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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The plague under Marcus Aurelius and the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire of the second century was a superpower that, in relative terms, dominated its world as much as the United States does today. In 166 AD, a plague broke out od pandemic proportions. The pandemic ravaged the entire extent of the Roman Empire, from its eastern frontiers in Iraq to its western frontiers on the Rhine River and Gaul, modern France, and western Germany. The disease is identified most often as smallpox, but it may have been anthrax. The study of bacterial DNA may enable identification of this plague that ravaged the Roman Empire at recurrent intervals for more than 100 years and that had a significant role in the decline and fall of this great superpower.[1]


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