Skip to comments.Black Death may have scuppered Roman Empire
Posted on 01/28/2014 3:29:18 PM PST by Renfield
hat caused the fall of the Roman Empire? A devastating plague that struck during the reign of Emperor Justinian in 541 AD, killing a quarter of the population, seems to have landed the final blow, but the identity of the infection was a mystery.
Now sequencing of DNA taken from two skeletons buried in Bavaria, Germany, in the 6th century has uncovered the complete genome of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria also blamed for the Black Death that struck Europe in 1348. The find suggests that Y. pestis may have emerged to ravage humanity several times.
Hendrik Poinar at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who led the team that sequenced the German bacteria, also helped sequence Y. pestis bacteria from Londoners killed by the Black Death. He says the new finds don't prove Y. pestis was the sole cause of both plagues, but "make it more likely Yersinia was part of the larger story"...
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
>>Black Death may have scuppered Roman Empire<<
Black Idiocy may well end America.
nothing to do with Rome debasing their currency, letting in hordes of illegals, massive government corruption, loss of any meaning to citizenship, insane taxes/regulations and an out of control oligarchy???
The Eastern (Byzantine) Empire lasted until 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Turks.
The plague of Justinian was a devastating event. But no one thinks the Roman world fell in 541 AD.
Journalists. They know nothing about everything.
While it did not topple the Roman Empire, the plague insured the Dark Ages began very dark indeed.
Very interesting book about the time period, and the possible causes of the Dark Ages. Volcano - Weather - Famine - Plague. All basically inter-linked, but basically starting with a volcano.
Barbarians to Angels is written by archeologist Peter Wells who states that archaeological evidence shows people thriving in areas of the post Western Roman Empire despite what the contemporary texts wrote.
It’s an interesting read.
Pshaw! That was merely coincidentally complementary!
What are you trying to do - ruin the Liberal explanation of "history"?
Shame on you!!!
Interesting that he links population loss in the Arabian Peninsula with the rise of Islam. Quite some catastrophe there.
We have black death in the White Hut.
“Justinian’s Flea” laid out the case of plague pretty well.
But the West fell well before 541. And aguably before 476.
The eastern empire could be said to not have realy fallen until the Russian Revolution.
“Mehmed II and his successors continued to consider themselves heirs to the Roman Empire until the demise of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. They considered that they had simply shifted its religious basis as Constantine had done before. Meanwhile, the Danubian Principalities (whose rulers also considered themselves the heirs of the Eastern Roman Emperors) harboured Orthodox refugees, including some Byzantine nobles.
At his death, the role of the emperor as a patron of Eastern Orthodoxy was claimed by Ivan III, Grand duke of Muscovy. He had married Andreas’ sister, Sophia Paleologue, whose grandson, Ivan IV, would become the first Tsar of Russia (tsar, or czar, meaning caesar, is a term traditionally applied by Slavs to the Byzantine Emperors). Their successors supported the idea that Moscow was the proper heir to Rome and Constantinople. The idea of the Russian Empire as the successive Third Rome was kept alive until its demise with the Russian Revolution.” [Wikipedia]
Exactly - My 8th grade history teacher (Rochester, NY in mid-60s) told us it was the institution of the Dole so those who had no real contributions to make could provide art/music/etc.
I'm sure there are no teachers left in NY State that would dare say that today.
Final blow? Byzantium lasted until 1453!
A devastating plague that struck during the reign of Emperor Justinian in 541 AD, killing a quarter of the population... sequencing of DNA taken from two skeletons buried in Bavaria, Germany, in the 6th century has uncovered the complete genome of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria also blamed for the Black Death that struck Europe in 1348.Thanks Renfield! I agree, colorado tanker -- for one thing, Justinian's reconquest of decent-sized swaths of the already fallen parts of the Empire cost an enormous fortune; for another, the Byzantine era went on for centuries more, hitting its next (and final) peak during the reign of Basil II, and not ending until Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453.
