Indeed, the most powerful empire of its time was utterly helpless in the face of this invisible killer. Presenting the life of the influential Roman doctor Galen (ca. The wearing of lucky charms was also common – and recommended by doctors. Modern epidemiologists have largely agreed based on this description that the disease was probably smallpox. And in a book purported about the “Antonine” plague, more space is dedicated to the “Plague of Cyprian,” which broke out in the next century, in 249. Plague is a serious bacterial infection that's transmitted primarily by fleas. Referred to as the Antonine Plague(after emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus), this epidemic did what hordes of roving armies could not. The disease was first cited during the reign of the last of the Five Good Emperors, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, in 165 or 166 A.D. When we talk about ''the'' plague, we're usually talking about the one that killed off millions of Europeans in the medieval era. The point of origin for Justinian’s plague was Egypt. Then, learn about history’s most infamous plague and why it’s been tormenting humanity for way longer than we thought. Unfortunately, the Antonine Plague was only the first of three pandemics to destroy the Roman Empire. One plague, the Antonine Plague, occurred from around 165 A.D. to around 180 A.D. A presentation on the economic, religious, and political consequences of the Plague of Galen. It is hard to say which disease the Antonine Plague really was. Believed to have emerged in … Two historic plagues ravaged the Roman Empire: the Antonine Plague (165-180 A.D.) and the Cyprian Plague (249-262 A.D.). answer! The Plague of Justinian or Justinianic Plague (541–549 AD) was the beginning of the first plague pandemic, the first Old World pandemic of plague, the contagious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Afflicted persons were often covered in pustules or boils. The Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea (500-565 CE) identified the beginning of the plague in Pelusium on the Nile River’s northern and eastern shores. When the plague broke out in Bombay in colonial India in 1893, in the Nowroji Hill district, a Goan doctor called Acacio Viegas was the first to identify the disease as bubonic plague. The Plague of Justinian arrived in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in 541 CE. Galen also observed victims suffer from fever, diarrhea, a sore throat, and pustular patches all over their skin. Antonine Plague — 165 A.D. the Plague of Rome engraving by Levasseur after Jules-Elie Delaunay This plague is known to have emerged in the Hunnic … During a siege of the city of Seleucia in modern-day Iraq, Roman troops began to take note of a disease among the locals and then its own soldiers. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree, Get access to this video and our entire Q&A library. He was in Rome when the plague reached there in 166 A.D., although According to Wendy Orent, author of Plague, the disease spread in two … We are pleased to announce that ISAW will be launching its first virtual exhibition this coming February, The Empire’s Physician: Galen and Medicine in the Roman World. “The plague descended as never before...we survived with diﬃ culty over a long time, and many died”, he wrote. Two more would follow, devastating the economy and army. Others experienced red and black papules on the skin, foul breath, and black diarrhea. At the height of the Antonine Plague, up to 3,000 ancient Romans dropped dead every single day. Plague-ridden fleas hitched a ride on the black rats that snac… Others died within two weeks of first presenting symptoms. Greek physician Galen described the symptoms of the Antonine plague in his Methodus Medendi, but it is unknown if he offered any kind of treatment.... Our experts can answer your tough homework and study questions. How many people did Antonine Plague kill? Scholars have suspected it to have been either smallpox or measles. After learning about the Antonine Plague of Ancient Rome, explore the terrifying but necessary job of a medieval plague doctor. The Antonine Plague begat a shortage in the workforce and a stagnant economy. By the end of the outbreak in 180 A.D., close to a third of the empire in some areas, and a total of five million people, had died. I mentioned all of this to a former fellow Amazon reviewer, and his assessment was: “Sounds like a bunch of graduate student papers bundled together.” Originating in China and northeast India, the plague (Yersinia pestis) was carried to the Great Lakes region of Africa via overland and sea trade