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Disease and Despair in Brittany

While outbreaks of bubonic plague and their dreadful death tolls might have been consigned to history and efforts to eradicate coronavirus continue apace, other diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, smallpox, measles and influenza, were once responsible for extraordinary devastation here in Brittany.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, increases in population density, transport infrastructure and mercantile links were all key factors in giving diseases spread by cross-infection between humans the ability to spread far more widely than those seen in previous centuries.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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The first of several deadly outbreaks of cholera that ravaged Brittany in the 19th century was part of a worldwide pandemic that was believed to have started in India in 1826. The seemingly relentless march of this disease westwards saw the French government impose border controls in August 1831 to stop infected people from entering the country. However, the disease reached Paris in March 1832 and the speed which the disease overtook its victims, some dying within a matter of hours, caused widespread panic; some people believed that government agents were deliberately poisoning the drinking fountains.

It seems that the disease first manifested itself in Brittany in May 1832, carried by a master mariner from Toulon who disembarked at Nantes before falling ill near the city of Vannes. Victims of cholera can start to display symptoms between one to five days after infection, so, it is impossible to know how many fellow travellers this diseased sailor infected on his two day journey to the south coast town of Quimper. Suffering from severe vomiting and diarrhoea, the patient was taken openly through the busy streets from his lodgings to the town’s hospice where he died. He was buried the next day and a little of his blood was diluted in water and given to birds to drink to see if they were affected by it. While the birds showed no negative reactions to this bloody concoction, two members of the nursing staff were already displaying symptoms; the first of more than 200 cholera fatalities in Quimper that summer.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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Cholera is essentially a bacterial disease that causes an infection of the small intestine which swiftly leads to fairly brutal diarrhoea (sometimes as much as 10-20 litres or 3-5 gallons per day) and vomiting, resulting in severe dehydration and low blood pressure in the victims. Such acute dehydration shrivels the skin, sinks the eyes and usually turns the skin a shade of blue; the disease is therefore sometimes known as the Blue Death.

The disease is spread mostly by water and food that has been contaminated with human faeces containing the bacteria. At the time, people were at a loss to understand the disease as one side of a street could be hit, while the other was spared and it would be another twenty three years before the English doctor, John Snow, identified waterborne microbes as the culprit (it seems that he did know something after all!).

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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Some contemporary doctors believed cholera to be a contagion, others thought it was due to a miasma; one doctor in Quimper even advised the town in the grip of the epidemic that the disease was not contagious. While the medical establishment strived to understand the disease, two main but contradictory treatments were espoused; one held that cholera overstimulated the body and prescribed cold drinks, blood-letting and opium-laced enemas; the other advocated hot drinks, hot baths infused with vinegar and camphorated alcohol to stimulate the system. Amidst this confusion, charlatans profited by selling miraculous but bogus remedies to the desperate people with little enough to spare.

Unlike childhood diseases, such as measles or influenza, which were mainly only fatal to the elderly, cholera killed as many healthy young adults as any other age group; it is estimated that over 100,000 people died of cholera in France in 1832-34 – a shocking mortality rate of between 25 to 50 per cent – and well over 5000 in Brittany alone. In many towns it was noted that there were often more female than male fatalities, for example, in Morlaix, women represented 65 per cent of cholera deaths. This is likely a reflection of the fact that it was women who traditionally collected the family’s water from the communal fountain; a prospective source of contagion.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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Poor hygienic conditions, lack of adequate sanitation, untended rubbish heaps and poorly sited wells were, in the opinion of many visitors, common features of most Breton cities at the time; all factors which contribute significantly to the spread of cholera. All diseases spread by cross-infection between people gain increasing powers of spread with increasing population density and thus cause the highest mortality rates in urban centres compared to the countryside.

There were further major outbreaks of cholera in France in 1848-50 and again in 1853-54; two epidemics that resulted in some 300,000 deaths across the country. In the latter epidemic, eastern Brittany was particularly badly affected early although it seems that the disease ravaged the region on two fronts; from the east and also from the northern port of Morlaix where it spread to other coastal cities.

