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Download Epidemics and Ideas: Essays on the Historical Perception of by Terence Ranger, Paul Slack PDF

By Terence Ranger, Paul Slack

Epidemic illnesses have regularly been a attempt of the power of human societies to resist unexpected shocks. How are such huge mortalities and the affliction of enormous proportions of the inhabitants to be defined and handled? How have the assets of affliction been pointed out and controls imposed? The chapters during this ebook, via stated specialists within the historical past in their classes, examine the ways that the good epidemic illnesses of the past--from classical Athens to the current day--have formed not just our perspectives of drugs and illness, however the ways that humans have outlined the "health" of society regularly phrases.

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40 JAMES LONGRIGG become so indifferent that refugees were not only allowed to squat in the temple, but were even permitted to die there, and, having died, their corpses were left where they lay. Heraclitus's terse dismissal of the due observance of traditional burial rites doubtless caused a considerable frisson amongst his contemporaries and, only a decade before the outbreak of the plague, Sophocles had written a tragedy which turned upon this very point: viz. whether Antigone should follow the unwritten laws of the gods and perform a token burial of her brother, or yield to the tyrant's edict forbidding burial.

His careful description of the symptoms of the plague epitomises both his general historiographical methodology and his historical purpose. Had he applied the same analytical procedures to a purely imagined event of that war, a fiction devised for a purely historiographical purpose (the plague), he would surely have run a grave risk of seriously weakening his proud claim to have written a History which was to be a 'possession for ever'. 10 These two scholars believe that 'Thucydides was the first of extant writers to enunciate clearly In addition to the above arguments it may be noted that Plutarch.

He further informs us that normal burial rites were not observed and the dead were denied a proper funeral. Under stress of the plague, men became disillusioned with conventional religion and rejected with it traditional restraints of law and morality. In effect, the plague served as a catalyst and accelerated the dissemination of those ideas most characteristic of that period of intellectual ferment, the fifth-century Enlightenment.

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