Why people didn't get the plague

4 May 2020

Actually, the title is wrong. Why people do not seem to have suffered the same dramatic effects of the Black Death in earlier incidents of bubonic plague. One can see that with the current corona virus outbreak that new forms of virus can occur that are more devastating the  earlier one. Does this mean bubonic plague is a virus comparable to covid 19? Who knows. We require more data. At www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/why-people-in-ancient-times-didnt-... ... it seems that bubonic plague, the dreaded black death that killed a quarter of the population of Europe back in the 14th century AD, may not have been so virulent in earlier times. Why might this be so? The idea it might have a cosmic origin is not part of the songsheet and yet they think it had little effect on human numbers around 3000BC (when the currently known earliest outbreak occurred). There is no reason why it could not have struck even earlier in history - but no evidence for that currently exists. I can remember reading somewhere that in Britain, if nowhere else, there was a drastic fall in population around 3000BC - and again, around 2500BC (formerly 2300BC). They ask - why didn't the plague rip through the population in those earlier times - but it seems they are not looking at the full picture as archaeologists have been saying this is a fact in the above two instances. Difficult to prove though - and difficult for the new study people to prove what they are saying. This is, I think, that in the medieval outbreak human numbers were high and people lived in cramped, damp, and insanitary conditions (looking at Britain as an example). In other words, the peasants - yet the plague also affected the high born in their big mansions. It is an interesting observation as population numbers would have been much lower around 3000BC - but not in Sumeria and the Levant. In the Neolithic era people had a more mobile and pastoral way of life (in Britain) and they may have not been affected to the same degree as a medieval village with houses of wattle and daub and small windows. The full paper would give more details on where their evidence of a mild effect in 3000BC came from.

At www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-rome-learned-deadly-antonine-plague-... ... what Rome learned from the deadly Antonine plague. The current corona virus outbreak has caused researchers to have another look at old epidemics, dusting them down and comparing them with the modern outbreak. All useful stuff, and interesting. The response of Rome seems to have been remarkably pragmatic. They clearly didn't have the medical infrastructure as we do in the modern world and yet they were able to cope with an epidemic that was many times worse than the Covid 19 version. Around 165AD a statue of Apollo Alexitasis (Apollo of Evil) was erected at Hierapolis, which it was hoped would ward off the worst of the plague - an outbreak of smallpox. In this research paper it is assumed it was smallpox but there have been lots of books on early epidemics and plagues and the three Roman outbreaks come with written confirmation and a description of the symptoms (which remain in dispute as it is not universally accepted smallpox was to blame). Some ten per cent of the population of the empire are said to have died and yet when smallpox was introduced to the Americas the death rate was much higher. Hence, the jury is out on the actual disease that was responsible for the Antonine Plague. Roman society adapted to the loss of life and recruited army personnel from a wider geographic sweep than previously - and even introduced to the senate people that would have been at the back of the queue in earlier times. And so on.