Weird Weather: 500-1000 AD
Mount Vesuvius experiences an eruption, often called the “Fourth Eruption.”
Earthquake hits Corinth and destroys much of the city.
Cilicia, southern Turkey today, experienced an earthquake.
The River Trent in England flooded and drowned 6,000 cattle and many people.
Antioch was consumed with fire.
Antioch was essentially destroyed again by an earthquake. In late May, the earthquake hit and a major fire broke out in the remains. Due to the large influx of visitors for Ascension Day celebrations, the death toll was estimated to be between 250,000 and 300,000.
This strange decade was filled with bizarre natural disasters and disease. Researchers today still ponder the precise cause, which as yet remains unknown. Some of the events were:
Several accounts report famine in Ireland from 536-539.
- Crops failed across the civilized world.
- Cold summers. In China snow fell in August which spawned another famine.
- Drought in Peru.
- Strange dry fog frequently enveloped Middle East, Europe, and reaches to China.
Procopius, the Byzantine historian, wrote about the wars with the Vandals. During this year, he noted the sun didn’t give brightness and seemed to be in a perpetual eclipse.
Earthquake hits Bulgaria on September 6. The earthquake’s epicenter was near Balchik, and caused a tsunami. Around 1,000 years later, a researcher stated many towns in Balchik completely collapsed and the rivers moved.
Italy stricken with famine. The “Great Famine” occurred in 543. Several reports said parents devoured their children. The Plague of Justinian (Bubonic Plague) ravaged most of Europe, Africa, and Asia. This plague was second in fatalities only to the Black Death in the 14th Century.
Beirut earthquake came on July 9, followed by a tsunami. Many regions suffered devastation, including Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. The death toll was estimated to be around 30,000.
Many historic records discuss a major natural event in Greece during this year. Some accounts state it was a major earthquake, followed by a tsunami, while others just mention the tsunami. Constantinople was also affected. Greece reportedly lost two islands and the sea “abandoned its proper place.” Flooding was everywhere. Strange sea creatures were deposited on land and the citizens tried to boil them to eat. Heat somehow putrefied the creatures and made them inedible. It was said 8 cities were destroyed and many died that had gathered for a festival.
Today, we know the strange Pompeii worm is indeed a very real creature and, despite the volcanic heat often present in the waters, they are incredibly sensitive to and fragile in extreme temperatures.
Europe, particularly Italy, France, and Germany hit with “mold,” plague. Mold formed on everything from houses, to doors, even on cooking utensils.
A massive earthquake hit Constantinople on the night of December 14. The city had already endured two minor quakes in April and October. It nearly destroyed the entire city. The walls of the city were devastated to the point that the Huns could invade the following year. The quake lasted until daylight and much of the population died.
The old books stated a comet appeared a was seen for a year. No further information can be found.
The sea “flooded” and killed people and livestock in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex.
Antioch was destroyed, again, by another earthquake. The quake was so powerful a shock was even felt in Scotland. Numerous smaller quakes hit a variety of locations through the year.
The Tiber again flooded Rome. A comet was seen and was believed to bring famine and disease. The disease was “peculiar” and one symptom of the unusual illness was extremely dry skin, which felt “like parchment.” Lytta (rabies) flourished.
Another comet appeared and marked the start of another pandemic. This disease took the life of Pope Pelagius. It was “sudden and universal.” One of the most frightening symptoms was “phantoms,” or hallucinations, likely brought on by fever. The disease was said to appear in various places across Europe for another 50 years. In Rome, a procession was held and nearly 80 members of the procession fell dead in the street. Another notable symptom was repeatedly sneezing, which was a sign of death. Many claimed the term “God bless you,” came from this period, because a sneeze was considered to be a sign of imminent death. This is also believed to be the origin where someone makes the sign of the cross when another sneezes.
A comet appeared and was recorded by Evagrius.
A comet appeared in France. A plague developed in Africa.
A comet came that lasted for several days.
A large comet appeared.
Syria and Mesopotamia destroyed by locusts.
A “celestial flame,” possibly a part of the aurora borealis, and a comet brings another plague.
A comet appeared over Rome in January. This may coincide with the Chinese record of Halley’s comet appearing in September. Vesuvius had a minor eruption.
Mount Vesuvius erupted in March.
There were tremendous “meteorological disturbances.” The natural disruptions included a downpour of “little fishes,” in Saxony. This is one of the earliest recordings of the phenomenon and occurred during the reign of Otho VI.
As another plague took hold of Turkey, a strange “fog” arose from the sea, from between the islands of Thera and Therasia. The vapor left a dense residue that hardened and felt like pumice. This could be found all across Asia Minor.
Two notable comets appeared. One was found just before sunrise, while the other came at sunset.
Around 400 people drowned in Glasgow’s flooding.
A violent earthquake came on October 26. Constantinople bore the greatest damage, but the quake was also felt in Rome.
