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  • Mass grave in London reveals how volcano caused global catastrophe

    08/05/2012 5:20:32 AM PDT · by Renfield · 38 replies
    The Guardian (UK) ^ | 8-4-2012 | Dalya Alberge
    When archaeologists discovered thousands of medieval skeletons in a mass burial pit in east London in the 1990s, they assumed they were 14th-century victims of the Black Death or the Great Famine of 1315-17. Now they have been astonished by a more explosive explanation – a cataclysmic volcano that had erupted a century earlier, thousands of miles away in the tropics, and wrought havoc on medieval Britons. Scientific evidence – including radiocarbon dating of the bones and geological data from across the globe – shows for the first time that mass fatalities in the 13th century were caused by one...
  • Vikings had smallpox and may have helped spread the world's deadliest virus

    07/25/2020 10:53:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 38 replies
    EurekAlert! ^ | July 23, 2020 | St John's College, University of Cambridge
    Scientists have discovered extinct strains of smallpox in the teeth of Viking skeletons - proving for the first time that the killer disease plagued humanity for at least 1400 years. Smallpox spread from person to person via infectious droplets, killed around a third of sufferers and left another third permanently scarred or blind. Around 300 million people died from it in the 20th century alone before it was officially eradicated in 1980 through a global vaccination effort - the first human disease to be wiped out... He said: "We discovered new strains of smallpox in the teeth of Viking skeletons...
  • Study Reveals Just How Bad Syphilis Got in London in The Late 18th Century

    07/14/2020 9:30:21 AM PDT · by C19fan · 42 replies
    ScienceAlert ^ | July 11, 2020 | David Nield
    As many as one in five Londoners had syphilis by their mid-30s during the late 18th century, according to a detailed new study on the sexually transmitted infection (STI) and its spread in the capital of the United Kingdom. Researchers used data from hospital admissions and workhouse infirmaries to reach their figures, making allowances for duplicate records, private treatments, and the possibility of syphilis numbers getting mixed in with other diseases like gonorrhea or chlamydia. The findings show a much higher incidence in London than elsewhere in the country at the time – other studies show 'the pox' was half...
  • How did the plague reshape Bronze Age Europe?

    05/20/2020 9:37:06 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    Phys dot org ^ | December 3, 2019 | Anthony King
    ...Prof. Haak will also try to detect more plague DNA in hundreds of skeletons from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age. So far, DNA evidence from a dozen skeletons points to little variability between the strains of Yersinia pestis in such remains, suggesting that the pestilence spread rapidly across the continent. The speed may owe to another human advance at this time -- the domestication of wild horses, which may literally have carried the disease into Europe. "We see the change from wild local horses to domesticated horses, which happened rapidly at the beginning of the Bronze Age," said...
  • Did a new form of plague destroy Europe's Stone Age societies?

    06/13/2019 10:32:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    Science mag ^ | December 6, 2018 | Lizzie Wade
    Nearly 5000 years ago, a 20-year-old woman was buried in a tomb in Sweden... Now, researchers have discovered what killed her -- Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague. The sample is one of the oldest ever found, and it belongs to a previously unknown branch of the Y. pestis evolutionary tree. This newly discovered strain of plague could have caused the collapse of large Stone Age settlements across Europe in what might be the world's first pandemic, researchers on the project say. But other scientists contend there isn't yet enough evidence to prove the case. The newly discovered Neolithic...
  • The Dancing Plague of 1518 [July 1518]

    08/21/2018 3:29:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 37 replies
    Public Domain Review ^ | July 10, 2018 | Ned Pennant-Rea
    On a hastily built stage before the busy horse market of Strasbourg, scores of people dance to pipes, drums, and horns. The July sun beats down upon them as they hop from leg to leg, spin in circles and whoop loudly. From a distance they might be carnival revellers. But closer inspection reveals a more disquieting scene. Their arms are flailing and their bodies are convulsing spasmodically. Ragged clothes and pinched faces are saturated in sweat. Their eyes are glassy, distant. Blood seeps from swollen feet into leather boots and wooden clogs. These are not revellers but “choreomaniacs”, entirely possessed...
  • How The Black Death Plague Helps The Environment, It Could Reduce Atmospheric Lead Pollution