The epidemic reached the major Atlantic port of Brest towards the end of 1854 and many people claimed to have seen the source of the disease, ‘the Red Woman’, sowing the plague in the surrounding valleys; harking back to the superstitions of previous centuries regarding the semeurs de peste (plague sowers) who spread the contagion by witchcraft. At the time, knowledge of the nature of epidemic diseases was scant and most Bretons considered the plague and diseases such as cholera as divine punishment for their sins; and responded with prayer, coupled with either penitential acts to redeem God’s favour or with stoic fatalism to accept God’s will.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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The region was again badly hit during an epidemic in 1865, which saw over 2,500 deaths, and only marginally less so by the epidemics of 1873, 1885-86 and 1893. In the fifty years covering these cholera epidemics, progresses in public health and hygiene programmes, improvements to urban planning and sanitation, coupled with advances in medical understanding and technology, greatly increased our ability to organise efficient countermeasures against epidemics.

However, tackling the human cost of such diseases was more problematical, as noted in 1866 by Jean-Baptiste Fonssagrives, Professor at the School of Naval Medicine in Brest: “Among all the chronic diseases that eat away at the social body, misery is certainly one of the most hideous, the most inveterate, perhaps even the least curable”.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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At the beginning of the 19th century smallpox was a major global endemic disease, responsible for the deaths of between 50,000 to 80,000 people in France each year. During 1773–74, Brittany experienced a particularly deadly smallpox epidemic which helped to highlight the importance of inoculation; then a relatively novel practice and pursued with some vigour in Brittany by an Englishman, Simeon Worlock, who had been summoned from Nantes to work in Brest after the death of 600 children in that port.

It is therefore not surprising that France was one of the first nations to fully exploit Jenner’s pioneering work on vaccination; teams of doctors spent decades crossing the country inoculating those willing to receive the vaccine, often struggling against public trepidation and downright hostility.  The vaccination programme quickly succeeded in reducing cases of smallpox across France but this highly infectious disease was particularly virulent in Brittany again in 1871, resulting in about 20,000 deaths. The last outbreak in Brittany was centred on the cities of Brest and Vannes in 1955 and involved almost a hundred cases, of whom 20 patients died.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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It is difficult to neatly define dysentery epidemics as the disease is of great antiquity and was an ever present feature of daily life for our ancestors. The disease is usually the result of a bacterial infection which works its way through the bloodstream to the gut, manifesting itself in abdominal pain, sickness and bloody diarrhoea (up to over one litre or a quart of fluid per hour), leading to extreme dehydration, anaemia and often the poisoning of vital organs by bacterial toxins. Like cholera, the bacteria that causes dysentery is commonly spread by dirty water or foodstuffs having been contaminated with human waste; it is contagious and can be rapidly transmitted from person to person.

The spread of dysentery was facilitated by the rather basic living conditions of the Breton countryside; people and animals typically shared overcrowded dwellings, folks shared boxed beds while the farmyard was rich in dung-heaps and cess pits. In the towns and cities, the health situation was no better; open sewers, streets cluttered with rubbish and foodstuffs’ markets held on busy public roads. All these elements played a part in the rapid transmission of the contagion especially amongst bodies that were generally undernourished.  Although, at the time, it was believed that the disease, like so many others, was caused by lethal miasmas and the main medical treatments, for those that could afford them, were purges, emetics and blood-letting. Those that could not afford the medical professionals trusted to the recuperative power of a few bunches of elderberry.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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It is no exaggeration to say that epidemic dysentery was one of the worst blights to affect Europe and the wider world throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. There were major outbreaks in Brittany in 1639, 1676 and 1719. The disease was widespread in Brittany between 1738 and 1740, the epidemic of the latter year was especially fatal amongst children but there was an even deadlier outbreak in 1741 which claimed well over 30,000 lives; in some Breton towns, the mortality rate was over 45 per cent. There were smaller outbreaks in 1749, 1765 and 1777 but in 1779 Brittany and other parts of western France were ravaged by an outbreak that took some 175,000 lives with over 50,000 dead in Brittany alone.

