[Article] Network theory and the Black death

„Network theory may explain the vulnerability of medieval human settlements to the Black Death pandemic“

by José M. Gómez & Miguel Verdú

Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 43467 (2017), doi:10.1038/srep43467

online unter: nature.com (27.03.2017)

Abstract: „Epidemics can spread across large regions becoming pandemics by flowing along transportation and social networks. Two network attributes, transitivity (when a node is connected to two other nodes that are also directly connected between them) and centrality (the number and intensity of connections with the other nodes in the network), are widely associated with the dynamics of transmission of pathogens. Here we investigate how network centrality and transitivity influence vulnerability to diseases of human populations by examining one of the most devastating pandemic in human history, the fourteenth century plague pandemic called Black Death. We found that, after controlling for the city spatial location and the disease arrival time, cities with higher values of both centrality and transitivity were more severely affected by the plague. A simulation study indicates that this association was due to central cities with high transitivity undergo more exogenous re-infections. Our study provides an easy method to identify hotspots in epidemic networks. Focusing our effort in those vulnerable nodes may save time and resources by improving our ability of controlling deadly epidemics.“ Source

Representation of the network connecting the medieval European and Asian cities through pilgrimage and commercial routes during XIV century.



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Heute: World Tuberculosis Day (24.03.2017)

Information provided by World Health Organization (WHO):

Article Collection provided by ELSEVIER: World TB Day 2017


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„Face of ‚ordinary poor‘ man“

„New facial reconstruction of a man buried in a medieval hospital graveyard discovered underneath a Cambridge college sheds light on how ordinary poor people lived in medieval England. …“

The facial reconstruction of Context 958. Credit: Chris Rynn, University of Dundee

University of Cambridge, Division of Archaeology – Project Website: After the Plague: Health and History in Medieval Cambridge

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Omne Bonum

Omne Bonum is a huge encyclopedia (1360-1375), whose compiler (and scribe), James le Palmer, sought to compile all the knowledge of his time, arranged alphabetically for the use of ‘simple individuals who wish to seek out the precious pearls of learning’. There are 1350 entries arranged under the 23 letters of the medieval Latin alphabet, with each letter comprising a book. Over 750 of these entries are accompanied by historiated initials.“ Source

The whole manuscript: British Library

Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts (British Library): Omne Bonum

Ebrietas (Drunkenness), from Omne Bonum, England, S. E. (London); c. 1360-c. 1375, Royal MS 6 E VII/1, f. 1r

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[Ank.] History of Medicine & Medical Humanities Research Portal

The History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Web Portal is designed to gather resources in medical humanities for students, scholars, physicians, and the general public for learning, exploration, and research. […]

The portal will house a series of thematic modules in six areas, created by students, artists, historians, and colleagues.  Visit us again to see the work as it evolves: 

  • History of the Health Professions
  • Hospitals, Institutions, and Medical Education
  • The Public’s Health
  • Blood, Leeches, and Quacks
  • Arts, Literature, and Ethics

The History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Portal was created in 2016 by the Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine Ellen Amster, History Ph.D. candidate researchers Lauren Goldstein, Katarina Todic, and Nathan Coschi, and Bachelor of Health Sciences student Jinny Lee, with technical assistance from Todd Murray and the Computer Services Unit in the Faculty of Health Sciences.“ (Quelle)

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„Nature Did It…“

Nature Did It: Romans, Ecology and the Global History of Infectious Disease“

October 20, 2016

Lecture Series: What’s New in the Fall of the Roman Empire

Kyle Harper, Professor of Classics and Letters, Senior Vice President and Provost, University of Oklahoma

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Historical Y. pestis Genomes Reveal the European Black Death as the Source of Ancient and Modern Plague Pandemics

Abstract: Ancient DNA analysis has revealed an involvement of the bacterial pathogen Yersinia pestis in several historical pandemics, including the second plague pandemic (Europe, mid-14th century Black Death until the mid-18th century AD). Here we present reconstructed Y. pestis genomes from plague victims of the Black Death and two subsequent historical outbreaks spanning Europe and its vicinity, namely Barcelona, Spain (1300–1420 cal AD), Bolgar City, Russia (1362–1400 AD), and Ellwangen, Germany (1485–1627 cal AD). Our results provide support for (1) a single entry of Y. pestis in Europe during the Black Death, (2) a wave of plague that traveled toward Asia to later become the source population for contemporary worldwide epidemics, and (3) the presence of an historical European plague focus involved in post-Black Death outbreaks that is now likely extinct.
 Citation: Maria A. Spyrou, Rezeda I. Tukhbatova, Michal Feldman, Joanna Drath, Sacha Kacki, Julia Beltrán de Heredia, Susanne Arnold, Airat G. Sitdikov, Dominique Castex, Joachim Wahl, Ilgizar R. Gazimzyanov, Danis K. Nurgaliev, Alexander Herbig, Kirsten I. Bos, Johannes Krause, „Historical Y. pestis Genomes Reveal the European Black Death as the Source of Ancient and Modern Plague Pandemics,“ Cell Host and Microbe 19, no. 6 (8 June 2016), 874–881, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2016.05.012

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Magic, Witches & Devils in the Early Modern World

University of Manchester Library
„Ghosts, witches, sorcerers and demons: our fascination with the supernatural stretches back centuries. Experience how supernatural forces shaped the lives of everyone from kings and queens to clergymen and maidservants.Magic, Witches & Devils in the Early Modern World reveals how magic, diabolical witchcraft, and ghostly encounters inspired fear and curiosity on an unprecedented scale between the 15th and 18th centuries. The exhibition illuminates the roots of our obsession with supernatural power and explores a world where the Devil was understood as a real and present danger in daily life.“

Exhibition booklet and further information

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[Konf.] Kinderhauser Tagung zur Geschichte und Rezeption der Lepra 2016

Am 9. Juli 2016 wird die siebte „Kinderhauser Tagung zur Geschichte und
Rezeption der Lepra“ im Lepra-Museum Münster-Kinderhaus stattfinden. Sie
wird veranstaltet von der Gesellschaft für Leprakunde e.V.

Weitere Informationen zur Veranstaltung unter: HSozKult

Weitere Informationen zum Tagungsort und Lepramuseum: Lepramuseum Münster-Kinderhaus


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Bloodletting for the Soul: Medieval Pastors, Preachers, and Learned Medicine

Dr. Winston E. Black at Assumption College, in Worcester, MA talking about „Bloodletting for the Soul: Medieval Pastors, Preachers, and Learned Medicine“ (17 March 2016).

Video: https://vimeo.com/channels/1045974

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