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The Plague of Athens Essay

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The plague of Athens

The Athenian plague was an epidemic that began in the summer of 430 B.C. in Athens—a year after the Peloponnesian war in 431 B.C. It was supposed that the plague was a result of excess number of Athenians within the city walls also known as the long walls—a military strategy by Pericles which consisted of building walls that connected the city to its port . The surplus of Athenians led to a shortage of food, water, an absence of sewage systems, and other important factors were said to have brought about the plague. It first appeared in the south of Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, and later on in the Persian Empire, and Rome before arriving in Athens . The disease attacked the population of Piraeus and then travelled to
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It left the population time to live in crime as they awaited death. The once valued Athenian morals also ceased to existed in that period. The population did not bother to accomplish any of the morally accepted laws. Meaning that since no one would ever be there to acknowledge it or they could ever gain benefits for it, it was normal for some not to complete any. For them, it was considered a waste of time to be morally just because they all would perish. The epidemic left the Athenians incapable of caring for their families who were infected. In Thucydides’ eyes, the most immoral act of all was the fact that they were left to die by loved ones. The plague was highly contagious; the infected showed signs of “ineffectual retching followed, producing violent spasms, […]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 […]”. Due to their symptoms, family members forgot all about their traditionnal obligations and abandoned their families and friends. They basically abandoned all of there loved ones since they were potential threats to their lives. Hence, they could only survive if they had no contact with their loved ones or friends. The dead and infected were therefore voluntarily neglected by their families. Consequently, the bodies
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