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“AND ЕVERYTHING HERE WAS FILLED WITH MISERY AND TEARS”: A FEW NOTES ON THE BLACK DEATH DEMOGRAPHIC IMPACT ON BYZANTIUM, 1347–1453

Theodor Dimitrov
Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

Abstract: This article aims at reviewing the effect of the so-called Black Death on the demographic structure of Byzantium and Byzantine world in the period between 1347 and 1453. Due to the extremely scarce information in the historical sources, the author does not engage in calculating human losses during the local plague epidemics. The text traces the main demographic tendencies in the course of the pandemic. First of all, the problem of morbidity and mortality rates in cities and the much less urbanized countryside has been analyzed. Secondly, by combining data from the historical sources available and the results of modern epidemiological studies, this work attempts to identify the population groups that were most frequent victims of the plague. In conclusion, the issue whether and to what extent the demographic damage in Byzantium and the Byzantine world are commensurate with those in Western Europe has been discussed.

Keywords: Black Death, Yersinia Pestis, Plague, Byzantium, Byzantine World, Demography