Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750

Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750

by Lester K. Little
ISBN-10:
0521846390
ISBN-13:
9780521846394
Pub. Date:
10/31/2006
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
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Overview

Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750

Plague was a key factor in the waning of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Eight centuries before the Black Death, a pandemic of plague engulfed the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and eventually extended as far east as Persia and as far north as the British Isles. Its persisted sporadically from 541 to 750, the same period that witnessed the distinctive shaping of the Byzantine Empire, a new prominence of the Roman papacy and of monasticism, the beginnings of Islam and the meteoric expansion of the Arabic Empire, the ascent of the Carolingian dynasty in Frankish Gaul and, not coincidentally, the beginnings of a positive work ethic in the Latin West. 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 analyze 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 reappearence over time. Finally, molecular biologists, newcomers to this kind of investigation, have become pioneers of paleopathology, seeking ways to identity pathogens in human remains from the remote past.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521846394
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/31/2006
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.98(d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. Life and afterlife of the first plague pandemic Lester K. Little; 2. Historians and epidemics: simple questions, complex answers Jo N. Hays; Part II. The Near East: 3. For whom does the writer write?: the first bubonic plague pandemic according to Syriac sources Michael Morony; 4. Justinian plague in Syria and the archaeological evidence Hugh N. Kennedy; Part III. The Byzantine Empire: 5. Crime and punishment: the plague in the Byzantine empire 541-749 Dionysios Stathakopoulos; 6. Bubonic plague in Byzantium: the evidence of the non-literary sources Peter Sarris; Part IV. The Latin West: 7. Consilia humana, ops divina, superstitio (Livy 7,2): seeking succor and solace in times of plague, with particular reference to Gaul in the early middle ages Alain J. Stoclet; 8. Plague in Spanish late antiquity Michael Kulikowski; 9. Plague in seventh-century England John Maddicott; 10. The plague and its consequences in Ireland Ann Dooley; Part V. The Challenge of Epidemiology and Molecular Biology: 11. Ecology, evolution, and epidemiology of plague Robert Sallares; 12. Towards a molecular history of the Justiniac pandemic Michael McCormick.

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