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[QUOTE]Originally posted by raybond: [QB] Thucydides description of the epidemic that shook athens Greece in 430 bc and forever changed the course of history. Thucydides himself suffered the illness but survived. He was therefore able to accurately describe the symptoms of the disease within his history of the war. As a rule, however, there was no ostensible cause; but people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath. These symptoms were followed by sneezing and hoarseness, after which the pain soon reached the chest, and produced a hard cough. When it fixed in the stomach, it upset it; and discharges of bile of every kind named by physicians ensued, accompanied by very great distress. In most cases also an ineffectual retching followed, producing violent spasms, which in some cases ceased soon after, in others much later. Externally the body was not very hot to the touch, nor pale in its appearance, but reddish, livid, and breaking out into small pustules and ulcers. But internally it burned so that the patient could not bear to have on him clothing or linen even of the very lightest description; or indeed to be otherwise than stark naked. What they would have liked best would have been to throw themselves into cold water; as indeed was done by some of the neglected sick, who plunged into the rain-tanks in their agonies of unquenchable thirst; though it made no difference whether they drank little or much. Besides this, the miserable feeling of not being able to rest or sleep never ceased to torment them. The body meanwhile did not waste away so long as the distemper was at its height, but held out to a marvel against its ravages; so that when they succumbed, as in most cases, on the seventh or eighth day to the internal inflammation, they had still some strength in them. But if they passed this stage, and the disease descended further into the bowels, inducing a violent ulceration there accompanied by severe diarrhea, this brought on a weakness which was generally fatal. For the disorder first settled in the head, ran its course from thence through the whole of the body, and even where it did not prove mortal, it still left its mark on the extremities; for it settled in the privy parts, the fingers and the toes, and many escaped with the loss of these, some too with that of their eyes. Others again were seized with an entire loss of memory on their first recovery, and did not know either themselves or their friends. (trans. R. Crawley, in M. I. Finley's The Viking Portable Greek Historians, pp. 274–75) Titus Lucretius Carus provides a second historical description in his verse treatise on Epicureanism On the Nature of the Universe, the final section of which (bk. 6, lines 1090 ff.) deals with (inter alia) disease. In this he provides a graphic description of the symptoms and effects of the Plague of Athens. Although Lucretius' description generally matches closely that provided by Thucydides, the former identifies a further symptom of the disease, which, he states, accompanies the ulceration, setting in around the eight or ninth day (6.1199–1203): If any thenHad 'scaped the doom of that destruction, yetHim there awaited in the after daysA wasting and a death from ulcers vileAnd black discharges of the belly, or elseThrough the clogged nostrils would there ooze alongMuch fouled blood, oft with an aching head.(Viewed at http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/book-vi-part-04-the-plague-athens/ on 15.11.12) The inclusion of the detail of "black discharge[s] from the belly" (nigra proluvie alvi) and nostrils suggests hemolyzed blood of gastrointestinal tract hemorrhages and is perhaps more suggestive of a Hemorrhagic Fever than Typhus or Typhoid (see Cause of the plague, below). [/QB][/QUOTE]
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