Natural Hazards

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 83-93

First online:

The tsunami of 426 BC in the Maliakos gulf, eastern Greece

  • John AntonopoulosAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, University of Patras

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In 427 BC, a major earthquake occurred in ancient Greece. In particular, Attica, Boeotia, and the island of Euboea were the areas where seismic activity was most frequent. The fact that these events happened in conjuction with the Peloponnesian war provides us with an account made by historians of the war. Such an account is the one made by Thucydides.

During the spring and summer of 426 BC shocks continued to take place. This time, the sea area between the island of Euboea and the mainland (Maliakos gulf) was also affected and as a result, a seismic sea-wave of considerable size formed. The tsunami, as it is better known, swept the surrounding coastal area. Major topographic alteration of the area occurred, resulting in a huge loss of life and the destruction of cities.

In this paper, the author attempts to describe this event and to explain scientifically how it happened, and how this affected the shape of the area and human life.

All the evidence used in this paper has been cross-referenced with at least one other historic or scientific source. Although it was extremely difficult to uncover hidden detail about an event so far in the past, any facts that could not be verified have not been included.


Tsunami earthquake allvial coasts Malliakos Gulf flood