Natural Hazards

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 83–93 | Cite as

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

  • John Antonopoulos


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 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


Classic sources

  1. In the Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum-Teubneriana, Leipzig (1854–), (BSGR) also Loeb Classical Library.Google Scholar
  2. Demetrios of Gallatia: vol. 4, p. 380.Google Scholar
  3. Diodoros: Sicelianos, Bibliotheca historica (XII, 58), in A. E. Didot (ed.), 1868, Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, compiled by C. Muller, Paris.Google Scholar
  4. Strabo: Geographica (I, 3.20).Google Scholar
  5. Thucydides: Historiae (III, 89.2).Google Scholar

Contemporary sources

  1. Ambraseys, N. N.: 1962, Data for the investigation of the seismic sea waves in the Eastern Mediterranean, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 52(4), 895–913.Google Scholar
  2. Antonopoulos, J.: 1979, Contribution to the knowledge of tsunamis in the eastern Mediterranean from ancient times until the recent, Annales Geologiques des Pays Helleniques, 29, 740–757 (in Greek).Google Scholar
  3. Antonopoulos, J.: 1980, Catalogue of tsunamis in the eastern Mediterranean from antiquity to present times, Annali di Geofisica, 32, 113–130.Google Scholar
  4. Antonopoulos, J.: 1980, Catalogue of tsunamis in the eastern Mediterranean from antiquity to present times, Tsunami Newsletter 13(2).Google Scholar
  5. Ballore, M. de: 1924, La geologie sismologique, in Armand Colin (ed.), Paris, pp. 151–160.Google Scholar
  6. Ferriere, J.: 1976, Sur la signification des series du massif de l'Orthrys (Grece continentale orientale): la zone isopique Maliaque, Ann. Geol. Nord 96.Google Scholar
  7. Galanopoulos, A.: 1960, Tsunamis observed on the coasts of Greece from antiquity to present times, Annali di Geofisica 13,(3–4).Google Scholar
  8. Sieberg, A.: 1932, Die Erdbeden, in G. Borntraeger (ed.), B. Gutenberg's Handbuch der Geophysic, Vol. 4, Berlin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Antonopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

Personalised recommendations