The Bubonic Plague
We are human. And as humans, we have the tendency to believe ourselves superior to other organisms of this planet. We flaunt our mastery of the elements and our absolute control over certain species of animals, though we still lack even the slightest power over the microscopic world. Simple, one-celled organisms have the potential to completely wipe us from the face of the Earth, and they have demonstrated their power time and again. One quick example of this is the bubonic plague, more commonly known as the Black Death.
What is the bubonic plague?
The bubonic plague is a disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium. It is primarily spread to humans through bites from the fleas of a common rat. (Stotebery) The plague has some of the most notable historical accounts, including records of the outbreak of the 14th century, as well as biblical references. Though it is not the most deadly disease the world has ever seen, it is definitely the most famous.
The first outbreak of the bubonic plague is uncertain. It is argued that the earliest records of the disease can be found in the Bible. According to the first book of Samuel, the ark was stolen from the Philistines by the Israelites. It was then taken to Ahsod, Gath, and Ekron. Each city suffers from a terrible illness, which is cured by returning the ark to Israel along with a gift of "Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers...." (Bible 1)
The second biblical account of the bubonic plague chronicles the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. In the text, the Hebrews woke up one morning and all of the armies were dead. In the writings of Herodotus, "multitudes of field mice" were found milling about in the fields with the dead soldiers. This could indicate that the soldiers were infected with the bubonic plague. (Bible 2) Though the disease traditionally has a 2-6 day incubation period, variations such as the...