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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Spring Blog





Covid19  Stay back save lives

               Stay Back, Stay Home, Save Lives!




As we cope with this dangerous pandemic, the Corona Virus, I hope everyone is staying safely at home, if at all possible. Liz and I are doing our part. We are only going to the store, the pharmacy and getting gasoline (the prices are lower than ever before, but we aren't going anywhere) and little else. Let's try to put this into perspective. Despite the devastating effects, it is having in the USA, and the world, and on people's health and in the loss of jobs, it could be far, far worse. Let's take a look at the Great Antonine Plague.



I am quoting directly from Wikipedia:




The Antonine Plague Antonine-plague 165 AD

                                          Antonine Plague 165 A.D.





"The Antonine Plague of 165 to 180 AD, also known as the Plague of Galen (from the name of the Greek physician living in the Roman Empire who described it), was an ancient pandemic brought to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East. Scholars have suspected it to have been either smallpox or measles, but the true cause remains undetermined. The epidemic may have claimed the life of a Roman emperor, Lucius Verus, who died in 169 C.E and was the co-regent of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose family name, Antoninus, has become associated with the epidemic. The disease broke out again nine years later, according to the Roman historian Dio Cassius (155–235), causing up to 2,000 deaths a day in Rome, one-quarter of those who were affected, giving the disease a mortality rate of about 25%. The total deaths have been estimated at 5 million, and the disease killed as much as one-third of the population in some areas and devastated the Roman army.


Ancient sources agree that the epidemic appeared first during the Roman siege of Seleucia (Mesopotamia, Persia) in the winter of 165–166. Ammianus Marcellinus reports that the plague spread to Gaul and to the legions along the Rhine. Eutropius asserts that a large part of the population died throughout the Empire."


Rafe de Crespigny speculates that the plague may have also broken out in Eastern Han China before 166, given notices of plagues in Chinese records. The plague affected Roman culture and literature and may have severely affected Indo-Roman trade relations in the Indian Ocean.





The Spanish Flu Spanish Flue Hospital Kansas

                               Spanish Flu Emergency Hospital



For an even more modern or closer perspective, we can look at the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1920. In the United States alone, 675,000 people lost their lives, 200,000 in 1918. I can relate to this. One of my great-uncles, Conrad Kiser, was twenty years old when he came down with the flu in 1919. Although he recovered, his mind was never the same. Instead of the mentality of a grown man, he had the mind of a nine-year-old. I remember all of this because as my three brothers and I were growing up, we saw him many times. At Christmas, he would be over at our home and we would let him play with our new Christmas toys. He was in his fifties and like one of the kids.



Again, below, I quote from Wikipedia:



"The Spanish flu (also known as the 1918 flu pandemic) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. Lasting from January 1918 to December 1920, it infected 500 million people – about a quarter of the world's population at the time. The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history."




To maintain morale, World War I censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Newspapers were free to report the epidemic's effects in neutral Spain, such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII, and these stories created a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit. This gave rise to the name of the Spanish flu. Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify with certainty the pandemic's geographic origin, with varying views as to its location.

Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill the very young and the very old, with a higher survival rate for those in between, but the Spanish flu pandemic resulted in a higher than expected mortality rate for young adults. Scientists offer several possible explanations for the high mortality rate of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Some analyses have shown the virus to be particularly deadly because it triggers a cytokine storm, which ravages the stronger immune system of young adults. In contrast, a 2007 analysis of medical journals from the period of the pandemic found that the viral infection was no more aggressive than previous influenza strains. Instead, malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps and hospitals, and poor hygiene promoted bacterial superinfection. This superinfection killed most of the victims, typically after a somewhat prolonged death bed.


The Spanish flu was the first of two pandemics caused by the H1N1 influenza virus; the second was the swine flu in 2009.





Book Cancellations Barnes & Noble Eastside 

                                        Barnes & Noble Eastside




Needless to say, my book signings from March 21st through May 2nd have been canceled at Barnes & Noble and Aunties Bookstores. Those will have to be re-arranged for future dates. I still have signings in Mid-May and early June, I hope those will not be scratched. All I can do is roll with the punches.





The Emperor's Hand - A Work in Progress Roman London street scene

                                                                          Roman London Street Scene




The work continues on Book Six of the Britannia Romanus series in which the main protagonist, Macha (The Sign of the Eagle) returns to her country, Britannia, with her Roman husband, Titus. He is a military tribune in the Praetorian Guard sent to Britannia to investigate a series of murders. Before the investigation can be conducted, Macha is kidnapped by Britons set on rebelling against the Romans and proclaiming her a tribal queen. Her father was Caratcus the Catuvellaunian King who fought the Romans for eight years after they invaded Britannia in 43 A.D. I won't give anything away except to say I am developing the characters and the plot further than I had expected. My publisher is also after me to complete this as soon as possible. This will take several more months. Stay tuned.






A Piece of Roman Engineering  Roman bridge Pons Aelius 134 AD

                                                                   Roman Bridge






"Bridges were a specialty of Roman engineers and many of their bridges are still in use today, two millennia later. Roman bridges can be found throughout the Mediterranean region. The city of Rome has several examples, of which the Milvian Bridge is only one. Perhaps the most famous is the Pons Aelius (Ponte Sant’Angelo) which connects Vatican City and Rome. The current structure was raised by Emperor Hadrian in A.D. 134." www.chi-rhogroup.com





That is all for now. Please stay safe. Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!






-Jess Steven Hughes





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