How healthy, or rather, how unhealthy, were ancient people? The Roman Empire was famed for its plumbing systems and aqueducts, but what did the nutritional levels of the population look like? These are questions to which new methods, drawn from the hard sciences, are only just starting to give answers to. The data so far suggests that the Roman population during the Pax Romana was far from stellar. The Antonine Plague, which probably ripped through the Roman World around the mid-second century, entered a world that was already physiologically weak, which explains in part why it was so devastating. But, genetic evidence also suggests that it may have been a new type of sickness entirely.
The Fate of Rome, Harper
Plagues Upon the Earth, Harper
The Antonines, Grant
The Antonine Plague and the ‘Third-Century Crisis’, Bruun