Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 March 2020
Did quarantine work and was it worth it? The enforcement of rigorous sanitation laws after the Marseille plague epidemic of the early eighteenth century did coincide with an epidemiological shift that left Western Europe (for the most part) free of the plague. While most quarantine procedures were irrelevant or gratuitous, the basic delays the system imposed clearly kept plague within lazarettos on several occasions when it otherwise could have spread further. As we have seen in the final chapter, the end of universal quarantine did not depend on anticontagionist persuasiveness or ideological change so much as it responded to the medical state of affairs in the Middle East.