The disease continued to take its heavy toll throughout the 19th century, with the last notable outbreak recorded here in 1900. Scientists have identified more than 330 strains of the bacteria that cause dysentery but it is worth noting that 99 per cent of strains have now developed a resistance to antibiotics and while dysentery may sound to many of us a disease of the past, it remains a major killer in some parts of the world today.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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Typhus and typhoid fevers were other diseases that ravished the Brittany of yesteryear. The former is a louse-borne disease that thrives on a host’s poor personal hygiene and can survive on its host for some time. A particularly pernicious outbreak of both diseases spread across Brittany in the years 1741-42 and caused an estimated 40,000 deaths; other major epidemics occurred in 1757 and 1779. In 1793-94 an epidemic of typhus in Nantes is estimated to have resulted in the death of 10,000 people.

Many have described typhoid fever as endemic in Brittany by the mid-19th century but focused improvements in public health and basic hygiene, particularly relating to the supply of clean, uncontaminated water and the evacuation of wastewater meant the death tolls from the epidemics of 1874 and 1892-93 were less severe than those seen in earlier years. The western part of Brittany was particularly badly affected due to the disease spreading on account of the fairly itinerant habits of agricultural labourers and mariners and the migrations of people from the countryside to the towns. As an example of how significant such urban movements were, between 1856 and 1911 the population of the arrondissement (administrative region) of Quimper swelled from almost 81,000 to over 204,000.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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Outbreaks of influenza have always left heavy death tolls, particularly amongst the elderly and poorer sections of society but the virulent virus behind the influenza pandemic of 1918-20 caused the most severe pandemic in recent history. This contagious viral infection attacked the respiratory system and was inexplicably most deadly for young adults; it has been suggested that this might be because older people had built-up a degree of immunity as a result of the earlier flu pandemic of 1889-90. Pneumonia or other respiratory complications brought-on by influenza were often the main causes of death. Estimates vary as to the number of deaths caused by the disease but it is believed to have infected a third of the world’s population and killed at least 50 million people; over 240,000 in France alone.

Despite significant advances in medical treatment and care, influenza remains a significant public health issue today with annual seasonal outbreaks affecting between 2-8 million people in France every year, with influenza-related deaths estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 per year.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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It is important to view the epidemics and pandemics noted above within the context of their time; these diseases took root and spread thanks to the circumstances then existing. Generally poor living conditions and hygiene; undernourished bodies less able to fight infection; low degrees of medical knowledge surrounding the nature of bacteria and the transmission of diseases – all conspired to make it an insurmountable task to moderate the impact of a virulent epidemic disease, despite the best efforts of the medical establishment of the time.

Improvements in living standards, town planning, public health, hygiene and sanitation, coupled with massive advances in medical knowledge and technology have helped to greatly reduce the worst ravages of epidemic mortality that were once an accepted part of our ancestors’ lives. Even as late as 1950, the majority of deaths in Europe were due to infectious diseases. Since then, life expectancy has soared and diseases such as polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis, tetanus, whooping cough, smallpox, measles, mumps and rubella have been virtually wiped out. Yet, despite the massive leaps in medicine, infectious diseases have been controlled rather than conquered; they remain a threat that can never be truly extinguished.

Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, epidemic diseases Brittany
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It is still too early to see where the current coronavirus disease pandemic will sit amongst the long history of pandemics; to date, over 160,000 people have died as a result of the disease in France alone and we are, unfortunately, in the midst of yet another rise in infection rates. The disease will eventually be brought under control but its social and economic legacy will likely be as profound as many of the other blights once endured by our ancestors.

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Published by Bon Repos Gites

Enjoying life in Kalon Breizh - the Heart of Brittany.

162 thoughts on “Disease and Despair in Brittany

  1. The erudite knowledge with which you write, make me think that you are a doctor, and if so, congratulations for the excellent narration and presentation. It would be helpful if you could

    Add the names of the painters.

