Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

The origins of the Black Death

Just to cheer us all up in the present circumstances, and to inform the historically minded, the Smithsonian Magazine has an article about the latest interpretation of the evidence for the origins of the Black Death of the mid-fourteenth century. This places the spread of the disease back to the Mongol expansion and invasions of the thirteenth century.

Mongolian Man Contracts Bubonic Plague After Eating Marmot Meat

A Mongolian marmot - cute ....or not....?

Image: RojakDaily

** Conspiracy theorists please note - Marmite is not made from marmots. I think....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

> Marmite is _not_ made from marmots. I think...

Perhaps not, but vegemite be .. (groan)

It has recently been suggested, and perhaps even proved (?), that Indo-European tribes who spread from the Russian steppes in all directions starting in around 4000 BC carried with them the bubonic plague.

Having some resistance to it, they were aided in their migrations by inadvertantly decimating indigenous populations who had none, analogous to later settlers bring smallpox to the Americas.

These Indo-Eauropeans were the ancestors of most later inhabitants of Europe, including Germanic and Scandinavian peoples, the Celts, and Greeks and Romans. So, despite the havoc caused by the Black Death, perhaps some residual resistance inherited from earlier times prevented it being even worse!

John Ramsden

( jhnrmsdn@yahoo.co.uk )