Posts tagged with adasme

Death on Two Legs: Analyzing the initial 20 weeks of the 1636 London plague outbreak using time-to-event analysis. During the seventeenth century, England experienced multiple plague outbreaks. Although milder than the 1603 and 1624 plague crisis, London’s outbreak of 1636 claimed the lives of roughly 10,400 individuals, approximately 7.5% of the population in London and its liberties.1 In this blog post, I delve into the first stages of the 1636 outbreak, by scrutinizing the propagation of the plague through London’s city subdivisions, with the aid of time-to-event analysis.

“London might be said to be all in tears; the mourners did not go about the streets indeed, for nobody put on black or made a formal dress of mourning for their nearests friends; but the voice of mourners was truly heard in the Streets” (Defoe, 19). Although Daniel Defoe’s description of London during the outbreak of 1665-1666 jogs our memories during the early days of the Sars-CoV- 2 virus—where the sick passed away separated from their loved ones, and families were forced to say goodbye apart from their kin—the culture of grief has indeed changed.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Bills of Mortality have informed more than three centuries of writing about the plague. Although the Death by Numbers project stands out as the first systematic effort to digitize and process the totality of the bills, a whole bunch of writers, historians, and social scientists have kneaded the numbers collected in the Bills, looking for the historical gist of plague outbreaks in England and Continental Europe.

In the fourth week of 1727 the habitual readers of the Bills of Mortality noticed something different in the most recent bill. The bill printed on Thursday January 9th showcased a border of skulls and crossed-bones framing the death counts in both the verso and the recto.1 The artwork of the skull was fairly simple: a bike-seat-like cranium slightly bent to the right, with triangular nostrils, three ovals as eyes and mouth, and two crossed-bones at the bottom.