    Joanna

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Many thanks! I am pleased that you found it of interest! Like many of the pioneers whose work we continue to benefit from to this day, Snow came under a lot of criticism from the Establishment of the day, unfortunately. He died so young too!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I am in total agreement with you!! It is rather sad that we often lose sight of how very fortunate we are to have constant access to safe water and a robust healthcare system. Yes, of course, things are not perfect and likely never be but they are things our ancestors would never have dared dream about!

      Liked by 6 people

  2. I recently had to do a little job for the local museum. In doing that, I researched a 19th century ship coming from La Havre to New York. In 1858 it arrived with a ship full of scarlet fever. Everyone on board ship was quarantined until it was over; an entire hospital in New York was given over to the most dire cases.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That sounds an interesting undertaking and I am sure was no little job! 😉
      At that time, scarlet fever was little understood, so, I can quite see how the authorities were concerned! Was that when Ellis Island was the quarantine station or Wards? Thankfully, it is easily treated now but I recall that strains are starting to appear that are resistant to antibiotics! 😦

      Liked by 3 people

  3. As always, your stories are fascinating and filled with great reporting and insight – you have highlighted a dark time in our world history – we finally figured out the health issues surrounding these diseases, but they still exist in certain parts of the world so we have a ways to go!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Many thanks for saying so! I am pleased that you found it of interest! 🙂 Yes, it took time to find the right cures and treatments and some clever folk from back then deserve to be better remembered. Sadly though, you are right, there is still a lot of work to do in eradicating these diseases from all corners of the globe. We just need to get on and do it and, yes, I know that sounds wonderfully naïve but I am a firm believer in hope! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ‘We just need to get on and do it…’

        I don’t find your words naïve wonderfully so, or otherwise… since we as a People, have no difficulty, or qualms in ending the lives of our fellow man… it seems to me, that governments spend more on designing, creating and stockpiling means of destruction, than alleviating the problems thrown at us by nature… and the private sector is more interested in finding ways to enhance the look of an individual, than eradicate what would end the individual…

        Too much of our scientist, are working on the wrong side of right…!
        🇯🇲🏖️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That is a really excellent post and the history of Brittany has such parallels with recent Pandemic. There were plenty of bogus cures going around the States. Not quite snake oil but perhaps worse. We went on a postponed honeymoon to Cavalaire-Sur-Mere in the south of France in 1984. There was a typhoid outbreak in the region and because we were staying at a camping site, the doctor suggested Typhoid shots in our bottoms. It was an incredibly painful journey from England to Provence on a bus…

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you Kerry – I am very glad that you enjoyed the read! I guess we can almost forgive the snake oil sales of the past by convincing ourselves that they knew no better but, sadly, where there is misery there is always some lowlife keen to exploit the situation and make a buck! 😦
      Ouch! But a painful butt was certainly the better option! 😉

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Felipa!! Your comment is much appreciated! We are lucky and we often forget that while waiting for an appointment at the doctors or chasing up the Mutuelle! We have much to be genuinely thankful for. 🙂

      Hope that you are all on the road to recovery?!

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  5. More than a story, this seems to me a beautiful medical report! Well done! I think in every era there is a terrible disease to be defeated. Now we have the covid, but it seems that the camel flu is also on the way. Flu that if not well treated can lead to death.

    Of the series: the smaller they are ( the viruses ) the more lethal they are!

    Good evening and congratulations again 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you! I am pleased that you took the trouble to read it! I agree, there will always be something that nature will throw at us and something that we might all work together to overcome! Camel Flu sounds another that we need to investigate and devote real resources to ASAP!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Of course I read everything, it’s always very interesting. It takes me a while because I have to translate, but it’s so nice to enter another language that is not ours !!!

        So see you soon and good evening!!!!