    06/02/2017 3:43:15 PM PDT · by Lorianne · 12 replies
    International Business Times ^ | 31 May 2017 | Elana Glowatz
    One way to stop countries from polluting the air with lead is to bring back the plague. Research suggests while the infectious and deadly illness known as the Black Death rampaged through Europe and slowed industry, among other side effects, lead disappeared from the air. Scientists analyzed ice samples from a glacier in the Alps along the Swiss-Italian border, looking specifically for lead that would have been deposited from the atmosphere. The study in the journal GeoHealth found between 1349 and 1353 — when the plague was at its peak — “atmospheric lead dropped to undetectable levels.” The Black Death...
  • In Ancient DNA, Evidence of Plague Much Earlier Than Previously Known

    11/06/2015 1:17:54 PM PST · by Lorianne · 7 replies
    New York Times ^ | 22 October 2015 | Carl Zimmer
    In the 14th century, a microbe called Yersinia pestis caused an epidemic of plague known as the Black Death that killed off a third or more of the population of Europe. The long-term shortage of workers that followed helped bring about the end of feudalism. Historians and microbiologists alike have searched for decades for the origins of plague. Until now, the first clear evidence of Yersinia pestis infection was the Plague of Justinian in the 6th century, which severely weakened the Byzantine Empire. But in a new study, published on Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers report that the bacterium...
  • Plague Infected Humans Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

    10/24/2015 6:14:01 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    EurekAlert! ^ | October 22, 2015 | Joseph Caputo of Cell Press
    Y. pestis was the notorious culprit behind the sixth century's Plague of Justinian, the Black Death, which killed 30%-50% of the European population in the mid-1300s, and the Third Pandemic, which emerged in China in the 1850s. Earlier putative plagues, such as the Plague of Athens nearly 2,500 years ago and the second century's Antonine Plague, have been linked to the decline of Classical Greece and the undermining of the Roman army. However, it has been unclear whether Y. pestis could have been responsible for these early epidemics because direct molecular evidence for this bacterium has not been obtained from...
  • Victims of the Great Plague 'discovered' at Liverpool Street station

    08/13/2015 8:49:48 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    BBC ^ | August 12, 2015 | unattributed
    A mass burial site that may contain 30 victims of the Great Plague has been discovered in the City of London. The skeletons were found during excavation of the Bedlam burial ground at Liverpool Street, which will serve the cross-London Crossrail line. A headstone found nearby was marked 1665. Scientists hope to establish whether bubonic plague or some other pestilence was the cause of death. The skeletons will be analysed by the Museum of London Archaeology. Archaeologists said the fact the individuals appear to have been buried on the same day suggest they were victims of the Plague. Crossrail lead...
  • 5 plagues have come out of China in last 20 years, says U.S. National Security Advisor

    05/15/2020 7:59:42 AM PDT · by rintintin · 21 replies
    The Hindu ^ | May 13 2020 | The Hindu
    As many as five plagues have come out of China in the last 20 years and at some point it has to stop, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has said, holding the country responsible for the origin of the coronavirus pandemic which has killed over 2,50,000 people globally. People across the globe are going to rise up and tell the Chinese government that “we can no longer have these plagues coming out of China”, whether it is from labs or wet markets, neither one is a good answer, he told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. We know...
  • Europe’s Plagues Came From China, Study Finds (2010 article)

    05/10/2020 9:04:20 PM PDT · by rintintin · 3 replies
    New York Times ^ | Oct 31 2010 | Nicholas Wade
    The great waves of plague that twice devastated Europe and changed the course of history had their origins in China, a team of medical geneticists reported Sunday, as did a third plague outbreak that struck less harmfully in the 19th century.
  • Infectious disease modeling study casts doubt on impact of Justinianic plague

    05/04/2020 7:12:49 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    EurekAlert! ^ | May 1, 2020 | University of Maryland
    Many have claimed the Justinianic Plague (c. 541-750 CE) killed half of the population of Roman Empire. Now, historical research and mathematical modeling challenge the death rate and severity of this first plague pandemic... White and Mordechai focused their efforts on the city of Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire, which had a comparatively well-described outbreak in 542 CE. Some primary sources claim plague killed up to 300,000 people in the city, which had a population of some 500,000 people at the time. Other sources suggest the plague killed half the empire's population. Until recently, many scholars accepted this image...
  • Diary of Samuel Pepys shows how life under the Bubonic Plague mirrored today’s pandemic

