First Marcellus flood

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The first Marcellus flood , also Grote Mandränke (great drowning) , occurred on January 16, 1219. It is named after St. Marcellus I , on whose memorial day it occurred.

Reports of the Chronicles

According to an unreliable report in the Saxon World Chronicle , this severe storm surge , which was incorrectly dated November 17, 1218, killed around 36,000 people on the North Sea coast . The Colmar Annals , on the other hand, name the number of 50,000 victims. West Friesland was particularly hard hit in what is now the Netherlands . There the North Sea broke through a naturally created sand dike , creating the Zuiderzee (southern sea) bay , the IJsselmeer , which is now artificially separated from the North Sea .

It is the first major storm surge on the North Sea of ​​which there is an eyewitness report: Emo von Wittewierum , who later became the abbot of the Premonstratensian monastery of Wittewierum near Groningen , recorded in the Chronicon abbatum in Werum that on January 16, 1219, “in the 55th year after the Julian flood ”, the“ bloodthirsty southwest wind ”, which had brought hail for days, turned into a storm, turned north-west at night with a full moon , causing large floods that exceeded the dikes and washed away the houses. Abbot Emo tried an explanation based on natural philosophy, but ultimately interpreted the Marcellus flood and the subsequent famine as a deluge "because of our crimes". The rich march farmers would not have thought of the poor; therefore they would have lost their land.

Some chronicles from the 16th century blamed this storm surge for the formation of the Jade Bay . As a result, the water is said to have broken in at the former Dorfwurt of Alt-Gödens after it had destroyed the legendary Schlicker Siel with copper doors . The parishes that were flooded at the time ( Oldessen , Dauerns , Hummens , Jadele , Dangast , Arngast and Alt-Gödens or Lee ) still existed in the 1420s. Only Hiddels had already disappeared. As a result, the expansion of the Jade Bay should only be set in the course of the 15th century, i.e. much later than the storm surge legend suggests.

See also


  • Gerrit Jasper Schenk: Sea power and human work. The Marcellus flood on the North Sea coast in January 1219. In: ders. (Ed.): Disasters. From the fall of Pompeii to climate change. Ostfildern 2009, pp. 52–66.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. quoted from: Bernd Rieken: North Sea is Mordsee. Storm surges and their significance for the history of mentality in the Frisians . tape 187 . Nordfriisk Instituut , Münster 2005, p. 127-128 .
  2. Bernd Rieken: The North Sea is Murder Sea. Storm surges and their significance for the history of mentality in the Frisians. Volume 187. Nordfriisk Instituut, Münster 2005, p. 151.