1348 Friuli earthquake
|Date||January 25, 1348|
|Countries or regions|| Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
The earthquake of 25 January 1348, centered in the South Alpine region of Friuli, was felt across Europe. The quake hit in the same year that the Great Plague ravaged Italy. According to contemporary sources, it caused considerable damage to structures; churches and houses collapsed, villages were destroyed and foul odors emanated from the earth.
The epicenter was located east of Tolmezzo, Venzone and Gemona, with a seismic intensity of eight to nine according to the European Macroseismic Scale (approximately measured 6.9 on the Richter scale). Most of the damage reported was in Northern Italy (including places as far away as Pisa and Naples), in the present-day Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, in the adjacent provinces of Belluno, Vicenza and Verona up to Lombardy and Venice, as well as in Carinthia and Carniola (in nowadays Slovenia) to the north and east. Aftershocks occurred until March, 5.
Striking in the early afternoon, the earthquake caused hundreds of casualties and destroyed numerous buildings. In Udine, the castle and the cathedral were severely damaged. In Carinthia, the town of Villach and numerous surrounding villages were largely destroyed by a major landslide followed by a flood of the Gail River. Even in Rome the earthquake allegedly took a toll: considerable damage was sustained by the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore; in the Torre delle Milizie, an upper floor crumbled, and the structure assumed the slight tilt it retains today. The sixth-century basilica of Santi Apostoli was so utterly ruined that it was left in an abandoned state for a generation.
The earthquake coincided with the beginning of the Black Death in Europe; in contemporary minds the two disasters were connected, as acts of God, but accepted as something both tremendous and unexpected, and yet which also belonged to daily life. The historian of medicine A.G. Carmichael observes, "The earthquake of 25 January 1348 is likely to have fuelled and focused specifically apocalyptical fears more than plague did." The earthquake figured in the diary of the German nun Christina Ebner, and was reported in numerous city and abbey chronicles, which have given modern historians opportunities of making the "Friuli event" one of the most thoroughly studied medieval earthquakes.
- "Satan Triumphant: The Black Death". The History Guide. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
- Christian Rohr, "Man and natural disaster in the Late Middle Ages: The Earthquake in Carinthia and Northern Italy on 25 January 1348 and its Perception", Environment and History, 9.2, (May 2003:127-149)
- Rohr 2003.
- "Universal and Particular: The Language of Plague, 1348–1500", Medical History. Supplement, 2008.
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- Arno Borst, Das Erdbeben von 1348 ein historischer Beitrag zur Katastrophenforschung (1981)
- C. Hammerl "The earthquake of January 25, 1348: Reconstruction of a natural occurrence" 1997. Based on Hammerl's 1992 dissertation. Das Erdbeben vom 25. Jänner 1348–Rekonstruktion des Naturereignisses
- R. Gutdeutsch and W. Lenhardt, "Seismological interpretation of the South Alpine earthquake of January 25th, 1348". European Seismological Conference XXV (1996).