This is SO amazing! There was a cryptic note on Twitter a couple of weeks ago about a presumed-lost plague treatise from 14thC al-Andalus. Today, we get the full details of al-Bilyani's work: ideal.es/culturas/almer…. H/t Cristina Álvarez Millán for this notice. #MedievalTwitter
From Lirola Delgado's summary: "give[n] the title of al-Durr al-maknun fi mas`ala al -taun (The hidden pearl, about the plague epidemic), [i]t consists of five extensive chapters in which it deals particularly with legal issues, insisting on the importance of confinement."
) about how a novice can do a focused "take" on a historical question that's new to them. But I didn't get to the main thread I planned.
The main thread I had planned, in fact, was to cite myself, since it seemed clear that nobody else was going to do so. This is in regard to a blogpost that appeared on 5 June. There, I was "cited" but not read. Here's the blogpost in question: medium.com/@mrambaranolm/….
And here's a cc: to the author, so she can follow along, should she wish: @ISASaxonists. (Note: this thread will take a while to put together, as I want to make sure I get all the receipts. I won't be interrupting to respond to comments now.)
I'm going to do a longer thread today in honor of #CiteBlackWomenSunday. But here's a mini-thread 1st w/ an explanation of my reply to a medievalist colleague @tlecaque in a different conversation. He had recommended that s/o read "all" my works. I said, no, start w/ just a few.
Why just a few? Obviously, there are only so many hours in the day. The last time I counted (which was several years ago), I had already pub'd over 4000 pages of work. Even I couldn't read all that now! But the more important reason is that I have always believed that we build ..
... our historical understandings in layers. We need a basic "skeleton" of hard facts: a sense of chronology, of space, of a kind of "physics" of the real world & its limits (e.g., what kinds of transportation are available). On that skeletal framework we then layer other ...
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 (medievalacademy.org/general/custom…). 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?
@LucyMangan@prof_gabriele@greg_jenner I'll create in a bit a new (short) thread listing the top studies on what we know now about the Black Death. Here, let me respond to two points in the present thread: 1) how historians divide history into "periods"; & 2) "silver linings" interpretations of catastrophes.
@LucyMangan@prof_gabriele@greg_jenner 1) So, did the Black Death end the Middle Ages & usher in the Renaissance? A: it's really hard to get any 2 scholars of the centuries btw ca 1300 & ca 1600 to agree on where to draw the line btw "medieval" & "early modern," or even whether a meaningful line is to be drawn at all.
@LucyMangan@prof_gabriele@greg_jenner So the following answer is just what I do in my own teaching & research. I'm a Europeanist by training & practice, so yes, I think there's a medieval/early modern divide. But more than that, I've moved into #GlobalHistory work the past decade, & that tells me the divide is real.
A note to my followers. I've been seeing & hearing in the people I follow a new tone the past couple of days. "Dread" seems to sum it up best. Since hugging everyone is not now advisable, I wanted to share some thoughts on what is giving me a sense of calm right now. 1/n
I'm a historian, which means it's my job to step outside any historical context & see the "big picture." The big picture I see can be summed up as follows: 1) we knew this was coming; 2) many are behaving as we expected them to behave. The question remains: Now what do we do? 2/n
Saying "We knew this was coming" isn't meant as an "I told you so!" accusation. Rather, it means that lots of really smart people have been thinking about the issue of emerging infectious diseases for several decades. A History read that might offer comfort right now is this: 3/n
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
@emuehlbe Thanks @emuehlbe, for this invitation to revisit my 2009 state-of-the-field essay on Medieval Medicine. Gosh, what led me to write it? First of all, I had been doing synthetic bibliographical work on the topic of ♀'s medicine for 20 years at that point. 1 of my early essays ...
@emuehlbe (journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.108…) had been transformative of my thinking & gotten me hooked on the value of taking the pulse of a field/question. In that 1989 essay, I found that, contrary to common belief (and I had believed it, too), ♀'s health was *not* exclusively ♀'s business ...
@emuehlbe in the Middle Ages. Men wrote books on ♀'s medicine; men owned books on ♀'s medicine; men could be found advising on aspects of ♀ physiology & disease. On the flip side, it was *really* difficult to find evidence of ♀ as medical practitioners. It was even difficult to find
@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 ..