Six Plagues of Antiquity and The Black Death
As humans changed their way of life they’re relationship with infectious diseases became
A population that had little or no exposure to new infections led to a time where epidemics
Only diseases with high transmission rates only existed such as STD’s , and macro parasitic
Agriculture contributed to the decline in the human health.
Urban health enhanced the transmission of certain diseases through air/water by vectors such
as snails, mosquitoes, and flies.
Blood Flukes Disease
Aka snail fever involves feces, urine, snails, and a flatworm
Today it is called schictomiasis or billarzia
Suspicions include humans aqquired the disease by eating infected snails or by drinking water
infected by larvae
The piling up of egg blocks in the blood strea m results in death (read pg 49-53
for a better explanation)
The plague of Athens
The inhabitants of the Nile/Tigris/Euphrates rivers were healthy but not immune to the diseases
that were endemic to the region
The Peloponnesian war resulted in refugees from the country side to reside in Athens which
overcrowded the city and an epidemic that was brought over from Egypt resulted in an epidemic
that lasted 2 years killed one fourth of the Athenian population
The Roman fever
the malaria epidemic began affected Egyptians 3000 years ago spreading from the Euphrates/
Tigris river areas
There are 2 kinds of malaria one with recurrent fevers every third day and another with fevers
every 4 days which are called Plasmodium vivax, and Plasmodium malariae
The malaria then spread to Europe in and from that time onwards it plagued the Romans
When the Greeks were defeated, Rome became the master of the Italian peninsula, whose
economy was based on its imports .
With such a large trading network the risk of infection increased causing the devastation of the
Roman empire through malaria. For almost 2000 years rome was the center of Roman Fever
The epidemic returned every 5 to 8 years. Prashanthan Sep/20/2012
In some places life expectancy was only 20 years, whereas in places where it was absent life
expectancy was as high as 40-50 years of age
Plagues and the rise of Christianity
An epidemic- probably smallpox- struck the city in 65AD it was probably brought by roman
troops campaigning in Mesopotamia, mortality was high and in some places half the population
Although Jesus preached for 3 years in Palestine, his many disciples spread across the Roman
Empire preaching the pagan population.
The Christians were often blamed for the plagues in the area; however Christianity preached the
care for the sick as a religious duty. Those who were helped felt gratitude and accepted the faith
as their own which strengthened the Christian churches and spread the religion until eventually
the Roman Emperor converted too.
The Antonine Plague
Warlike people by the name of Huns marched south on horseback from Mongolia bringing new
diseases to the Roman Empire but other infections such as the roman fever rebuffed them.
The emperor at t