The Justinianic Plague

Merle Eisenberg, Middle Ages for Educators 

In this video Merle Eisenberg introduces viewers to the this plage in Late Antiquity. 


Primary sources along with reading questions for each of them can be found here in a PDF document.

Primary Sources

The complete passage on Procopius and the Plague in Constantinople can be found online at the Fordham Source Book on Plague.

The datasets in the above PDF are from Mordechai et al (see further reading for full citation) and can be found there under Figures and Supplementary Information. If you want to dig into the underlying sources, that be found at the bottom of the same page.

Further Reading

Lee Mordechai & Merle Eisenberg “Rejecting Catastrophe: the case of the Justinianic Plague,” Past & Present (2019), 3-50.

Lee Mordechai, Merle Eisenberg, Timothy P. Newfield, Adam Izdebski, Janet E. Kay, and Hendrik Poinar, “The Justinianic Plague: An inconsequential pandemic?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Dec 2019, 116 (51) 25546-25554.

Merle Eisenberg and Lee Mordechai. “The Justinianic Plague: An Interdisciplinary Review.” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 43, no. 2 (2019): 156–80.

Michel Keller et al. “Ancient Yersinia pestis genomes from across Western Europe reveal early diversification during the First Pandemic (541–750),” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jun 2019, 116 (25), 12363-12372


Eisenberg, Merle. “The Justinianic Plague,” Middle Ages for Educators, March 30, 2020. Accessed [date].