Thucydides Syndrome

(redirected from The Plague of Athens)
The name given to an epidemic described by Thucydides (460–395 BC), Greek general and author of the History of the Peloponnesian War. The disease decimated Athens' then population of 300,000, and, to some, signalled the end of the classic Greek civilisation. Postulated causes have included smallpox, bubonic plague, scarlet fever, typhus, measles, typhoid fever, ergotism, and influenza complicated by toxin-producing noninvasive staphylococci—i.e., a form of toxic shock syndrome
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The ultimate goals of our study were to clarify whether the plague described in Oedipus Rex could reflect an actual historical event, compare it with the plague of Athens, which was described by the historian Thucydides as occurring not long before the time that Sophocles' work appeared (4), and propose the most likely causative pathogen.
However, Thucydides' correlation of the plague of Athens with the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) (5) gives us the opportunity to state that Sophocles connects this epidemic of Thebes with the plague of Athens and attempts to point out the disastrous effects wars always have.
The first writing of Oedipus Rex most probably took place during the time of the plague of Athens.
The particularity of this reference (4), it seems that Sophocles correlates the epidemic that strikes Thebes with the plague of Athens, which, according to Thucydides, came about as a result of the Peloponnesian War (5).
Bearing in mind the aforementioned observations and the fact no other epidemics were reported in the eastern Mediterranean during the 5th century BC, we posit that the plague described by Sophocles in the tragedy Oedipus Rex has an actual basis in the plague of Athens described by Thucydides in his histories.
A new hypothesis for the cause of the plague of Athens.
Examples include the plague of Athens and the devastating influenza pandemic of 1917-19 that killed more people than the First World War.
He concludes the poem with a vivid description of the plague of Athens, modeled on Thucydides' account.
In her translation of Thucydides' works (6), published in 1991, in the chapter titled Second Invasion of Attica: the Plague of Athens (the original Greek work had no title), Jacqueline de Romilly translated nosos as disease or epidemic.
But was the Plague of Athens a true epidemic, in the modern sense?