius, possibly via Strabo, and Posidonius lived in Rhodes; Strabo reported a city in Asia being swallowed up and mentions nothing of Rhodes being “shattered.” [nE]

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