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

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

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670038558
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/03/2007
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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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Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing detail. I loved it. Looked like you took your time. WAY TOO SHORT THOUGH! Make the story about seven pages and grab the readers attention with every sentence. Otherwise its almost awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.