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….
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