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Ancient 'end of the world' plague victims uncovered

Called the “Plague of Cyprian,” the disease was said to have helped bring down the Roman empire when it killed nearly half the population.

Saint Cyprian was a Tunisian Bishop, who considered the plague a sign of the end times. "The kingdom of God, beloved brethren, is beginning to be at hand," he wrote.

And he didn’t stop there. Cyprian detailed the symptoms brought on by the sickness, including bloody eyes, "discharge," and "in some cases the feet or some parts of the limbs are taken off by the contagion."

The research published this week, took place over several years near the city of Luxor, known as Thebes in ancient times.

LiveSciene reports the team found a building used for funerals with bodies caked in layers of lime, used to disinfect the corpses.

They also discovered a large area where bodies were burned.

Lead researcher Francesco Tiradritti told the University of Chicago Press the complex had a reputation that "doomed it to centuries of oblivion until tomb robbers entered the complex in the early 19th century."

Some modern doctors and scientists believe the malady was smallpox or measles, but we’ll likely never know.

 

Tiradritti admitted getting DNA from the bodies found will be impossible.

More here.

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