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plague


  • The Plague in Ancient Athens: A Cautionary Tale for America

    by Fred Zilian

    The United States in some respects has fared better under COVID than Athens did during the plague that accompanied the Peloponnesian War: a vaccine is in sight, and our head of state survived the day's most feared disease. But in both cases, disease showed the strains and cracks of a society and political system that will be difficult to repair.


  • How Venetians Invented Health Care

    by Meredith F. Small

    It's been widely discussed during this pandemic year that Venetians invented the quarantine. But the author of a new book on Venice's history of innovation argues that it was just one of the public health measures for which we can thank them.



  • When 194,000 Deaths Doesn’t Sound Like So Many

    by Rebecca Onion

    Historian Jacqueline Wernimont explains that the rise of quantification helps to obscure the human beings behind the numbers and makes the COVID-19 toll seem more acceptable. 



  • When Plague Is Not a Metaphor

    by Hunter Gardner

    It's not always a blessing when current events make a researcher's specialty suddenly and urgently relevant. 


  • Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year and the Year of COVID-19

    by Frank Palmeri

    Defoe's accomplishment as a work of history lies not so much in the accuracy of its numbers or facts as in its power as a work of fiction, in the observing eye and skeptical intelligence of H.F., and in the stories he tells, which convey through common language and the details of common life what it was like to live through the plague. 



  • Shakespeare Wrote His Best Works During a Plague

    by Daniel Pollack-Peltzner

    The most heartening lesson from Shakespeare’s era is that the playhouses will likely survive and reopen, again and again. What plays to perform when they do?



  • The Justinianic Plague's Devastating Impact Was Likely Exaggerated

    by Katherine J. Wu

    After poring through data ranging from historical texts to pollen samples and mortuary archaeology, an international team of researchers has concluded that reports of the havoc wreaked by the Justinianic plague may have been exaggerated.