Tag Archives: Plague of Athens

Ancient Greek plague and coronavirus

Patrick Bell Belfast, Northern Ireland   Plague in an Ancient City by Michael Sweerts, ca 1650. Credit Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Introduction Homer’s Iliad, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, and Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War have been termed “the three earliest, and arguably most influential, representations of the plague in Western narrative.”1 This […]

Bugs and people: when epidemics change history

Salvatore Mangione Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Albrecht Dürer, woodcut, c.1496-8 From left to right, Death (with a trident), Famine (with scales), War (with a sword) and Plague (with the arrows of pestilence) are crushing under their horses’ hooves all those unfortunate enough to stand in their wake. In a […]

Death in ancient times

George Dunea British Medical Journal, Volume 294, 18 April 1987   “Many a physician has slain a king!” the emperor Hadrian shouted aloud as he lay on his deathbed. But Augustus when he was near death gathered his friends to ask if, in the manner of actors, he deserved applause for having played well his […]