Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 November 2017
The history of late-antique animal plagues requires a fresh start. Over the last 30 years, scholars have amassed copious quantities of written and material evidence for major shifts in the natural world experienced, or reported, as disasters in late antiquity. They have read textual passages more critically and interwoven written with physical data more meticulously than researchers before them. As a result, much more is known now about human plagues, climatic downturns and tectonic perturbations in the Late Roman period. Yet knowledge of late-antique livestock disease remains pretty much where animal health specialists left it in the 18th and 19th c. There are, to be sure, histories of late-antique animal plagues, but they are long out of date, unreliable and altogether of poor quality.