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Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

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The Emperor Justinian reunified Rome's fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. At his capital in Constantinople, he built the world's most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next 500 years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed 5,000 ...
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New York, NY 2007 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Tight binding with clean text. New. D/j has slight wear along edges. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 367 ... p. Audience: General/trade. This sweeping narrative explores history's first pandemic--a plague seven centuries before the Black Death that killed millions, devastated the empires of Persia and Rome, and opened the way for the armies of Islam. Maps. Read more Show Less

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New York, NY 2007 Hard cover New. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 367 p. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the ... event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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2007 Hardcover New in new dust jacket. A Brand New copy, unused and unread. Christmas 2014 Please note that any International orders received after 30th November may not be ... received in time for Christmas. European orders need to be placed by 8th December for delivery before Christmas. Orders to UK addresses, the last posting day for 2nd Class mail is 16th December. The offices will be closed between 24th-26th December, any orders received during this time will be processed on 29th December, please allow for post delays over New. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Justinian's Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire

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Overview

The Emperor Justinian reunified Rome's fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. At his capital in Constantinople, he built the world's most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next 500 years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed 5,000 people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.

Weaving together evolutionary microbiology, economics, military strategy, ecology, and ancient and modern medicine, William Rosen offers a sweeping narrative of one of the great hinge moments in history, one that will appeal to readers of John Kelly's The Great Mortality, John Barry's The Great Influenza, and Jared Diamond's Collapse.

* Mp3 CD Format *. The Emperor Justinian reunified Rome's fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. At his capital in Constantinople he built the world's most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next five hundred years. Them in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed five thousand people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

What might be called "microbial history"—the study of the impact of disease on human events—is a subject that has received great attention in recent years. Rosen's new book follows John Barry's The Great Influenza and John Kelly's The Great Mortality.An editor and publisher for more than a quarter century, Rosen absorbingly narrates the story of how the Byzantine Empire encountered the dangerous Y. pestis in A.D. 542 and suffered a bubonic plague pandemic foreshadowing its more famous successor eight centuries later. Killing 25 million people and depressing the birth rate and economic growth for many generations, this unfortunate collision of bacterium and man would mark the end of antiquity and help usher in the Dark Ages. Rosen is particularly illuminating and imaginative on the "macro" aftereffects of the plague. Thus, the "shock of the plague" would remake the political map north of the Alps by drawing power away from the Mediterranean and Byzantine worlds toward what would become France, Germany and England. Specialist historians may certainly dislike the inevitable reductionism such a broad-brush approach entails, but readers of Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel,Jared Diamond's grand narratives, will find this a welcome addendum. (May 14)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670038558
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/3/2007
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author


William Rosen was an editor and publisher at Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and the Free Press for more than twenty-five years.

Barrett Whitener has won half a dozen coveted AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audiobook narration.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2008

    Good first half, painful second half

    The first half of the book is a fascinating tale of how the incalculable facets of life during the late Roman empire all lead to the formation of Europe as we know it today. War, politics, religion -- it¿s all here. I found the sections about how Christianity orthodoxy was created particularly interesting. Unfortunately, for as good as the first half was, I found the second half tedious and in some parts painful. I had to muscle through Rosen¿s excruciatingly detailed description of how the Hagia Sophia was constructed and the evolution of the bacteria that causes the plague. Some will no doubt find these sections remarkable, but they simply held no appeal to me. Still, I¿d say Rosen did a pretty good job of providing a fairly comprehensive history of the time period and can recommend the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

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