justinian plague

anonymous asked:

Have there ever been any female dictators?

Plenty, although your definition of what defines a dictator might limit who gets on or stays off that list.

There were plenty of female monarchs who held absolute power, but that wasn’t the same thing as a modern dictatorship given the vastly differing cultural contexts of what is power and what is government. Theodora held the regency for the Byzantine Empire while Justinian was down with plague, though she may or may not have been co-emperor (sources differ). Catherine the Great was an autocrat and sole ruler of Russia, but again, the context of power matters. We should probably restrict ourselves to the early modern era or later, and really after enlightened absolutism fell out of fashion.

Best example I can think of for a modern female dictator would be Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled China for 47 years up until 1908, she was a de facto dictator. However, if you want a dictator in the Roman sense of the word, Indira Gandhi ruled as a dictator in India in the 70′s under state of emergency laws. 

Thanks for the question, Anon.

SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King


Yersinia pestis

Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of the systemic invasive infectious disease often referred to as the plague. The Y. pestis is an extremely virulent pathogen that is likely to cause severe illness and death upon infection unless antibiotics are administered. In the past, Y. pestis has caused devastating epidemics during three periods of modern history; the Justinian Plague spread from the Middle East to the Mediterranean during the 6th-8th centuries AD and killed approximately 25% of the population below the Alps region. Perhaps the most famous incidence of any disease was the devastating Black Plague of 8th-14th century Europe that eradicated 25 million people (nearly 25% of the population) and marked the end of the Dark Ages. The third endemic began in 1855 in China and was responsible for millions of deaths.

Plague is a very serious illness, but is treatable with commonly available antibiotics. The earlier a patient seeks medical care and receives treatment that is appropriate for plague, the better their chances are of a full recovery.

Yersinia pestis is a Gram-negative bacillus member of the Enterobacteriaceae family, and is an obligate intracellular pathogen that must be contained within the blood to survive. It is also a fermentative, motile organism that produces a thick anti-phagocytic slime layer in its path. 

Key characteristics: Gram(-), catalase(+), oxidase(-), indole(-), urease(-)

Ancient Plague’s DNA Revived From A 1,500-Year-Old Tooth (NPR)

Scientists have reconstructed the genetic code of a deadly strain of bacteria that caused one of the most deadly pandemics in history nearly 1,500 years ago.

They did it by finding the skeletons of people killed by the plague and extracting DNA from traces of blood inside their teeth.

This plague struck in the year 541, under the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian, so it’s usually called the Justinian plague.

Yersinia pestis and the Plague of Justinian 541–543 AD: a genomic analysis. David M Wagner PhD, Jennifer Klunk BS, et al. The Lancet Infectious Diseases - 28 January 2014. DOI:10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70323-2

Graduate student Jennifer Klunk of McMaster University examines a tooth used to decode the genome of the ancient plague. McMaster University.