Unformatted text preview: This same decade witnessed terrible natural disaster. In 542 a plague struck the cities of the Mediterranean basin, affecting all the settled, urban population. Its rate of mortality was staggering--up to 40% of those who contracted it. It may have been the Bubonic Plague, based on a bacillus which infects rats. Indigenous to rodent kingdoms in Central Africa and the China- Tibet border, it rarely spread from these areas given its virulence and need for immense host populations. But when a rodent happened to stow away on a caravan or sea vessel, it did spread. It first appeared in Pelusium in Egypt, then spread in all Mediterranean directions, especially to port cities. After the 541-42 outbreak, Constantinople saw two more plague crises over intervals of fifty years. As many as 10,000 people may have died a day. Justinian himself was near death in of fifty years....
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- Fall '08
- Justinian, lower population densities, North African revolts, Mediterranean Roman core., Balkans. Faithful Belisarius, terrible natural disaster.