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  6. Another fascinating post. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Plagues, epidemics and viral outbreaks are Earth’s immune response, as it tries to rid itself of the “human” virus. Despite several hundred years passing, many humans are still pretty laissez faire about how to protect themselves from disease and infection. Hope all is well with you. Allan

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Many thanks indeed Allan – much appreciated!
      I agree with you very much! We have become complacent in our arrogance! I read somewhere that the reason humans now have so many respiratory diseases is because we have the massive population numbers and sheer density of people to support such pathogens. If that is so, then we really need to take a serious look at how we go forward from here!

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      1. Not dull at all! Very informative; especially considering today’s current pandemic. Research into the past often plays a very important role in dealing with problems of today.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you! 🙂 Ha, yes, isn’t it funny how, despite our massive technological advances, we still went through the same stages of group paranoia and distrust of the political and medical establishments!

        Liked by 3 people

  7. As always amazing to read accounts that have always seemed to be in the far past, but Covid brought it home how vulnerable we really are. Your imagery always adds so much to your history…Thank you for putting it all in perspective. Dysentery was one of the worst..Poor people who had no idea how to fight it as they had no idea what caused it. Thank you for taking the time and sharing your knowledge with all your readers.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You are so very welcome! Thank YOU for taking the time to read it! I am glad that you found it interesting! I think distance is the only thing that gives such horrible events perspective! At the time, every one tried the best they could and I am sure that will be history’s judgement on us and the coronavirus!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This was a fascinating read and an interesting look back at how we’ve evolved. In terms of medicine we have but I also think there’s so much still unknown and that we need to learn. I think the human body is capable of so much self healing that we simply can’t fathom. But there’s no doubt that we’re also so blessed in many ways. Thanks for a great write up.

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  9. Oh, as much as I was interested in reading all these statistics for endemic diseases and illnesses throughout the years in Brittany, I should perhaps have waited until I am testing negative for Covid. Your post is salient reminder that people have always been affected, and infected by so many virulent diseases. I feel fortunate to have access to good medical treatments and clean water, and know that I shall recover. Thank you for the post.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You are very welcome! Thank YOU for taking the time to read it! 🙂 I think that, in may parts of the world, we have simply forgotten what it was like to live with deadly diseases. The generations that did are almost all passed. Even tuberculosis is a faint memory. We really have come on a long way in the last hundred years!
      Hope that your covid result is negative!! Stay well! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks! I am glad you enjoyed it! I guess it is human nature that we forget things so quickly. Weirdly, some of the more unpalatable aspects of our history we refuse to forget and carry on with the same bad ways! We are a peculiar species!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. The lesson would seem to be that people ought to avoid crowding and dirt but humans are social creatures and also prolific. When I see the numbers of people who died in epidemics/famine/war I always wonder where would the planet be if our numbers had not been so reduced. Medical science has accomplished so much but I wonder if increasing our longevity is really such a gift. How many older people spend their last years alone? I am 74 and am fortunate to have a younger companion at the moment but it is not something I take for granted. I admit to being grateful to have had the benefit of anesthesia on numerous occasions. I cannot imagine the pain people endured in the past.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, it is a real quandary isn’t it? Industrialisation and free movement helped many diseases to spread like never before but the same factors also contributed to us finding effective cures.
      The numbers of fatalities from endemic and pandemic diseases always strikes me hard. It seems that every family would have been affected in some direct way and all this in a time when infant/maternal mortality rates were high and life expectancy low! And yes, despite all, people fought on and thrived.
      As you say, the doubling of life expectancy in some parts over the last century has been a double edged sword – people are living longer but is the ‘quality’ similarly extended.

      Like

  11. Such an enlightening text, disease was rampant with little real medical knowledge on how to reduce the spread and often extreme and drastic measures were resorted to out of fear. Recently ( and presently) we are experiencing the true meaning of the spread of a new disease (Covid). Fortunately we have advanced scientific methods to save lives. I can’t imagine the dread prior to understanding how these deadly diseases proliferate and no real treatments. Thank you for another interesting and informative article Colin. 😊

