Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/149

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A.D. 358.]
137
EARTHQUAKES IN ASIA.

a man of not much activity, but a fluent talker, he, as his troops were in a high state of indignation at the invaders, gave them so terrible a defeat, that only a very few, who took to flight in their panic, escaped to carry back their tears and lamentations to their homes.

3. In this battle Nevita, who afterwards became consul, was present as commander of a squadron of cavalry, and displayed great gallantry.

VII

§1. This year also some terrible earthquakes took place in Macedonia, Asia Minor, and Pontus, and their repeated shocks overthrew many towns, and even mountains. But the most remarkable of all the manifold disasters which they caused was the entire ruin of Nicomedia, the metropolis of Bithynia; which I will here relate with truth and brevity.

2. On the 23rd of August, at daybreak, some heavy black clouds suddenly obscured the sky, which just before was quite fair. And the sun was so wholly concealed that it was impossible to see what was near or even quite close, so completely did a thick lurid darkness settle on the ground, preventing the least use of the eyes.

3. Presently, as if the supreme deity were himself letting loose his fatal wrath, and stirring up the winds from their hinges, a violent raging storm descended, by the fury of which the groaning mountains were struck, and the crash of the waves on the shore was heard to a vast distance. And then followed typhoons and whirlwinds with a horrid trembling of the earth, throwing down the whole city and its suburbs.

4. And as most of the houses were built on the slopes of the hills, they now fell down one over the other, while all around resounded with the vast crash of their fall. In the mean time the tops of the hills re-echoed all sorts of noises, as well as outcries of men seeking their wives and children, and other relations.

5. At last, after two hours, or at least within three, the air became again clear and serene, and disclosed the destruction which till then was unseen. Some, overwhelmed by the enormous masses of ruins which had fallen upon them, were crushed to death. Some were