Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541750. Collected papers


   Plague was a key factor in the waning of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. In this volume, the first on the subject, twelve scholars from a variety of disciplines  history, archaeology, epidemiology, and molecular biology  have produced a comprehensive account of the pandemic's origins, spread, and mortality, as well as its economic, social, political, and religious effects. The historians examine written sources in a range of languages, including Arabic, Syriac, Greek, Latin and Old Irish. Archaeologists analyse burial pits, abandoned villages, and aborted building projects. The epidemiologists use the written sources to track the disease's means and speed of transmission, the mix of vulnerability and resistance it encountered, and the patterns of reappearance over time. Finally, molecular biologists, newcomers to this kind of investigation, have become pioneers of paleopathology, seeking ways to identify pathogens in human remains from the remote past.


Table of contents




I. Introduction

1. Life and Afterlife of the First Plague Pandemic

2. Historians and Epidemics: Simple Questions, Complex Answers

II. The Near East

3. “For Whom Does the Writer Write?”: The First Bubonic Plague Pandemic According to Syriac Sources

4. Justinianic Plague in Syria and the Archaeological Evidence

III. The Byzantine Empire

5. Crime and Punishment: The Plague in the Byzantine Empire, 541749

6. Bubonic Plague in Byzantium: The Evidence of Non-Literary Sources

IV. The Latin West

7. Consilia humana, ops divina, superstitio: Seeking Succor and Solace in Times of Plague, with Particular Reference to Gaul in the Early Middle Ages

8. Plague in Spanish Late Antiquity

9. Plague in Seventh-Century England

10. The Plague and Its Consequences in Ireland

V. The Challenge of Epidemiology and Molecular Biology

11. Ecology, Evolution, and Epidemiology of Plague

12. Toward a Molecular History of the Justinianic Pandemic




Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language English
Pages 360
Illustrations b/w figures
Binding hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-84639-4
Creation date 2007
Size 16 x 24 cm

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