The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest. Thucydides, 460–400 B.c. The plague of Athens, 430 to 427 B.c., was perhaps the most disastrous and fateful epidemic of recorded ancient history. It fell upon a city that had in just two generations created or nurtured such basic pursuits of Western culture as philosophy, history, tragedy, comedy, and of course, democracy. Her empire spanned the Aegean Sea and generated enough taxes to finance the magnificent Parthenon. But within three decades Athens had been defeated in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and would never again.
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- General Medicine