The quake was rumored to have brought a plague that continued for nearly three centuries, until around 1000.
A comet was seen over Syria and was blamed for an epidemic that followed its appearance.
Galilee earthquake, or the “Earthquake of 749,” hit on January 7. It was also called “the Seventh Earthquake,” by Jewish scholars. Even the aftershocks were felt as far away as Alexandria and Damascus. There was much destruction and the death toll reached into the tens of thousands.
761 or 762 AD
Two comets were seen, one in the west over Rome, and another in the East. The comets brought extraordinary cold and the Euxine, or Black Sea, froze. Meteor showers were common, starting in March, and an unusually hot summer brought disease and a plague of small flies.
Another comet was seen, and afterward most of the civilized world was hit with a “violent” frost that began on October 1 and lasted for 150 days.
A comet was believed to bring darkness. Afterward, a plague hit various countries at once.
Ireland saw torrential rain that led to destructive flooding.
A comet “warned of” an approaching earthquake in Constantinople. England suffered a darkness lasting two weeks.
Constantinople suffered an earthquake that was even felt in Sicily and Candia (Crete).
There were 17 days of darkness this year.
A great earthquake occurred in France, Germany, and Italy. In Rome, St. Paul’s Cathedral collapsed.
Starting March 17, a great “spot” was seen over the sun for 8 days.
Livestock diseased in immense numbers.
Swarms of locusts invade France.
A flash flood hit the Severn at night. As a result, 2,000 people and 7,000 cattle were drowned.
A comet appeared and Charles I was terrorized by its appearance.
Disease spread across Gaul, brought on by extensive flooding and generally cold, damp weather.
Rhine and Danube froze in winter. The early crops failed due to too much moisture, and a famine followed.
The strange weather plagued the areas of the Rhine and Danube. Disease almost depopulated these regions.
A comet appeared and was observed in China and Europe.
A comet appeared in the Scorpion constellation on the evening of January 31.
A comet appeared in the Ram constellation.
Another comet appeared.
841 or 842 AD
A comet appears in Aquarius.
Comet appears above Venus.
An earthquake hit Damascus in November. Modern researchers believe it was only part of many quakes that reached from Damascus to Antioch and Mosul. It is believed to be one of the most powerful quakes along the Dead Sea Transform fault system. The death toll rose to 20,000.
Many historic books claim a great earthquake hit Italy during this period, but no further information is known. It is also unknown if this was just another way of discussing the Damghan earthquake.
An earthquake was felt “in the greater part of the world.” There was tremendous flooding in Rome when the Tiber rose over its banks due to torrential rains. Much of Rome was flooded.
The Damghan earthquake of 856, also called the Qumis earthquake, happened on December 22. It is believed to be the sixth deadliest earthquake, with a death toll reaching 200,000.
A disastrous famine in Scotland brought on years of deadly plague.
An earthquake hit Mecca and destroyed 90 towers and 1,500 houses. The water grew rancid and had to be sold in bottles. A hill called “Acraus” fell into the sea, and out of the sea came black smoke.
Large comet appeared.
A strange and “monstrous kind of insect,” ravaged England. It resembled an “ugly locust.”
France ravaged by locusts.
Swarms of locusts covered most of France, and the wind drove them into the English Channel. It was believed their dead carcasses being washed ashore spawned the plague that killed around one-third of the French Coast population. A large red comet appeared.
A bearded comet seen over France.
A comet with a large tail “predicted” famine in Italy.
A comet appeared over China.
A comet appeared with its tail pointed eastward, and remains visible for 40 days.
A frost began at the year’s end that lasted 120 days.
Remarkable comet appeared over China and Hungary.
Another comet appeared, deep red, and remains visible for half the year. Hail storms grew common and caused destruction.
In Saxony, a comet appears and then the land is flooded.
A meteor with “globes of fire,” was seen in the skies.
Comet appears over China.
All Roman territories suffered a severe frost. The Thames was frozen for thirteen weeks. Disease and famine followed.
A comet appears in the constellation Cancer.
A frost lasting 120 days begins at the end of the year.
Heat brought drought in England, and with it fatal epidemics. The sun grew dark and any rays that came through windows were as red as blood.
941 or 942 AD
A comet appeared and was visible for 15 days in November. December brought great flooding.
A large “globe of fire,” possibly a fiery meteor, appeared.
A massive comet was seen over Italy, and brought further meteorological disturbances.
961 or 962 AD
A large comet appeared.
The Thames flooded during the night and drowned people and livestock.
Famine again came to England and rendered the hills barren. It also went into France. A comet appeared in August and was visible for the next 8 months.
Venice endured many natural disasters.
Constantinople and Greece suffered an earthquake.
Most of Europe sees floods all winter.
Mount Vesuvius erupted.
A comet was reported over Germany and Italy.
999 or 1000 AD
A large globe of fire appeared.
England endured another famine.