This image has been used here at Contagions in various cropped versions as the header and avatar for several years now. I found a couple more related illustrations that are worth sharing and put the illustration in better context. This is an emergency tent hospital erected to handle the epidemic of 1897. It certainly looks different from the outside as you can see below.
Based on the date of this newspaper header (12 Jan 1897), this must be illustrations of a lesser known epidemic in 1896-1897 that occurred between the pandemic of 1890 (Russian flu) and that of 1900.
Another view of the scene in the usual header here.
Just a little update on my reading in August. I’ve been jumping around a bit reading on the history of malaria and wetlands. Lots of interesting bits and pieces!
John Aberth. An Environmental History of the Middle Ages: The Crucible of Nature, 2013.
Gregory of Tours (d. 594): Glory of the Confessors
Gregory of Tours (d. 594): The Life of the Fathers
Looking at what diseases people are seeking cures for primarily at the shrines of the saints.
William McNeill, Plagues and Peoples. 1976.
I reread this book about every ten years, so I’m working my way through it over lunch at work at the present. Odd to reread a book I first read in the late 1980s as a student. Its surprising how well it holds up, but it is now out of date in biology, history and anthropology. It really can’t be used to represent modern views on either infectious disease biology or history. We really need a new, updated edition! Just to give a few examples, HIV hadn’t even been identified in 1976 (as McNeill mentions in the preface of the 1998 edition) and antibiotic resistance and ‘(re)emerging infectious diseases’ were not considered critical problems (although both had begun to appear).
Robert Sallares, Malaria and Rome: A History of Malaria in Ancient Italy. 2002 (in progress)
Standout Papers – (more or less in order they were read)
Couser, J. (2010). The Changing Fortunes of Early Medieval Bavaria to 907 ad. History Compass, 8(4), 330–344. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2009.00671.x
King, G., & Henderson, C. (2013). Living cheek by jowl: The pathoecology of medieval York. Quaternary International, xxx, 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.07.032
Förster, F., Großmann, R., Hinz, M., Iwe, K., Kinkel, H., Larsen, A., et al. (2013). Towards mutual understanding within interdisciplinary palaeoenvironmental research: An exemplary analysis of the term landscape. Quaternary International, 312(C), 4–11. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.07.045
Rippon, S. (2009). ‘Uncommonly rich and fertile’ or “not very salubrious?” The Perception and Value of Wetland Landscapes. Landscapes, 10(1), 39–60.
Bankoff, G. (2013). The“English Lowlands” and the North Sea Basin System: A History of Shared Risk. Environment and History, 19(1), 3–37.
Justin T. Noetzel. Monster, Demon, Warrior: St Guthlac and the Cultural Landscape of the Anglo-Saxon Fens. Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Volume 45, 2014, pp. 105-131.
O’Sullivan, L., Jardine, A., Cook, A., & Weinstein, P. (2008). Deforestation, mosquitoes, and ancient Rome: Lessons for today. BioScience, 58(8), 756–760.
In recognition that diseases are manifestations of their environment, this session seeks papers that place medieval diseases within their environmental context. Just as a seed must be placed in good soil to grow, infectious disease requires a permissive environment to develop into an epidemic (or epizootic) and an ideal environment to bloom into a pandemic or panzootic. I am open to all manner of studies and disciplines that address these issues.
Examples of acceptable topics:
Historic impacts of epidemics and/or epizootics
Endemic disease in medieval environments
Environmental causes of disease such as malnutrition or industrial pollution related disease
Health effects of human-animal interactions
Archaeological assessments of human health and disease
Landscape alterations intended to improve human or animal health
Ecology of the built environment
Abstracts of no more than 300 words and the Participant Information Form should be sent to Michelle Ziegler at ZieglerM@slu.edu by September 15. Pre-submission queries are welcome.