Tsunami Killed Persian Invaders in Ancient Greek Village: German Geologists

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | April 21, 2012 9:56 PM EST

Geologists from Germany have found that the small Greek village of Potidaea was saved by tsunami from Persians invading it nearly 2,500 years ago.

A team of researchers from Germany's Aachen University have found the huge waves that hit the Potidaea village in 479 BC killing hundreds of the Persian army during a siege of the village and saved the village was a tusnami, reported the BBC.

Earlier, Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, recorded that huge waves and believed it to be an act of God.  "Then there came upon them a great flood-tide of the sea, higher than ever before, as the natives of the place say, though high tides come often," Herodotus wrote.

"So those of them who could not swim perished, and those who could were slain by the men of Potidaea who put out to them in boats," he recorded.

Herodotus believed that the Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and the oceans, had punished the invaders for some offense, reports msnbc.

The scientists led by Aachen's Professor Klaus Reicherter studied the ancient village of Potidaea, and its modern counterpart Nea Potidea and found evidence that it was tsunami that killed the Persians.

The team which also excavated the suburbs of the ancient city of Mende nearby the Potidaea village came across signs of marine events including shells in the sand which were believed to have been deposited by the tsunami centuries ago.

The experts' team believes that the region could still face the risk of natural disasters like tsunami. According to msnbc, the team created models using data collected and suggested that the bathtub-shaped basin in the seafloor near the northwestern Greek coast combined with earthquakes and landslides in the region could create tsunamis from 7 to 16 feet (2 to 5 metres).

 "We have found several historic tsunamis on the coast," Aachen's Professor Klaus Reicherter told Germany's DPA news agency, reported BBC.

"That means there is a certain risk for the coastal areas," he added.

The findings have been presented at the annual conference of the Seismological Society of America in San Diego, California.

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