Reading Thucydides in Quarantine

The Plague of Athens, Michiel Sweerts, c. 1652–1654
The Plague of Athens, Michiel Sweerts, c. 1652–1654

By far the most terrible feature in the malady was the dejection which ensued when any one felt himself sickening, for the despair into which they instantly fell took away their power of resistance, and left them a much easier prey to the disorder; besides which, there was the awful spectacle of men dying like sheep, through having caught the infection in nursing each other. This caused the greatest mortality. On the one hand, if…