Justinian's Flea

Justinian's Flea

The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire

Book - 2008
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Penguin Putnam
From the acclaimed author of Miracle Cure and The Third Horseman, the epic story of the collision between one of nature's smallest organisms and history's mightiest empire

During the golden age of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian reigned over a territory that stretched from Italy to North Africa. It was the zenith of his achievements and the last of them. In 542 AD, the bubonic plague struck. In weeks, the glorious classical world of Justinian had been plunged into the medieval and modern Europe was born.

At its height, five thousand people died every day in Constantinople. Cities were completely depopulated. It was the first pandemic the world had ever known and it left its indelible mark: when the plague finally ended, more than 25 million people were dead. Weaving together history, microbiology, ecology, jurisprudence, theology, and epidemiology, Justinian's Flea is a unique and sweeping account of the little known event that changed the course of a continent.

Baker & Taylor
Examines the bubonic plague pandemic that killed 5,000 people a day in Constantinople and nearly ended the life of the emperor Justinian, tracing the outbreak's significant impact on military strategy, economics, and medicine.

& Taylor

Traces the summer 542 bubonic plague pandemic that daily killed five thousand people in Constantinople and nearly ended the life of the emperor Justinian, in an account that reveals how the outbreak had a significant impact on period military strategy, economics, and medicine. Reprint.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2008, 2007.
ISBN: 9780143113812
Branch Call Number: 949.5013 ROS
Characteristics: 367 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.


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Jan 12, 2018

Justinian's Flea is an interesting delve into the social, political, cultural, economic, military and religious life of the sixth century. The author sometimes strays from the central (albeit) broad points at times, but usually ties up his thoughts by the end of the chapter. Each chapter has breaks within, so there are convenient places to pause and reflect.


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Jan 12, 2018

Justiniian's Flea is a substantial political, social, religious, cultural, economic and dynastic history of the sixth century, focusing on the Byzantine empire in Constantinople, but including the various, although more brief, profiles of the dominant cultures of the era. The main premise is the influence of the the Bubonic plague (carried by the fleas of rats, hence the title) on all of these factors. This book highlights the end of the "Roman" era and the shift in power to an emerging Europe, China and later Muslim dominance.

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