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Many thanks Holly! I am pleased that you found it of interest! You are right, we can be in terror of nature remining us of our fragility but we have instant communication and advanced medical technology on a global scale! Back then, it must have been truly terrifying and that kinda makes the people’s superstitious nature more understandable!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. So inspiring post Disease and despair in Brittany 🌷🙏👍🏻 The whole life of people have been a mixture of health and sickness want to barely survived , small pox sick get means our home remedy neem leaves grind nicely and apply
    body all and for this sick eyes protection the onions and small jeera crushed , put one towel squeeze take water and apply our eyes and praying only , now got vaccinations 👍🏻♥️my young age my grandma was so talented lady 👍🏻😊
    Jaundice also pomegranate skin and goat milk grind give to drink 🍹 so many home treatment have 👍🏻😊
    But 2020 and 2021 whole world so frightened and deeply saddened by COVID 19 deadly virus , still it is among us 😞
    We must be so careful and clean home as well to get rid of this , I’m so glad and thank you for sharing 🌷🙏♥️🌷
    Happy weekend 👏✨

    Liked by 4 people

    1. No, thank YOU for taking the time to read it and to provide such wonderful insights into the herbal remedies of your grandma’s day! Vaccinations certainly but let us also give scientific time to analyse the efficacy of the old remedies too! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  13. The pox was thought to be eradicated, so during the 70’s they discontinued vaccinations. Right now it makes a reappearance and only those born before 1970 have immunity. And not many western people give Ebola much of a thought, somehow irrationally believing that it will remain contained to Africa in all eternity. Corona has a mortality rate of 2 %: Ebola has one of 50 %. There exists no cure or vaccine.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I did not realise that about smallpox! It seems another example them of humanity thinking that nature has been bested only for nature to smack us for our complacency!
      Those mortality rates for Ebola are staggering! We have so very much still to do to make our planet safe for its inhabitants! I pray that mindsets change and we start to devote our resources appropriately!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It´s not the smallpox, but something called the monkeypox. On 23 July 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern with more than 53,000 reported cases in 75 countries and territories. However, smallpox vaccines seem to offer some degree of a protection.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Ha, ha! Yeah, I could guess that you might do so… my friend [=φίλε μου]! Greek is not that difficult, you know, as many want to make it look like; it’s no more difficult than any other language in the world, except maybe Chinese or Maya’s language! [wherein many linguists said there’ve been the letter E in some of their scant scripts left, many years after their first communicative code which was shaped with the known ”knots”, of course. If one start learning accurately a language from scratch and near a good teacher, nothing is really difficult, for me at least. Greetings, have a good rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is a good example of what happens when information is destroyed. There existed in ancient Egypt a place called the Library of the Pharaohs. Long predating the Library of Alexander. All the ancient world scholars studied there and many even contributed to it. It was said to have had millions of scrolls on nearly every subject known to man. It spoke of how to successfully treat many different types of illness such the Black Death, cancer, and even cholera but Alexander the Not-So-Great destroyed all that. Plunging the world into a dark age that lasted 2,000.

    But of course, Western history as we know it, started by the Romans say it never existed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have heard of the Alexandria Library but not the Library of the Pharaohs. Was that also in the same city or elsewhere? Sounds as wonderful as the later library. Fascinating to consider what might have been lost! Coincidentally, Alexandria was, for a time, one of my favourite cities!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m not surprise, most people aren’t familiar with the Library of the Pharaohs, although people like Alexander himself studies there. It was like Harvard is to America. It was the first world’s university.

        Rhakotis was the original name of the city that was conquered and renamed Alexandria.
        The story goes that the viziers sent him back to his father, King Phillip of Macedonia saying, although he’s a prince, we can’t teach him anything. Unlike his father, he didn’t possess the scholar gene. He was too war-like for their taste. They even went as far to say he wasn’t Phillip’s son, he was actually a son of Ares. Ares must have impersonated Phillip to get to the queen. I don’t know about all that, but apparently, the same men who taught his father saw something vastly different in Alexander from which they knew Phillip to be like. Their suspicion about him prove to be true.

        But the proof of it once existing is in the modern Library in Cairo. It has remnants of the ancient scrolls that the viziers managed to save. Part of it was in Luxor, the other part was where the Library of Alexander was built.

