Dr Philip Norrie — Disease in Ancient Times: More Lethal than War

Infectious disease in ancient times presented a daily struggle for survival either through avoiding or fighting against epidemics: sepsis or tetanus from a graze; childhood infectious diseases such as whooping cough, diphtheria and measles; infections from contaminated food and water; let alone major infections such as leprosy and tuberculosis or the big two killers – smallpox and bubonic plague.

Plagues, unlike armies, are unpredictable. Because contagions such as bubonic plague or dysentery leave few edifices or easily documented traces, historians have underestimated their devastating effect on ancient civilisations.

According to Dr Philip Norrie, the bottom line is that the fall of all major civilisations was precipitated by major infection.

Join Dr Norrie as he explores the way in which infectious diseases affected the course of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern history, from the bubonic plague and smallpox that helped end the Hittite Empire, the Bronze Age in the Near East and later the Carthaginian Empire, to malaria’s role in the fall of the Roman Empire.

FREE – Everyone Welcome

Bookings have closed. Seats will be available at the door.

Event Details


Thursday, 3 October 2019


6.00pm for 6:30-7:30pm
Light refreshments will be served before the lecture.





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