The effects of earthquakes in antioch and its vicinity: Evidence of repair, rebuilding and urban reorganization between the fourth and thirteenth centuries

Bakır, Mevlüde
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Graduate School
Founded by Seleucus I Nicator on May 22, 300 B.C., Antioch, one of the most important cities of the Byzantine Empire, lies at the southwest corner of the Amuq Valley at an angle where the Orontes River (modern Asi Nehri) meets Mount Silpios (modern Habib Neccar Dağı). Antioch was routinely struck by earthquakes over the centuries since it is located on an active fault line. Some of these quakes were minor while others were highly destructive but all played a role in the life of Antioch. The city was critical to the spread of Christianity and it served as the axis point through which information flowed between Constantinople and the East. It was also at Antioch that Byzantine emperors based their military campaigns against the Persians and later the Arabs. From its foundation and through the Middle Ages Antioch was occupied and ruled by different cultures. Each left its mark. Historians' and chroniclers' accounts as well as ecclesiastical histories, homilies, and other texts that survive focus on Antioch's history, social and intellectual life, and they provide information from different perspectives. All of these sources, especially those from the Byzantine era, record valuable information on the occurrence of earthquakes, the physical effects these disasters had on the built environment, and the resulting psychological impact. Information touches on Antioch proper as well as Seleucia Pieria and Daphne in the city's vicinity. In addition to primary sources, the Princeton University excavations of 1932-1939 as well as recent archaeological studies and explorations provide limited but crucial data. The original sources and archaeological material together give us some idea of the destruction to houses, ecclesiastical and public buildings that occurred as a result of these seismic events. In our study, we first provided historical background on the history and the buildings of the city and evaluated the accounts of the earthquakes starting with the quake of 341 and ending with the one that occurred on April 17, 1269. One of the most important outcomes of this study is that we created three maps and focused on Antioch's three key historical periods. The first map covers the period from the foundation of the city to the seventh century. The second covers the period between the seventh and the eleventh centuries, and the third deals with the period of the siege of the city by the Crusaders in 1097/1098. In our study, a compendium of the ecclesiastical and public buildings and other structures has been created for Antioch and its environs. These maps and lists of buildings and structures helped form a picture of the city's buildings and topography and how these changed over time. Following these chapters, we focused on the various effects of earthquakes on public and ecclesiastical buildings and other structures. We considered structures that were reconstructed as a result of seismic events not only in Antioch but also in its surrounding areas between the fourth and the thirteenth centuries. We also discussed potential precautionary measures that appear to have been taken to reduce the effects of the earthquakes. This included evaluating the techniques and materials used to strengthen the affected buildings and to make structures more resistant to earth tremors. One of the difficulties we confronted during our study was the availability of information regarding the reconstruction efforts following the quakes. Although the Princeton University Excavation Reports provide essential data about the structures of the city, unfortunately, the archaeological findings were re-buried following the excavations. Therefore, we studied the excavation reports instead of physical remains. To be sure recent archaeological studies and explorations in and around the city have uncovered essential evidence reflecting the damage caused by quakes, but still more evidence is needed to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of earthquakes in Antioch and its vicinity. What is clear from the information we do have, though, is that the Antiochians were aware their city was located on a fault line. They learned how to live with it, and they took necessary precautions to reduce the effects of these tremors throughout the centuries.
Thesis(Ph.D.) -- Istanbul Technical University, Graduate School, 2022
Anahtar kelimeler
earthquake, deprem, Antioch, Antakya, urbanization, kentleşme, cities and towns, kentler ve kasabalar