Plague and the World Order
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william henry harrison

What permanent mark will the COVID-nineteen pandemic leave on the world? Past outbreaks have shattered societies and created new systems. One example is the plague of Justinian in the sixth century. It's named after the Roman emperor Justinian and by the time it was over twenty-five to one hundred million people died.

Historians believe the plague spread along trade and military routes into all of Rome, killing up to half its people. Its economy tanked and with it, its mighty military. It couldn't defend against barbarians in Northern Europe which attacked the western Roman provinces. Then the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate from the Arabian Peninsula conquered Roman territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, and North Africa.

What remained was a region split into three dissimilar civilizations: the Islamic one in the eastern and southern Mediterranean; the Greek one that becomes Byzantium and the European one in the west. An entirely new world order had evolved.

The plague disrupted Rome's secular governments as people sought solace in religion, allowing the Catholic church to fill the void. A new socioeconomic order also rose when the plague left fewer slaves alive giving them power to gain freedom and rewards for their work on owners' lands which laid the groundwork for feudalism. This new world order continues to have an impact today. We're hopeful today's pandemic won't create such drastic results.

For more information…

Justinian's Plague and the Birth of the Medieval World
The Plague of Justinian, named after the Roman emperor who reigned from AD 527-65, arrived in Constantinople in AD 542, almost a year after the disease first made its appearance in the empire's outer provinces. It continued to wash over the Mediterranean world in waves for another 225 years, finally disappearing in AD 755...

Justinian's Plague (541-542 CE)
During the reign of the emperor Justinian I (527-565 CE), one of the worst outbreaks of the plague took place, claiming the lives of millions of people. The plague arrived in Constantinople in 542 CE, almost a year after the disease first made its appearance in the outer provinces of the empire. The outbreak continued to sweep throughout the Mediterranean world for another 225 years, finally disappearing in 750 CE...

Black Death
The Black Death was a devastating global epidemic of bubonic plague that struck Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s...