Thursday, 23 May 2013

Plague Helped Bring Down Roman Empire

image credit: Jani Niemenmaa cc

The plague may have helped finish off the Roman Empire, researchers now reveal. The plague is a fatal disease so infamous that it has become synonymous with any dangerous, widespread contagion.

Scientists investigated ancient DNA from the teeth of 19 different sixth-century skeletons from a medieval graveyard in Bavaria, Germany, of people who apparently succumbed to the Justinianic plague, named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. The Justinianic plague killed more than 100 million people. Some historians have suggested it contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire.

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