Skip to content How Pandemics Wreak Havoc—and Open Minds

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The consequences of wars and economic depressions have been amply studied; the consequences of pandemics, less so.

During the Middle Ages, Bologna was home to more than a hundred towers, the skyscrapers of their era, which served as showplaces of wealth and ambition for powerful oligarchs.

“If you try to imagine a plague-stricken city in the Middle Ages, the first thing you’d see would be dead people on the streets,” she said.

“Just as we have to send the Army to take coffins to crematories in other cities, as in Bergamo right now, in the Middle Ages they couldn’t cope with so many dead.

“What they had we call scholastic medicine,” Pomata told me.

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