“The Two Disasters of the Sixth Century”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
HGS 204
Daniel Headrick (Roosevelt University)

In the sixth century, the Mediterranean world and Europe were hit by two disasters: a dust cloud from 536 to 540 that ruined the harvests, and an epidemic of bubonic plague that started in 541. New discoveries by climatologists and geneticists are beginning to unravel the causes of these disasters. But the connections between the two phenomena are still mysterious.

Daniel Headrick, professor emeritus of history at Roosevelt University, is the author of several books on technology and international relations, including The Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century (1981), The Invisible Weapon: Telecommunications and International Politics, 1851-1945 (1991), and Power over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present (2010). He is currently writing an environmental history of the world.