Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #yersiniapestis

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Okay, so here are my comments on the new paper in @Nature announcing palaeogenetic identification of the origin of the Black Death. Since this will be a long thread, a few general pointers. 1/n
- BD = Black Death
- Spyrou (unless otherwise specified) = Maria A. Spyrou et al. 2022 study in @Nature (…)
- SNP = single nucleotide polymorphism (to be explained below)
- phylogenetics = study of evolution at the genomic level
Audience: I'm writing with fellow historians & medievalists uppermost in my mind. Many #twitterstorians & #MedievalTwitter followers know a little bit about the transformations in plague history in the past decade. But not everybody has time to keep up on all the details. 3/n
Read 77 tweets
Okay, I've confirmed that the corrected text of the Marmot Supplement has been posted. So I will do a short thread summarizing key points from "The Four Black Deaths" (hereafter, 4BDs). A reminder that the essay+supplement are #OpenAccess until 12/31:…. 1/n
1) the Black Death (= #2ndPlaguePandemic) started in 13thC not 14th
2) wasn't just Mediterranean/Europe
3) originated w/ spillover out of marmot reservoir of plague → Big Bang
4) likely spread thru Mongol Empire via grain supplies
5) we need a rethink of 13thC history 2/n
OK, now for a slightly deeper dive. Why suggest that the Black Death had an earlier origin & wider footprint than we've suspected before? Genetics! Work in the past decade on #YersiniaPestis has transformed what we know about the history of this phenomenally lethal organism. 3/n
Read 10 tweets
Start updating your #BlackDeath lectures, folks! Hannah Barker has just released a pre-print of her eye-popping, paradigm-shifting study: "Laying the Corpses to Rest: Grain, Embargoes, and Yersinia pestis in the Black Sea, 1346-1348,"… #GlobalMiddleAges
I'll be tweeting some significant findings from this paper over the next several days, as we build up to next week's "Mother of All Pandemics" session sponsored by the @MedievalAcademy (…). Today, just fn. 3, on Issyk Kul.
fn. 3: "Since Lake Issyk Kul is located near a plague reservoir, this outbreak may have no causal connection with the Second Pandemic." Okay, so what's Issyk Kul, and what has it ever played any role in #BlackDeath narratives?
Read 21 tweets
Some thoughts about my week of lectures in the UK. I presented on Tuesday at Durham, on Wednesday at Newcastle, & on Thursday at Edinburgh. All three lectures had different themes, but all circled around the common fact that we are in a new era of medical history (#histmed). 1/n
In Durham, my topic was "Are Pandemics Comparable? The Present State of Research in Justinianic Plague and Black Death Studies." For my 2014 volume on the Black Death as a (semi-global) pandemic, I had used the definition of Morens et al. 2009. It still holds now, I think. 2/n
Which means, of course, that contrary to the BBC's headline, we are not in "uncharted territory" in an absolute sense. The work I've been doing the past 12 yrs to develop a new kind of epidemiological history has taken the insights of the field of Emerging Infectious Diseases 3/n
Read 16 tweets
Okay, since @KevinMKruse now seems to have given his imprimatur to this piece in the @washingtonpost today about #nCoV2019 & past plagues, it seems time for a mini-thread about #medhist & hot takes. #epitwitter: you might want to listen in on this, as it effects you, too.
@KevinMKruse @washingtonpost The @washingtonpost piece by Eisenberg et al. makes 3 main points: 1) that the #BlackDeath (the #plague pandemic usually dated to the mid-14thC) is the most commonly invoked analogy when people think of epidemics; 2) that not all "plague" epidemics/pandemics were alike; and 3) ..
@KevinMKruse @washingtonpost ... that there's an "outbreak narrative" that "we replay .. as a script with each new outbreak — whether real or fictional." First, some background on what #histmed (History of Medicine) is: it's probably pretty much as you would assume from its name. The field of history that ..
Read 17 tweets

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