MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Triumph of Death", 15th century fresco. This fresco hung in the Palazzo Scalfani in Palermo, Italy. The building became a civic hospital in 1435, and shortly after this fresco was painted. Between the 14th and 17th centuries bubonic plague, or black death, was epidemic throughout Europe, killing almost a third of its population. It is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which is transmitted by the rat flea.
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