Thanks Snickering Hound. From the poltical standpoint, the western parts of the empire shattered during the 3rd century, but the economic life continued to thrive, and merchants traveled between the schismatic “empires” as before. This went on after the legions vanished in the west. “Dark Ages” Britain shows up in the form of continued occupation of former Roman sites, and these strata contain Byz. pottery and other goods from distant places, which implies their products — whatever they may have been — got bartered for the foreign goods.
Physical Aspects Of The Dark Ages
Let's first look at the onset of "the" Dark Ages in the sixth century AD. The Roman Empire was finished, nothing was happening in the sciences, and worse was happening in nature. The Italian historian Flavius Cassiodorus wrote about conditions that he experienced during the year AD 536 :
"The Sun...seems to have lost its wonted light, and appears of a bluish colour. We marvel to see no shadows of our bodies at noon, to feel the mighty vigour of the Sun's heat wasted into feebleness, and the phenomena which accompany an eclipse prolonged through almost a whole year. We have had a summer without heat. The crops have been chilled by north winds, [and] the rain is denied." Other writers of the time described similar conditions : Procopius : "...during this year a most dread portent took place. For the Sun gave forth its light without brightness...and it seemed exceedingly like the Sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear." Lydus : "The Sun became dim...for nearly the whole year...so that the fruits were killed at an unseasonable time."
Michael the Syrian : "The Sun became dark and its darkness lasted for eighteen months. Each day it shone for about four hours, and still this light was only a feeble shadow...the fruits did not ripen and the wine tasted like sour grapes."
"the Dole"? Which one? :0)
The archaeological evidence shows that the trade transportation housing and manufacturing infrastructure of the western Mediterranean remain intact through the 500’s AD. The coastal towns and cities of Italy and Greece remained intact until the 640’s.
Its always been generally known that the moslem armies destroyed the Mediterranean world on the African side of the Mediterranean in the 640s and Spain a little later. (Just what a significant role they played can’t be appreciated until one visits the Roman ruins in Libya.)What modern archaeology is showing is that the coastal cities of not just Spain but also Italy and to some extent Greece —were destroyed in roughly the +640’s. They don’t have the smoking gun. But its highly likely that Moslem raiders flattened all the coastal towns on the northern Mediterranean shore—and carried off their booty.
That booty sustained the moslem world until about 900 AD.
The Romans did the same thing to the Thracians in the second century—because the Thracians had enormous deposits of gold. My WAG is that the Thracian gold sustained the roman empire for a century or more...or about the same amount of time as the moslems sustained themselves on plundered Mediterranean gold.
A major revelation to me a year or two ago was the answer to the question—where did all the money come from that sustained the world’s first economic bubble. The tulip speculation of Holland in the early 1600’s. The answer is that the money came from Spain-Spanish pieces of eight.. The Spanish in turn pulled the (mostly)silver and gold from mines in Peru and Mexico because of a mining innovation in the 1560’s. That gold and silver sustained the Spanish for a century or two...or about the same length of time as the moslems and the Romans —before the Spanish too went into decline.
But the manufacturing/trading countries continued to flourish.
Because of New World gold, Spain became the premier power in Europe. But, as you say, when the gold ran out, the power declined. The bones were picked over in the War of the Spanish Succession.
I am fascinated by lost civilizations and I find the Byzantine Empire one of the most fascinating. One occasionally finds little windows into the civilization. There is a fascinating display of fabrics from Byzantine Egypt at the Cluny in Paris. Haven’t made it to Istanbul yet, but it’s on my bucket list.
the amazing thing is that they just frittered away all that wealth. they couldn’t figure out a way to reinvest it in a new industries so that spain would not be a one trick pony.
The same crises is going to come to the gulf states in about 15-20 years.
We are in the early years a new energy revolution that’s coming in from all sides. The end result will be that energy prices in 15-20 years are just going to be crushed.
The walls are going to close in on the countries that have lived on oil revenues alone—and have not bothered to diversify.
There’s a bunch of countries in that category. Including Venezuela and Russia and the north African states.
