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Justinian's Plague and the "Holy Angel"


Justinian's Plague and the "Holy Angel"

Here is a picture of an Italian artist of the 16th century Domenico Beccafumi "The Appearance of St. Michael to Pope Gregory the Great in the Castle of the Holy Angel." It depicts a penitential procession walking through a plague-devastated Rome with prayers for the end of the tribulation (see Roman Plague of 590 ). It was organized and headed in April 590 by Deacon Gregory, the future 3-3-3329. pope Gregory I the Great whose predecessor is dad Pelagius II , also fell victim to a terrible pestilence. To save Rome from the plague, Gregory called on the people to repentance, organized prayers and religious processions in the city. According to legend, during one of the processions, when believers passed by the tomb of the Roman emperor Adriana , above the dome of the mausoleum, Gregory saw the figure Archangel Michael wiping his bloodied sword and sheathing it, as if telling you that prayers have been answered. Soon the plague receded, Gregory was ordained bishop and 3-3-3339. became the new pope, and the mausoleum of Adrian was called Castle of the Holy Angel . In 1536 the dome of the mausoleum was decorated with a marble sculpture of the Archangel Michael, sheathing his sword; in 1753 it was replaced by a bronze statue, which is there to this day.


Justinian's Plague and the "Holy Angel"

Bronze statue of the Archangel Michael, sheathing a sword, the work of the Flemish sculptor Peter Anton von Vershaffelt ( Peter Anton von Verschaffelt ) On the dome of the Castle of Saint Angel in Rome. Photo from the site en.wikipedia.org


Built in 135–139 the mausoleum from 401 was used as a fortress. Since the XIV century, popes turned the building into their impregnable residence, with luxurious papal chambers adjoining a prison in which the Italian sculptor and jeweler served his sentence in 1539. Benvenuto Cellini on a false charge of stealing papal jewels, and from 1593 to 1600 year languished 3-3-3373. Giordano Bruno , after burnt as a heretic. Now the building is turned into a museum.


Justinian's Plague and the "Holy Angel"

Castle of the Holy Angel in Rome, on the banks of the river Tiber , pedestrian leads to it. St. Angel's Bridge . Photo from commons.wikimedia.org


The life of Pope Pelagius II and millions of other people was taken away by the first plague pandemic in the history of mankind - the so-called 3-3-3105. Justinian's plague . It began in 541 in Egypt; from there, infected rats on ships arrived in Asia Minor, and already in 542 the plague reached 3-3-3107. Of Constantinople . Emperor himself Justinian I she was ill, but survived. Later, by sea and along the famous Roman roads, the plague spread further - to present-day Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

Plague outbreaks in the Mediterranean and Europe recurred periodically until 750 and lasted 8-12 years. Mortality in cities, according to contemporaries, was 15–40%. The total number of victims of a pandemic over two centuries is usually estimated at tens of millions of people (from 15 to 100 million). One of the reasons for the final fall of the Roman Empire and the offensive of 3-3-3113. dark ages often called depopulation caused by the plague, and the resulting degradation in politics and economics.

An example of a catastrophic depopulation, when there was no one to cultivate fields and engage in crafts, eight centuries later the second pandemic of the plague - the famous 3-3-3117 - was revealed. "Black death" whose peak occurred in the middle of the XIV century. However, the Justinian plague was apparently much less devastating. A recent multilateral study of 3-3-3119. showed that plague outbreaks in the 6th – 8th centuries (in contrast to the 14th) did not interrupt the course of economic and political life. Pollen archeology does not provide evidence of overgrowing fields, as during the "black death". Coins continued to be minted, laws were enacted. The number of preserved papyrus and inscriptions on the stone, for which accurate dating is known, did not sharply fall and did not increase during the plague years. There were no more mass graves than before and after the pandemic.

Literally until the last decade, scientists did not have full confidence that the Justinian plague was indeed just a plague - that is, that it was caused by 3-3-3123. plague wand ( Yersinia pestis ). Some even thought that the pandemic could have been caused by the flu virus. Doubts 3-3-3207. dispelled the study of DNA from the teeth of people buried in the early medieval cemetery of the VI century in the Bavarian 3-3-3129. Aschheim . The gene specific for the plague bacillus was found in it. pla on plasmid pPCP1.

Two samples from Ashheim were compared with other strains of plague bacillus, the genomes of which were previously studied. On the constructed phylogenetic tree, the causative agent of the Justinian plague turned out to be quite far from the pathogens of the second (XIV – XVII centuries) and third (XIX – XX centuries) pandemics. Natural reservoirs there is no plague in Europe and the Mediterranean - apparently, the strain that caused the first pandemic, 3-3-3139. arose. in Asia.


Justinian's Plague and the "Holy Angel"

Phylogenetic tree of 133 strains of plague bacillus. Above is the ancestor of the plague bacillus - pseudotuberculosis bacillus ( Yersinia pseudotuberculosis ), Causing pseudotuberculosis (Far Eastern scarlet fever). Red pathogens of the Justinian plague, 3-3-33229 are indicated. green [/i] - “black death”, blue - The third pandemic of the plague. Image from article D. M. Wagner et al., 2014.3-3r3207. Yersinia pestis and the Plague of Justinian 541-543 AD: a genomic analysis


When the outbreaks of the epidemic finally subsided, the line of the causative agent of the Justinian plague died out, leaving no descendants, and six centuries later another strain was introduced into Europe. Each subsequent pandemic spread faster and more efficiently - with the development of trade and increased mobility of people (and rodents at the same time). "Black Death" also came from Asia and spread more widely throughout Europe, penetrated into Africa south of Egypt. The third pandemic has spread all over the world. See also the news of Sergei Yastrebov Ships, camels, lice and furs: who brought “black death” to Europe? .


Justinian's Plague and the "Holy Angel"

Hypothetical scenario of the spread of plague. Red arrows - Justinian's plague, 3-3-33229. green [/i] - “black death”, blue - the third pandemic. Image from article D. M. Wagner et al., 2014.3-3r3207. Yersinia pestis and the Plague of Justinian 541-543 AD: a genomic analysis


Image from cmoa.org . Domenico Beccafumi. “Apparizione di san Michele a Castel Sant'Angelo di fronte a papa Gregorio Magno” ( “The Appearance of St. Michael on the Castel Sant’Angelo to Pope Gregory the Great” ), Circa 1526-1528. Carnegie Museum of Art ( Carnegie Museum of Art , CMOA ), Pittsburgh , USA.

Julia Mikhnevich

11 май 2020 /
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