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Justinian Plague in England

21 November 2021

At https://phys.org/news/2021-11-justinianic-plague-flu-struck-england.html … plague sceptics are wrong to underestimate the devastating impact that plague had in the 6th and 7th centuries AD, according to a new study that sets out to demolish the ideas of those historians who play light fingers with the Justinian Plague. They resort to ancient texts and recent genetic discoveries. The study says the plague may have reached England before it was first recorded in the Mediterranean. It seems traces of Yersinia pestis found in an early Anglo Saxon period burial site, at Edix Hill in Cambridgeshire, showed that many of the bodies died carrying the disease. I suppose this may revolve around the dates procured from the cemetery as well as the dating of the ancient records. It assumes that early Saxon period dates are firm. Steve Mitchell showed that it was possible that an error in dating at this time, or around 7 years, between dates assigned to the A/S period and those fixed to the chronology of the Roman empire in the East, based at Constantinople, may not be exact. Does the new study rely on these tight dates? The study goes on to say the analysis of the bodies revealed it was the earliest lineage of the bacterium involved in the 6th century AD epidemic. On the other hand if the plague was spread via the atmosphere it could well have reached northern Europe prior to the Mediterranean. After all, it rains a lot more in the UK than it does in the Mediterranean region. Rain can bring all sorts of things out of the atmosphere, from dust with an origin in the Sahara to dust with an origin in space.

See also https://academic.oup.com/past/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pasti/gtab024/…

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