Famine and Pestilence in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Empire presents the first analytical account in English of the history of subsistence crises and epidemic diseases in Late Antiquity. Based on a catalogue of all such events in the East Roman/Byzantine empire between 284 and 750, it gives an authoritative analysis of the causes, effects and internal mechanisms of these crises and incorporates modern medical and physiological data on epidemics and famines. Its interest is both in the history of medicine and the history of Late Antiquity, especially its social and demographic aspects. Stathakopoulos develops models of crises that apply not only to the society of the late Roman and early Byzantine world, but also to early modern and even contemporary societies in Africa or Asia. This study is therefore both a work of reference for information on particular events (e.g. the 6th-century Justinianic plague) and a comprehensive analysis of subsistence crises and epidemics as agents of historical causation. As such it makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate on Late Antiquity, bringing a fresh perspective to comment on the characteristic features that shaped this period and differentiate it from Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

chapter 1a|14 pages


Negotiating with the Dead

part 1|160 pages

Typology of Crises

chapter 1|6 pages

The Late Roman and Early Byzantine Empire

chapter 2|12 pages

A Quantitative Overview

chapter 3|22 pages

Subsistence Crises

Causes, Location, Duration and Range

chapter 4|31 pages

Social Response

chapter 5|22 pages

Epidemic Diseases

chapter 6|45 pages

The Justinianic Plague

chapter 7|11 pages


chapter 8|9 pages


‘History that Stands Still’?

part 2|212 pages

Catalogue of Epidemics and Famines from 284 to 750 AD