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Abstract


SOCIAL HYSTERIA DURING THE BLACK PLAGUE FROM PROCOPIUS TO DECAMERON

The historical development of the plague disease is investigated in three important stages. In the first stage, "Justinian Plague", which began between 541-542 AD and was named with the name of the Emperor Justinianus, periodically continued until the end of the 8th century was included. The Justinian Plague, which has started in Alexandria in 541, reached to Istanbul in 542. It has been estimated that it caused the death of 100 million people. In the second stage, plague pandemic called as “Black Death” killing nearly 1/3 of European population and caused demographic, political, cultural and geographical changes in the European continent between 1347-1352 and in the third stage, "Bombay Plague" experienced in the Southeast Asia in the 19th century and spread all over the world until the middle of the 20th century, were addressed. The “Secret History” book of Procopius addressing the chaos caused by the plague in Istanbul in the period of Emperor Justinianus, indicating the fear and concerns on Byzantine public due to the plague pandemic, and the detailed observations placed in the "Introduction" part of Giovanni Boccaccio’s book Decameron stating the plague in Europe in 1348 based on Florence are found to present similarities. Changing controversial attitudes in human behaviour during the plague outbreaks are the mutual observations of both authors. Human-centred mutual observations of Procopius and Boccaccio about the plague pandemics for two different periods from the 6th century AD to the 14th century will be discussed within the scope of the subject and the context in the study.



Keywords
Social Collapse, Malthus Dilemma, Demographic Disaster



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