The Plague of Athens

Posted on May 21, 2020 11:00 am

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A number of comparisons have been made comparing the Wuhan Virus to earlier pandemics. Alongside the 1918 Spanish Flu, the Plague of Athens, which struck the ancient city between 430 BC and 426 BC, has also been evoked. Thucydides described it as a catastrophe “so overwhelming that men not knowing what would happen, became indifferent to every rule of religion or of law”, leading to “the beginnings of a state of unprecedented lawlessness”. Strangely though, despite the horrific symptoms enumerated, including diarrhoea, vomiting and spasms, the people of Athens increasingly indulged in hedonism: “they resolved to spend their money quickly