Seismos

tsunami

Τοῦ δ᾿ ἐπιγιγνομένου θέρους Πελοποννήσιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι μέχρι μὲν τοῦ Ἰσθμοῦ ἦλθον ὡς ἐς τὴν Ἀττικὴν ἐσβαλοῦντες Ἄγιδος τοῦ Ἀρχιδάμου ἡγουμένου Λακεδαιμονίων βασιλέως, σεισμῶν δὲ γενομένων πολλῶν ἀπετράποντο πάλιν καὶ οὐκ ἐγένετο ἐσβολή. καὶ περὶ τούτους τοὺς χρόνους, τῶν σεισμῶν κατεχόντων, τῆς Εὐβοίας ἐν Ὀροβίαις ἡ θάλασσα ἐπανελθοῦσα ἀπὸ τῆς τότε οὔσης γῆς καὶ κυματωθεῖσα ἐπῆλθε τῆς πόλεως μέρος τι, καὶ τὸ μὲν κατέκλυσε, τὸ δ’ ὑπενόστησε, καὶ θάλασσα νῦν ἐστὶ πρότερον οὖσα γῆ· καὶ ἀνθρώπους διέφθειρεν ὅσοι μὴ ἐδύναντο φθῆναι πρὸς τὰ μετέωρα ἀναδραμόντες. καὶ περὶ Ἀταλάντην τὴν ἐπὶ Λοκροῖς τοῖς Ὀπουντίοις νῆσον παραπλησία γίγνεται ἐπίκλυσις, καὶ τοῦ τε φρουρίου τῶν Ἀθηναίων παρεῖλε καὶ δύο νεῶν ἀνειλκυσμένων τὴν ἑτέραν κατέαξεν. ἐγένετο δὲ καὶ ἐν Πεπαρήθῳ κύματος ἐπαναχώρησίς τις, οὐ μέντοι ἐπέκλυσέ γε· καὶ σεισμὸς τοῦ τείχους τι κατέβαλε καὶ τὸ πρυτανεῖον καὶ ἄλλας οἰκίας ὀλίγας. αἴτιον δ’ ἔγωγε νομίζω τοῦ τοιούτου, ᾗ ἰσχυρότατος ὁ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο, κατὰ τοῦτο ἀποστέλλειν τε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ ἐξαπίνης πάλιν ἐπισπωμένην βιαιότερον τὴν ἐπίκλυσιν ποιεῖν· ἄνευ δὲ σεισμοῦ οὐκ ἄν μοι δοκεῖ τὸ τοιοῦτο ξυμβῆναι γενέσθαι.
(Thucydides, Hist. 3.89)

In the following summer the Peloponnesians and their allies, under the command of Agis, the son of Archidamus and king of Sparta, went as far as the Isthmus with the intention of invading Attica, but the occurrence of several earthquakes turned them back and no invasion took place. At around this time when the earthquakes were prevalent, the sea at Orobiae in Euboea retreated from what was then the coastline and returned in a tidal wave which hit one part of the town, and as a result of flooding combined with subsidence what was once land is now sea: the tidal wave killed the people who could not escape to higher ground in time. There was a similar inundation at Atalante, the island off Opuntian Locris, which carried away part of the Athenian fort and smashed one of the two ships laid up there. At Peparethus there was also a withdrawal of the sea, but not in this case followed by a surge: and an earthquake demolished part of the wall, the town hall, and a few other buildings. I believe the cause of this phenomenon to be that the sea retires at the point where the seismic shock is strongest, and is then suddenly flung back with all the greater violence, creating the inundation. I do not think that tidal waves could occur without an earthquake. (tr. Martin Hammond)

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