        It’s very sad how much information was loss to the whole world because of one egoistic manic.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks! I am pleased that you enjoyed it!
      Agreed, they really did – constant work, little food and the prospect of fatal disease hanging over you, no wonder they relied so heavily on religion and superstition!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ahhh… infectious diseases 🦠

    How nature controls population and survival/hardiness of species

    Also in todays day and age of travel and being able to go anywhere spreads these diseases like Covid very easily

    In the America’s when explorers first came here – they brought all kinds of diseases and sickness that Native Americans were not accustomed to or familiar with …killed many with disease and sickness alone

    Proper hygiene is a thing, as well as, good health care access and clean/good living conditions

    Thankfully everyday medical advancements happen … but not always as fast as we want it to

    We never learn lessons though so all these things will always plague humanity

    I don’t know that we would ever be invincible – but ahhh …remember believing that in your teens and 20’s? Lol ❤️

    Hopefully we be smarter and get better at protecting selves and understanding how these diseases and sicknesses work and occur

    Hopefully the next time we are not all just clueless and terrified 🫤

    Ps … we should commemorate with maybe a week in March to remember the ravage-ness of infectious diseases ?? Inform and educate – or just do nothing for a week so we remember and speak of what can happen lol 😘✌️

    Week in March 🙌 pass it on!!

    Great article – crazy when you look back and see how we can relate to other eras but with slight differences

    We grow and evolve but so does danger.

    ** Why it’s important to love life and those in it while you can 😘

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right, the ease and scale of the movement of people these days really allows things like infectious disease to spread fast! I can only imagine how much worse of the epidemics of the past would have been if they travelled as we now do! 😦
      As you say, our understanding of hygiene was a really vital step and, as we have seen, still as important these days.

      Yes, I too found it rather spooky how little some of the human reactions had changed so little!

      A week in March, however they dress it up, sounds a good idea! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They used to say “god made dirt and dirt don’t hurt” ummm maybe it does lol 😄😘

        But yes, hygiene and clean conditions help keep some illnesses away – but when airborne it’s a little more sketch

        Is important to understand the evil you deal with – not what we just saw through Covid

        It is funny to look and see same type reactions ?

        Craze and no understanding … then hopes for cures with whatever able lol omg human kind is doomed lol

        Yes the reactions have changed very little 🙄

        Yes – one week in March – be smart to have one week to educate? Or do nothing whichever – be good for mental health of all ??

        But I dunno given reactions – people will not wanna do that … they will not want to ever interrupt their lives to go through that again lol 🤷‍♀️

        Would love a week in March but don’t see it happening lol … only just a dream 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah was some stupid saying they would say on church playground 🛝 when I was a kid… if I dropped my cookie or something – I never liked germs and the kids would say that and I would crinkle my nose lol ewww would never eat if fell whether dirt hurt or not lol

        Little prissy lol ✌️

        I had to google what a spaghetti western was 😮🤠

        That is sooo funny – I never heard that!

        Very interesting lol … European westerns made by Italians lol that is hilarious ❤️

        Now I want to see one lol

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Truly terrifying, the past! And yet I often think if civilization “fell”, it would take no time at all for trash to pile up and toilets to stop working. With waste everywhere, cholera would probably break out in a thrice. We’re just a hair breadth away from what seems like long ago, aren’t we? lol

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I do love how you weave your words with the best art, and I can’t imagine how unsettling these diseases were, I agree that despite our advances, the flu remains impossible to eliminate and now we have Covid too which may make it to history.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for such kind words – they are much appreciated! 🙂
      Yes, you are right, the flu stubbornly remains with us 😦 Hopefully, we can eradicate it one day but I feel sure that something else will then appear to challenge us!

      Like

  19. It’s one thing to know all of these diseases killed millions but to see it on paper, truly leaves me speechless. The elder and the lower economical class is always hit the hardest. When I’m looking at the time line of events it truly maakes me wonder, what’s next! Sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

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