I'm not as critical of Golden Age Spain. Markets were poorly understood then and mercantilism was the economic theory of the day. Even in Western Europe economies were overwhelmingly agricultural. The conventional wisdom how to build a wealthy empire was to accumulate land by conquest or diplomacy. When the money ran out Spain lost its European possessions and limited to the Iberian peninsula Spain didn't have the population or wealth to be a great power.
An alternative path would have been for Spain to follow Britain and use its colonies and navy to build up into a great trading nation. But that would have required Spain to support private enterprise and not just government fleets. It would have had Spain act contrary to the way the Spanish were.
It is remarkable, although I have heard the Saudis have made attempts to create sustainable industries.
something like 90% of their economy is oil related. One rich princes there recently has made headlines by telling the royals publicly that USA fracking revolution poses an existential threat to them.
The problem with oil is that it is so expensive that it has become vulnerable to competing technologies.
I don’t think that USA oil fracking poses a threat to world oil prices because worldwide demand is rising fast and production is declining in many old fields or just barely keeping up. While Iran may add a million or two barrels @ day Iraq’s growing civil war is likely to subtract an equal amount.
For the next couple years, most net production increases will come from the USA and canada
It will be five years at the earliest before any other country gets any volume oil production from fracking oil to the market.
Natural gas however is another matter. there’s a big switch over of trucks and busses in the USA to natural gas. but its coming off a low base and the price of natural gas is rising steadily as demand heats up. And there is a tidal wave of demand for natural gas coming.
I think what will kill the price of oil will be further out in the future. It will take time for it to appear as significant as it is. It will be a combination of natural gas trucks and buses and electric cars. Both are seeing a pretty rapid uptake in the last couple years. But they’re coming off a low base.
Combined with that will be that the price of electricity from alternate sources is falling rapidly.
The saudis may luck out in that if solar keeps falling at current rates in 10-15 years they’ll be able to deslinize entirely with solar power at cheaper rates.
The true safe harbor for the saudis, the gulf arabs and the rest of the middle east and north africa won’t happen until desalination becomes cheap enough for agriculture at competitive world prices.
That’s actually inevitable given current trends. For example you can’t really live on the deserts of the moon and mars until you’ve mastered living off the deserts of the earth. But that’s not the way people are thinking about it. They’re thinking in terms of developing the technologies to live on the deserts of the moon and mars. As an after thought that will enable the world to seriously colonize the world’s deserts. In 30-40 years desalination will be cheap enough for desert farming. But it will come as an after thought.
It could come sooner. But only if desalination became a major world wide priority like green fuels. Currently that’s not the case.
(If the saudis were smart, they would hold something like a worldwide contest where any company that reduced the cost of desalination by $100@acre foot from three desal plants on three oceans would get 1 billion dollars. When the cost of desal had got down to $100@acre foot, they’d hold one last contest to bring the cost of desalination on three oceans to $50@acre foot. The best desal plants do the job for about %700@ acre foot so the total costs of the contests would be about 7 billion. Throw in heavy advertising on 4 continents for 15 years and you might raise costs by another 3 billion. But the result would be well worth the costs. )
In the green fuels category, probably the category killer that rings out the oil age will be some 4th or 5th generation nuclear reactor.
You never know. Stuff comes in from left field.
The last five years have seen two major technological revolutions: one in the oil patch and one in hand held telephones/computers. And dozens of minor ones in all sorts of fields.
There’s no sign that the next 5-10 years won’t have another 2-4 major technological revolutions and a hundred or so minor ones. The obvious one is 3d printing. And maybe advanced robotics. Which will entirely shift the model for manufacturing around the world.
The pace of innovation is picking up.
I have been fascinated by Byzantium myself. I might have hung around longer if it had a stable centralized government.
two quiet competitions right now is taking place between groups interested in 3d printing the first heart
and groups interested in producing the first lftr thorium reactor... which has already been discussed a lot of fr.
The term Dark Ages is an invention of Enlightenment atheists. The Dark Ages weren’t dark at all. A lot was happening, just outside the purview of the Roman State.
Excellent and a similar theme is followed in America 3.0, although the focus is on the Germanic liberty thread that moved through England and then to America.
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