Justinian's Flea by William Rosen
Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

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Synopsis

The epic story of the collision between one of nature?s smallest organisms and history?s mightiest empire

During the golden age of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian reigned over a territory that stretched from Italy to North Africa. It was the zenith of his achievements and the last of them. In 542 AD, the bubonic plague struck. In weeks, the glorious classical world of Justinian had been plunged into the medieval and modern Europe was born.

At its height, five thousand people died every day in Constantinople. Cities were completely depopulated. It was the first pandemic the world had ever known and it left its indelible mark: when the plague finally ended, more than 25 million people were dead. Weaving together history, microbiology, ecology, jurisprudence, theology, and epidemiology, Justinian?s Flea is a unique and sweeping account of the little known event that changed the course of a continent.


 

About William Rosen

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William Rosen, the author of the award-winning history Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe, was an editor and publisher at Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and the Free Press for nearly twenty-five years. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
 
Published May 3, 2007 by Penguin Books. 384 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Professional & Technical, Business & Economics, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Subsequent chapters follow the plague around the Mediterranean and elsewhere, and each time, Rosen smoothly inserts relevant history—of the silk trade, of the rise of Islam, of the Romans in Britain, of the reasons the plague did not find a happy home in the desert.

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The Guardian

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Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire and the Birth of Europe by William Rosen 384pp, Cape, £20 Yersinia pseudotuberculosis was a fairly benign bacterium, causing mild flu-like symptoms, until it happened upon a superior method of transportation: the flea.

May 05 2007 | Read Full Review of Justinian's Flea: Plague, Emp...

Publishers Weekly

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Rosen's new book follows John Barry's The Great Influenza and John Kelly's The Great Mortality.

Mar 12 2007 | Read Full Review of Justinian's Flea: Plague, Emp...

ReviewAtlas.com

The title promises a lot — "Justinian’s Flea, the first great plague and the end of the Roman Empire" — and delivers.

Jan 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Justinian's Flea: Plague, Emp...

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