An Empire’s Epidemic: DNA Provides Answers to the Sixth-Century Plague

Disease-bearing mice from lower Egypt reached the harbor town of Pelusium in 540 CE. By Thomas H. Maugh IIStaff WriterLos Angeles Times Introduction By the middle of the 6th century, the Emperor Justinian had spread his Byzantine Empire around the rim of the Mediterranean and throughout Europe, laying the groundwork for what he hoped would[…]

Byzantine Art as Propaganda: Justinian and Theodora at Ravenna

Justifications for the propagandizing elements in these mosaics are not difficult. Power on earth was once – and sometimes even now – perceived as a result of power in heaven. The great double mosaic of Justinian and Theodora at San Vitale in Ravenna is a forceful exercise in demonstrating power through art as propaganda, fusing[…]

Justinian’s Plague (541-542 CE)

The outbreak continued to sweep throughout the Mediterranean world for another 225 years, finally disappearing in 750 CE. Introduction During the reign of the emperor Justinian I (527-565 CE), one of the worst outbreaks of the plague took place, claiming the lives of millions of people. The plague arrived in Constantinople in 542 CE, almost[…]