The Plague of Athens

David Hyman, David M. Morens, May C. Chu, Stephen K. Katz, Merle N. Stern, Alexander D. Langmuir, Thomas D. Worthen, Jon Solomon, C. George Ray, Eskild Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


To the Editor: Langmuir et al. are to be congratulated on their analysis of the plague of Athens (October 17 issue).* The article draws attention to one of the fundamental works on Western civilization, which, unfortunately, is too often ignored outside college history courses. However, I wish to raise several points about their interpretation of Athenian history after the disastrous summer of 430 B.C. There is little doubt that the plague had a terrible effect on the populace of Athens. As the death toll mounted, Athenian public-spiritedness diminished, and “lawless extravagance” became common. “Men now coolly ventured on what they….

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-856
Number of pages2
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 27 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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