    04/25/2020 11:26:04 AM PDT · by MikelTackNailer · 46 replies
    The Conversation ^ | April 24, 2020 | Ute Lotz-Heumann
    <p>In early April, writer Jen Miller urged New York Times readers to start a coronavirus diary.</p> <p>“Who knows,” she wrote, “maybe one day your diary will provide a valuable window into this period.”</p> <p>During a different pandemic, one 17th-century British naval administrator named Samuel Pepys did just that. He fastidiously kept a diary from 1660 to 1669 – a period of time that included a severe outbreak of the bubonic plague in London. Epidemics have always haunted humans, but rarely do we get such a detailed glimpse into one person’s life during a crisis from so long ago.</p>
  • Edward Jenner (1749 - 1823)

    04/16/2020 1:21:11 AM PDT · by DallasBiff · 23 replies
    In 1796, he carried out his now famous experiment on eight-year-old James Phipps. Jenner inserted pus taken from a cowpox pustule and inserted it into an incision on the boy's arm. He was testing his theory, drawn from the folklore of the countryside, that milkmaids who suffered the mild disease of cowpox never contracted smallpox, one of the greatest killers of the period, particularly among children. Jenner subsequently proved that having been inoculated with cowpox Phipps was immune to smallpox. He submitted a paper to the Royal Society in 1797 describing his experiment, but was told that his ideas were...
  • "Work of Every Description Ceased" ~ First hand accounts of the Plague of Justinian, 6th century AD

    04/01/2020 5:50:14 AM PDT · by Antoninus · 15 replies
    Gloria Romanorum ^ | April 1, 2020 | Florentius
    Click above for a video excerpt from The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius describing a personal encounter with the dreaded Plague of Justinian. The thought of pandemic troubles many souls these days. It is well to keep in mind that as bad as things may seem with regard to the deaths caused by the COVID-19 virus, we are not even within shouting distance of the type of utter and absolute societal devastation caused by the typical catastrophic historical plague. One of these epic pestilential events was the so-called Plague of Justinian of the mid-to-late 6th century AD. Erupting in AD 542,...
  • Classical Corner: The Antonine Plague and the Spread of Christianity

    04/14/2020 9:41:14 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 11 replies
    Biblical Archaeology Review ^ | April 2017 | Sarah K. Yeomans
    Marcus Aurelius. Photo: © DEA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY. The year was 166 C.E., and the Roman Empire was at the zenith of its power. The triumphant Roman legions, under the command of Emperor Lucius Verrus, returned to Rome victorious after having defeated their Parthian enemies on the eastern border of the Roman Empire. As they marched west toward Rome, they carried with them more than the spoils of plundered Parthian temples; they also carried an epidemic that would ravage the Roman Empire over the course of the next two decades, an event that would inexorably alter the landscape of...
  • Church Records Could Identify an Ancient Roman Plague

    04/10/2020 2:00:59 PM PDT · by CondoleezzaProtege · 7 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | Nov 1, 2017 | Kyle Harper
    The Plague of Cyprian, named after the man who by AD 248 found himself Bishop of Carthage, struck in a period of history when basic facts are sometimes known barely or not at all. Yet the one fact that virtually all of our sources do agree upon is that a great pestilence defined the age between AD 249 and AD 262. Inscriptions, papyri, archaeological remains, and textual sources collectively insist on the high stakes of the pandemic. In a recent study, I was able to count at least seven eyewitnesses, and a further six independent lines of transmission, whose testimony...
  • What The Great Historian Thucydides Saw In Athens’ Plague—And Our Own

    04/08/2020 7:06:21 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 12 replies
    The Federalist ^ | 04/08/2020 | Paul Rahe
    As those who follow the gyrations of the stock market are well aware, human beings have a propensity for short-term thinking. They react on impulse to that which is recent; they magnify its significance; and they forget what previous generations learned through bitter experience.To this propensity, the study of history can be an antidote. But all too often historians ransack the past in support of current prejudice.For one who wishes to escape the prison of presentmindedness and gain perspective, there is no substitute for works written regarding circumstances similar to our own at a time our prejudices and predilections...
  • 101-year-old Italian man born during Spanish flu pandemic survives coronavirus, official says

    03/28/2020 11:48:12 AM PDT · by Libloather · 15 replies
    Fox News ^ | 3/28/20 | Louis Casiano
    A 101-year-old Italian man born during the Spanish flu pandemic has reportedly survived a coronavirus infection as the outbreak continues to ravage his country and spread globally. Gloria Lisi, the vice mayor of Rimini, a city on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the Italian north, said the man had been released from a hospital earlier this week and returned to his family. She identified him only as Mr. P. "He made it. Mr. P. made it," said Lisi, according to the ANSA news agency. Lisi said the man was admitted to a hospital in Rimini last week and...