Episode 88: The Fate of Rome Part IV-The Justinianic Plague and the End of Rome
Barbarian incursions are often cited as a primary instigator to the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west in 476 AD. But why were they happening at this time in the first place? Why not some other time? Like many parts of the story of Rome, climate change may hold some of the answers. Meanwhile, the empire was able to survive in the east, with Justinian often getting credit for reconquering western territories. A pyrrhic victory perhaps, as starting in 541 AD, the Justinianic Plague was along for the ride. The first version of bubonic plague to terrorize humanity, the disease wiped out as many as 50 percent(!) of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire. The disease and the fallout from the disease put the final nail in the coffin of Rome, wiping out anything resembling a "Roman" Empire.
This is the final part in a series on how climate and disease contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. It focuses on how climate influenced the end of the Roman Empire, The Plague of Justinian, and the end of Rome. This series is based in large part on Kyle Harper's recent book "The Fate of Roman: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire."
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