routes. Even though how the pandemic began remains unknown, one Greek physician named Galen managed to document the outbreak itself in startling detail. Become a Study.com member to unlock this The three greatest plagues were Antonine Plague, due to the name of the Roman emperor in power at the time, 165–180AD, which had a mortality rate of about 30% of population Europe, Western Asia, Northern Africa. This Roman coin commemorated the victories of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus during the Marcomannic Wars, which lasted from 166 to 180 A.D. — the year he died. Christianity, however, actually garnered popularity during this crisis. The Plague of Galen also heavily impacted Rome’s military, which then consisted of around 150,000 men. The Antonine plague and the ‘third-century crisis’ By: Christer Bruun Pages: 201–217 (17 total) It nearl… As my teacher, the philosopher Eudemus, suffered They consequently carried that disease with them to Gaul and further legions stationed along the Rhine river, effectively spreading the plague across the empire. Coronavirus will rival 9/11 in being the most pivotal event this century (thus far of course). The Antonine Plague, as it came to be known, would reach every corner of the empire and is what most likely claimed the life of Lucius Verrus himself in 169—and possibly that of his co-emperor Marcus Aurelius in 180. Galen ﬁ rst encountered the plague at Aquileia in northern Italy, where he had been summoned by the emperors to treat the army that was being gathered for a campaign in the north. © copyright 2003-2021 Study.com. When … Services, The Antonine Plague: History, Start, Spread & Facts, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. The Antonine plague holds an important place in the history of medicine because of its association with Galen. Instead of writing about disease and the level of medical expertise at the time of the “five good Emperors,” the reader is mainly treated to various religious movements within the empire at … It was a big deal. Around 165 CE, a mysterious disease broke out across the Roman Empire. Army units lived in tight quarters, whether tents or barracks, and while … In the next 3 years, most of the population was infected, and perhaps as many as 75,000 to 100,000 The plague had a mortality rate of 25 percent and survivors developed immunity to it. The plague of Athens from 430 to 426 BC, Antonine Plague in Italian peninsula from 165 to 180 AD and Plague of Justinian in the Mediterranean area from 541 to 750 AD are a few of the earliest pandemic illnesses reported across The Antonine Plague (165-180 A.D.) killed an estimated 60- to 70-million people when smallpox swept through the Roman Empire. Ugh! It was the height of the Roman Empire. the terrifying but necessary job of a medieval plague doctor, history’s most infamous plague and why it’s been tormenting humanity for way longer than we thought. All rights reserved. Christians were among the few willing to take in those suffering from or left destitute by the plague. Ironically, it was the empire’s expansive reach and efficient trade routes that facilitated the spread of the plague. In the end, the Antonine Plague was only a predecessor of two more pandemics — and the demise of the biggest empire the world had ever seen. The Antonine Plague and the decline of the Roman Empire Sabbatani Sergio, Fiorino Sirio The Antonine Plague, which flared up during the reign of Marcus Aurelius from 165 AD and continued under the rule of his son Commodus, played such a major role that the pathocenosis in the Ancient World was changed. The Black Death was an infamous plague causing an estimated 20 million deaths in Europe. It was thought that the Romans were being punished by the Gods for violating an oath they’d made not to pillage the city of Seleucia. Of the millions that the plague claimed, one of the most famous was co-Emperor Lucius Verus, who ruled beside Emperor Antoninus in 169 A.D. Killing at its peak as many as 2,000 people per day in the city of Rome, the Antonine Plague devastated the Roman Empire during the 2nd century The Antonine Plague, also known as the Plague of Galen, was an ancient pandemic that devastated the Roman Empire between 165 and 180 CE. There is one ancient legend that attempts to describe how the Antonine Plague first infected the Romans. However, it was not the only epidemic to reshape European history. Galen first encountered the plague at Aquileia in northern Italy, where he had been summoned by the emperors to treat the army that was being gathered for a campaign in the north. The Antonine Plague rendered the empire of Ancient Rome a kind of Hell. It