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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: March 2008

VIII.16 - Black Death

from Part VIII - Major Human Diseases Past and Present
The Black Death is the name given by modern historians to the great pandemic of plague that ravaged parts of Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe in the middle of the fourteenth century. The ecology of plague means that it is a seasonal phenomenon; in its dominant, bubonic form, it flourishes in warm weather, whereas its rarer, primary pneumonic form is most common in winter. The Black Death was in many ways a completely unprecedented experience for those who suffered through it. Plague had virtually disappeared from the Middle East and Europe during the centuries between the end of the first pandemic in the eighth century and the beginning of the second pandemic, and although the first half of the fourteenth century had been marked by a number of epidemics of other diseases, none approached the Black Death in destructiveness and universality.
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The Cambridge World History of Human Disease
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053518
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