Ah, the sun! The great giver and destroyer of life; oppressive and deadly, illuminating and vital. I like to keep out of its reach. My summer days are whittled away in the shade or in the comforting gloom of a darkened room with my face in a book, anticipating the return of the cold somewhere […]

The sixth century was a time of extreme crisis and extraordinary survival for the Eastern Roman Empire. Justinian I’s reign is the height of this empire. This is his story.

Knowing the history of infectious disease epidemics and pandemics like plague, smallpox, cholera, etc. is important when it comes to understanding whatever new disease comes our way. In this video, I discuss how the plague thwarted Justinian’s efforts to make the Mediterranean a Roman lake again in the middle of the sixth century.