Although memorials to past pandemics are not as prolific as war memorials, they do exist. A scholar of visual culture provides a brief history of monuments around the world.
Power, plague and Christianity were closely intertwined in 17th-century New England.
Medieval Japanese poets and philosophers sought different ways of dealing with disasters and tragedies.
As ready as you are to be done with COVID-19, it's not going anywhere soon. A historian of disease describes how once a pathogen emerges, it's usually here to stay.
Societies and cultures that seem ossified and entrenched can be completely upended by pandemics, which create openings for conquest, innovation and social change.
The 17th-century plague of Italy has lessons for today: Back then, too, people broke public health laws, but there were clergymen who intervened.
Masks have a chequered history in western fashion. Some silenced women in the name of beauty, others provoked sexual desire.
The idea of organized satanic witchcraft was invented in 15th-century Europe by church and state authorities, who at first had a hard time convincing regular folks it was real.
In medieval times natural phenomena, such as comets and eclipses, were regarded as portents of natural disasters, including plagues.
People have lived with infectious disease throughout the millennia, with culture and biology influencing each other. Archaeologists decode the stories told by bones and what accompanies them.
With the plague decimating the ranks of laborers, surviving workers started pining for higher wages. When the monarchy responded by enacting taxes and restrictive labor laws, the peasants rebelled.
Fun fact: the term 'influenza' comes from the premodern belief stars influenced disease. Before epidemiologists, there were astrologers.
Those experiencing stress and uncertainty amid the coronavirus may find guidance in medieval responses to plagues, which relied on both medicine and prayer.
The etymology of an epidemic.
The cities of Europe have experienced disease outbreaks for centuries, but they were able to bounce back using quarantine, economic stimulus and patience. Not all were successful.
Even in a world where 99% of the male population is dead, patriarchy is still a very comfortable pair of shoes and very easy to slip into.
Racism against fellow Indians and classism against the poor characterised India's early response to coronavirus, that is reminiscent of British imperial public health policies.
The 14th century Black Death pandemic catalysed enormous societal, economic, artistic and cultural reforms in Medieval Europe. Infectious disease pandemics can be major turning points in history.
Then – as now – the wealthy fled to the countryside, while the urban poor were forced to work on the front lines.
Ancient Greek philosophers including Plato likened civic leaders to doctors, creating a healthy society through balance and moderation. Those ideas feed into what we expect from leaders today.