Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire and the Birth of Europe

Front Cover
Pimlico, 2008 - 367 pages
"In the middle of the sixth century, the world s smallest organism collided with the world s mightiest empire. With the death of twenty-five million people, the Roman Empire, under her last great emperor, Justinian, was decimated. Before Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that carries bubonic plague, was finished, both the Roman and Persian empires were easy pickings for the armies of Muhammad on their conquering march out of Arabia. In its wake, the plague history s first pandemic marked the transition from the age of Mediterranean empires to the age of European nation-states from antiquity to the medieval world. ustinian s Flea is the story of that collision, a narrative history that weaves together evolutionary microbiology, architecture, military history, geography, rat and flea ecology, jurisprudence, theology, epidemiology, and the economics of the silk trade. The climax of Justinian s Flea the summer of 542, when Constantinople witnessed the death of 5,000 of its citizens every day is revealed through the experiences of the remarkable individuals whose lives are a window onto a remarkable age- Justinian himself, of course, but also his general Belisarius, the greatest

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User Review  - Farree - LibraryThing

I have been putting off reading this since August 15, 2015 (or so), because I wanted a little more coverage of the Roman Empire (and I don't currently have Gibbon in my library). I got that earlier ... Read full review

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User Review  - pbjwelch - LibraryThing

The book's flaws (and successes) have been covered by many former reviewers so let me add just a few notes that may be of interest to someone at some time: For anyone who slept through their world ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

William Rosen was a senior executive at Macmillan and Simon & Schuster publishing houses for more than twenty-five years. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey. Justinian's Fleais his first book.

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