Untreated (with modern medicines), typhus is fatal in 10-40% of cases. The Plague of Athens was a devastating epidemic that ravaged the city-state of Athens in ancient Greece in 430 B.C.E., during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.E. The disease killed over 30,000 citizens, sailors, and soldiers of Athens—one-quarter to one-third of the Athenian population—including the influential statesman, general, and ruler Pericles. 0000006881 00000 n The Plague of Athens, Michiel Sweerts, c. 1652–1654. The immunity against typhus caused by. Some historical problems. Thucydides (3.87.2) concludes “nothing afflicted the Athenians or impaired their strength more.” He paints a picture of timeless human nature, as panic, defiance, desperation and fatalism set in (2.53). Against the diagnosis of epidemic typhus is the lack of upper respiratory symptoms, particularly the runny nose, sneezing, foul breath, and dry cough. Yet no word of “the plague,” Perhaps some topics were just too painful to joke about. The Athenian general and historian Thucydides left an eye-witness account of this plague and a detailed description to allow … C'est la première observation historique d'une immunité acquise, ce qui a fait dire que Thucydide était le plus brillant observateur et le premier épidémiologiste de tous les temps[24]. They hoped to keep the Spartans at bay while the superior Athenian navy harassed Spartan troop transports and cut off supply lines. In 2013, archaeologist Karen Spence made a strong case for bird flu, but her study ultimately demonstrated that no single disease is a perfect fit for Thucydides’ historical description. Thucydides' description has many features that are consistent with smallpox features, particularly rapid onset, fever, eye involvement, and rash. 0000028711 00000 n The plague of Athens raged for 4 years and resulted in the defeat of Athens. DNA examination of ancient dental pulp incriminates typhoid fever as a probable cause of the Plague of Athens. Outre les problèmes liés à la philologie ou à la paléomicrobiologie, se pose le problème plus général de l'évolution historique des maladies infectieuses, qui ne gardent pas le même aspect au cours des siècles. Five centuries later, even Pericles’ death was blamed by Plutarch on “the plague.” Like today’s conspiratorial claims about the origin of the current COVID-19 virus, we must always be careful of fake news, ancient or modern – whether it is Spartan-poisoned wells (cf. © 2020 Scientific American, a Division of Springer Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. An earlier oracle had stated that "War with the Dorians [Spartans] comes and at the same time death.". Measles now is considered to be a disease of children, because adults have been exposed to measles or have been immunized. A plague, appearing first in Piraeus, swept mercilessly through the confined Athenian population. » (II, LIII). Discover world-changing science. They concluded that disease that killed the Greeks and their military and political leader, Pericles, was typhus. These plagues do not begin on the head, and the upper respiratory symptoms described by Thucydides are not features of the plague. 0000005467 00000 n 0000009801 00000 n In or near the Athenian Agora, John Camp notes (2001), statues were erected to Apollo and Herakles in their role as “Alexikakos” – Averter of Evil. 0000004217 00000 n In the case of Athens, Thucydides writes “the plague” (Anc. L'exemple le plus célèbre se trouve chez Lucrèce : le De rerum natura, resté sûrement inachevé, se termine de façon abrupte par une évocation de cette épidémie (VI, 1138-1286). The petechial or purpuric rashes during the prodromal period precede the subsequent rash of hemorrhagic smallpox. À ces symptômes succédaient l'éternuement et l'enrouement ; peu de temps après la douleur gagnait la poitrine, s'accompagnant d'une toux violente ; quand le mal s'attaquait à l'estomac, il y provoquait des troubles et y déterminait, avec des souffrances aiguës, toutes les sortes d'évacuation de bile auxquelles les médecins ont donné des noms. Le mal, qui commençait par la partie supérieure du corps et qui avait au début son siège dans la tête, gagnait ensuite le corps entier et ceux qui survivaient aux accidents les plus graves en gardaient aux extrémités les traces.