749 Galilee earthquake

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The Seventh earthquake
Scythopolis (Beit She'an) was one of the cities destroyed in the earthquake of 749
Date January 18, 749[1][2]
Magnitude estimated 7 to 7.5 on the Richter scale[1]
Epicenter Galilee
Areas affected Bilad al-Sham province, Umayyad Caliphate
(modern-day Israel, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan)
Casualties unknown, reportedly tens of thousands

The Seventh Earthquake (Hebrew: רעש שביעית‎), Ra'ash Shvi'it, also known as the Earthquake of 749, was a devastating earthquake that struck Palestine and eastern Transjordan on January 18, 749.[1][2] The cities of Tiberias, Beit She'an, Hippos and Pella were largely destroyed while many other cities across the Levant were heavily damaged. In addition, the earthquake reportedly claimed tens of thousands of victims.

Damage and casualties[edit]

According to historical sources, Scythopolis (Beit She'an), Tiberias, Capernaum, Hippos (Sussita),[3] Pella, suffered widespread damage. A Coptic priest from Alexandria reported that support beams had shifted in houses in Egypt and a Syrian priest wrote that a village near Mount Tabor had "moved a distance of four miles." Other sources reported tidal waves in the Mediterranean Sea, several days of aftershocks in Damascus, and towns swallowed up in the earth.[1] The death toll in Jerusalem numbered in the thousands. Many buildings, among them the Al-Aqsa Mosque, were severely damaged. The town of Umm el Kanatir and its ancient synagogue were destroyed.[4]

Religious significance[edit]

Ruins of Hippos/Sussita

"Ra'ash shvi'it" is mentioned in piyyutim (Jewish liturgical poems). Some rabbis believe the earthquake struck in a Sabbatical year, in which case, the translation of the term would be "earthquake of the seventh year".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Barkat, Amiram (August 8, 2003). "The big one is coming". Haaretz. Retrieved May 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy (October 14, 2007). "749 CE Golan quake shows another is overdue". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved May 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ Segal, Arthur; Eisenberg, Michael (May–June 2006). "The Spade Hits Sussita". Biblical Archaeology Review 32 (3): 41–51, 78. 
  4. ^ Rosenberg, Stephen Gabriel (February 19, 2009). "The synagogue of Umm el-Kanatir". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved May 11, 2011. 

External links[edit]

  • Margaliot Mordechai, "Determining the Time of Seventh Earthquake", Israel Exploration Society 8, 1940/1941. (Hebrew)
  • Margaliot Mordechai, "A New Record of the Fasting Earthquake", Tarbitz 29, 1959/1960, pp. 339–344. (Hebrew)
  • Tsafrir Y. Ferster C, "On the Dating of the Seventh Earthquake", Tarbitz 58, 1988/1989, pp. 357–362. (Hebrew)
  • The Seventh Earthquake – The Death of the City