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01-02-2020, 21:01   #1
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Plague and Pestilence

Thucydides' description of the illness that afflicted Athens in the 4thBC, in his Histories of the Peloponnesian War remains the one of the most compelling captured in history.

"As a rule, however, there was no ostensible cause; but people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath. These symptoms were followed by sneezing and hoarseness, after which the pain soon reached the chest, and produced a hard cough. When it fixed in the stomach, it upset it; and discharges of bile of every kind named by physicians ensued, accompanied by very great distress."

Thucydides. The History of the Peloponnesian War (pp. 66-67). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

In "A war like no other", Victor Davis Hanson provides an insight on how this plague weaken the social structure of Athens and distablised its communial solidarity leading to immediate and longterm decline. So in this age of the Coronavirus Virus there might be lessons learn from this and the more recent Spanish flu (100 years past).
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02-02-2020, 09:15   #2
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Presumably the coughing would be one of the first symptoms not one of the last. I wonder did the author purposefully put that as a final stage as the most pertinent symptom for avoidance.

For ordinary people today, we have a great chance against disease. Especially with our economy. People actually have the ability to stay home and avoid contact with others for weeks. Plastic has made it possible to get food direct from the producers hands and only to your own when you yourself are ready to eat.

Even an army though more advanced transport options can be supplied with food away from local sources.

Last edited by Smiles35; 02-02-2020 at 09:33.
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16-03-2020, 12:47   #3
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Are the any good recommendations for reading about the Spanish Flu in Ireland? I was reading Kilkenny in Times of Revolution a month ago but I skipped the section on the Flu as I didn't have much time, regretting that now and dont have the book anymore
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16-03-2020, 21:34   #4
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I don't have a book reference, but I remember asking a relative who had been a young boy at the time. His general impression was of it being turbulent and unsettled times, with the sickness and the social upheavals of the end of one war and the beginning of another.
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16-03-2020, 23:19   #5
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Ida Milne's Stacking the Coffins was extremely well received. I have a copy but think it might be too on the nose for reading right now.
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