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  • Cited by 47
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2012
Print publication year:
2006
Online ISBN:
9780511812934

Book description

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.

Reviews

'… interesting and thought-provoking throughout. Each chapter has new ideas to provide the reader … this book is an indication that this fascinating topic is finally receiving the scholarly attention it deserves.'

Source: BMCR

'No one interested in the history of epidemic diseases can afford to neglect what Sallares and McCormick have to say …'

Source: Medical History

'A most readable and thought-provoking book, though not entirely for the faint-hearted.'

Source: Medieval Archaeology

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Contents

  • 1 - Life and Afterlife of the First Plague Pandemic
    pp 3-32
    • By Lester K. Little, Dwight W. Morrow Professor Emeritus of History at Smith College

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