Plague in London, 1625

Plague in London, 1625

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Plague in London. Title artwork from a 17th century pamphlet on the effects of the plague on London. This pamphlet, A Rod for Run-awayes, by Thomas Dekker, was published in 1625, one of the years in which a plague epidemic broke out. The plague (or Black Death) affected Europe from the 1340s to the 1700s. It is thought to have been bubonic plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and spread by fleas on rats. During a typical outbreak, tens of thousands died in London alone. This artwork shows people dying (left) and people fleeing and being repelled by armed men in the surrounding areas (right). Death (here shown as a skeleton) is standing on a group of coffins, casting arrows at the fleeing people and saying he will follow them. The lightning represents God's wrath, and London is seen in the background.

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