In the wake of the most recent pandemic, it’s important to realize that the political effects of plague have been known and discussed for a long time. Thucydides has something to say about the political effects of the fear and suffering that come from disease. This episode in the history of the Peloponnesian War gives us plenty to think about regarding the destabilizing effects of pandemics, the pressures on and opportunities for politicians, and the fickle nature of the people–they’ll bounce right back even from plague and recommit themselves to imperial domination and mayhem.
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