struck the Roman Empire during the co-rule of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161-180 CE) and Ambroise Pare, a physician, introduced new methods for treating gunshot wounds – but he still believed that a lucky charm would keep away the plague. - Definition & Examples, Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Cells: Similarities and Differences, Post-Civil War U.S. History: Help and Review, American History Since 1865: Tutoring Solution, Post-Civil War American History: Homework Help, Prentice Hall World History Connections to Today, The Modern Era: Online Textbook Help, Glencoe World History: Online Textbook Help, Important People in World History Study Guide, Glencoe The American Journey: Online Textbook Help, Praxis World & U.S. History - Content Knowledge (5941): Practice & Study Guide, ILTS Social Science - History (246): Test Practice and Study Guide, SAT Subject Test World History: Practice and Study Guide, Biological and Biomedical Christianity was thus able to emerge as the singular and official faith of the empire following the plague. His treatise, Methodus Medendi, described the pandemic as great, lengthy, and extraordinarily distressing. Eight centuries Well-connected and overcrowded cities once hailed as the epitome of culture quickly became the epicenters for disease transmission. Wars, invasions, and even plagues ran rampant throughout its time. Nearly ten percent of the empire perished this way. How Conman Jeff Lowe Swindled Notorious Big Cat Wrangler Joe Exotic Out Of Everything, NASA Just Funded A Plan To Build A Massive Telescope On The Far Side Of The Moon, What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch. “In those places where it was not ulcerated, the exanthem was rough and scabby and fell away like some husk and hence all became healthy,” M.L. The legend proposed that Lucius Verus — a Roman general and later the co-emperor to Marcus Aurelius — opened a tomb during the siege of Seleucia and unwittingly liberated the disease. The Antonine Plague, which flared up during the reign of Marcus Aurelius from 165 AD and continued under the rule of his son Commodus, played such a major role that the pathocenosis in the Ancient World was changed. A pandemic followed soldiers returning home from campaigns in the Middle East. An 1820 portrait of Galen, the Greek physician who documented the Antonine Plague. The Antonine Plague killed up to 3,000 ancient Romans per day during the reign of Marcus Aurelius from about 165-180 A.D., but its underlying cause remains unknown. In AD 165 a plague hit the Roman Empire which by AD 180 had killed thirty percent of the population. This untrained army then later fell victim to Germanic tribes who were able to cross the Rhine river for the first time in over two centuries. Galen had first hand knowledge of the disease. Learn more about it in this article. These legionaries caught the disease from their peers returning from the East and their resultant deaths caused a massive shortage in Rome’s military. Create your account. The type of Because of this connection, it is speculated that the Antonine Plague may have originated from the country in Asia. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. With the economy in trouble and foreign aggressors taking hold, financially maintaining the empire became a serious issue — if not impossible. The organism is transmitted to humans who are bitten by fleas that have fed on infected rodents or by humans handling infected animals.Known as the Black Death during medieval times, today plague occurs in fewer than 5,000 people a year worldwide. What were the symptoms of the Antonine Plague? Its spread and impact is disputed, but it does give an insight into a … He passed legislation subsidizing the cost of funerals to keep bodies from piling up in the streets. and R.J. Littman wrote in The American Journal of Philology of the disease. Galen (top center) and a group of physicians in an image from the sixth-century Greek-Byzantine medical manuscript, Vienna Dioscurides. P1: JZP 0521846390pre CUFX041/Little 0521 84639 0 printer: cupusbw October 20, 2006 10:47 Plague and the End of Antiquity Plague was a key factor in the waning of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Marco Margaritoff is a Staff Writer at All That's Interesting. The Antonine Plague Claimed 5 Million Ancient Romans — And Scientists Still Don’t Know Its Origin. “The plague descended as never before…we survived with difficulty over a long time, and many died”, he wrote. Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal As people from high classes fell to lower ones, the nation experienced collective anxiety about their own stations. The Antonine Plague of 165 to 180 AD, also known as the Plague of Galen (after Galen, the physician who described it), was an ancient pandemic brought to the Roman Empire by troops who were returning from campaigns in the Near East. Roman Plague: The Roman Empire had its fair share of problems. The emperor, meanwhile, blamed Christians for the pandemic, as they supposedly failed to praise the Gods and subsequently enraged them enough to unleash the disease. The organism that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, lives in small rodents found most commonly in rural and semirural areas of Africa, Asia and the United States. When the army was short on recruits, he conscripted gladiators. Meanwhile, the ancient doctor Galen had been away from Rome for two years, and when he returned in 168 A.D., the city was in ruin. In 430 BC, a plague struck the city of Athens, which was then under siege by Sparta during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). Floundering trade meant fewer taxes to support the state. Victims suffered for two weeks from fever, vomiting, thirstiness, coughing, and a swollen throat. Wikimedia CommonsBoth Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (represented here in a bust from France’s Musée Saint-Raymond) and his co-emperor Lucius Verus may have died from the plague. The Antonine Plague, which may have been smallpox, laid waste to the army and may have killed over 5 million people in the Roman empire, wrote April Pudsey, a … Though modern epidemiologists haven’t identified where the plague originated, it is believed that the disease likely developed first in China and was then carried throughout Euroasia by the Roman troops. His vociferous campaign to clean up the slums and kill rats prompted the colonial authorities to call in scientific experts, including Waldemar Haffkine (1860–1930). Both Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (represented here in a bust from France’s Musée Saint-Raymond) and his co-emperor Lucius Verus may have died from the plague. Wikimedia CommonsGalen (top center) and a group of physicians in an image from the sixth-century Greek-Byzantine medical manuscript, Vienna Dioscurides. Wars, invasions, and even plagues ran rampant throughout its time. Wikimedia CommonsThis Roman coin commemorated the victories of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus during the Marcomannic Wars, which lasted from 166 to 180 A.D. — the year he died. The plagues killed roughly a … Sources largely agree that the disease first appeared in the winter of 165 A.D. to 166 A.D. Nearly 10 percent of the total Roman population had perished by the time the plague was over. It was carried over the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt, a recently conquered land paying tribute to Emperor Justinian in grain. Three of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history were caused by a single bacterium, Yersinia pestis, a fatal infection otherwise known as the plague. The Antonine Plague (165 – c. 180/190 CE) is chronicled primarily by Galen but mentioned by Cassius Dio (l. c. 155 – c. 235 CE) and others. Wikimedia CommonsAn 1820 portrait of Galen, the Greek physician who documented the Antonine Plague. that the Antonine Plague had a mortality rate of 7-10% and killed approximately 3.5-5 million from 165-168 AD. Marcus Aurelius: Contributions & Accomplishments, Roman Civilization: Timeline, Facts & Contributions, The Dark Ages: Definition, History & Timeline, Forms of Government: Monarchy, Democracy, Oligarchy & More, Causes of the First Industrial Revolution: Examples & Summary, Concluding Sentence: Definition, Examples & Starters, The Agricultural Revolution: Timeline, Causes, Inventions & Effects, What Are the Seven Elements of Art? Known as both the Antonine Plague and the Plague of Galen, the pandemic did eventually subside, seemingly as mysteriously as it had come. This was previously unimaginable to those entrenched in Roman exceptionalism. As a result, the emperor recruited anyone healthy enough to fight, but the pool was slim considering so many citizens were dying of the plague themselves. Even so, you don’t need me to tell you that disease is bad, nor that epidemics in the past were worse The Antonine plague pandemic emerged before 155CE in China and then spread westwards along the Silk Road. Freed slaves, gladiators, and criminals joined the military. Some modern epidemiologists also speculate that Emperor Marcus Aurelius himself perished from the disease in 180 A.D. The Roman Empire had its fair share of problems. 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