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The plague has killed hundreds of millions, sweeping across entire countries and bringing civilizations to their knees. Even though we now know more than those who suffered through the biggest outbreak, knowing more about the disease makes it no less frightening.

鼠疫曾殺死上億人,橫掃全世界并使人類文明屈膝。盡管現在我們對這種疾病的了解比那些在鼠疫世界性大流行中死難的古人要更多,但這并不妨礙我們進一步了解它以減輕對它的恐懼。

10、There Are Different Types

10、鼠疫有不同的類型

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We hear most about the bubonic plague, but that’s actually just one of three plague varieties. The bubonic plague is distinguished by swollen lymph nodes, called “buboes,” which give the disease its name. This type is spread only through the bites of fleas and blood contact with the infected insect; there is no way that bubonic plague can spread from one person to another.

我們都聽說過黑死病,其實它只是三種鼠疫之一。黑死病會使得腹股溝淋巴結腫大。這也是它學名(淋巴腺鼠疫)的由來。黑死病只能通過跳蚤和與染病昆蟲的血液接觸兩種方式傳播,而不能通過人際傳播。



(注:通觀全文,文章實際在討論的不是瘟疫而是鼠疫,無論是歷史事件(意大利商船帶入歐洲),流行時間(14世紀歐洲黑死病大流行),癥狀等等皆完全吻合。所以the plague應該譯為鼠疫)
(注二:全文中認為黑死病是起源于中國的,依據是第二次世界鼠疫大流行的發源地是中國云南。這是錯誤的,因為第一次世界性鼠疫大流行的發生地僅限于東羅馬帝國和地中海地區,與中國無關。事實上鼠疫是世界性的疾病,古代長期在全世界范圍內流行,不能簡單的將其起源歸到中國)

9、It Originated In China

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9,它起源于中國

Photo credit: Hawaii State Archives

圖片來源:夏威夷國家資料館

Researchers have successfully traced the presence of bubonic plague back to its origins in China, more than 2,600 years ago.

研究人員成功地將鼠疫的歷史追溯到中國--它的起源地,大約2600年前

Different strains of the plague have different bacterial structures. By looking at each strain’s distribution, researchers have traced bubonic plague backward along the Silk Road, isolating 17 different bacterial strains. All these mutations trace back to a single type of bacteria that only started spreading outside of China in the last six centuries, carried by rats on ships leaving Chinese ports.

不同的瘟疫的不同菌株具有不同的細菌結構。通過觀察不同的瘟疫,研究者將黑死病追溯絲綢之路上,隔離17種不同的菌株,這些變異種都來源于一種細菌,這種細菌在最近六個世紀里只在中國傳播過,通過在中國船上的老鼠傳播到世界各地

In 1409, ships carried the plague into East Africa. It also spread outward both east and west, through Europe and through Hawaii. It eventually came to the United States in the late 1800s after an epidemic swept through the Yunnan province.

在1409年,這些船帶著瘟疫到了東非,同時在西部和東部傳播,傳播到了歐洲和夏威夷,最終在云南的一次爆發之后在1800年左右傳播到了美國

8、The Village That Sacrificed Itself

自我犧牲的村莊

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Photo credit: Eyam Museum

照片來源:Eyam博物館

In 1665, a tailor from the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, England ordered cloth from London. When the delivery came, the village received much more than just cloth—it became infected with the plague, which was already laying waste to the capital. People started dying, but they knew the plague hadn’t spread to nearby villages. So, led by clergyman William Mompesson, the villagers decided to quarantine themselves, staying in the plague-stricken town to prevent the disease from spreading.

1665年,一位英格蘭德貝郡Eyam村的裁縫向倫敦訂購布料。當貨物送達時,這個村莊收到的遠不止是布料——還有布料所染上的,在首都垃圾堆中蟄伏已久的鼠疫。人們開始死去,但是他們知道這瘟疫并未向鄰近村莊傳播。所以,在牧師William Mompesson的領導下,村民們決定自我隔離,駐留這被瘟疫擊倒的小村莊里以防止其繼續向外擴散。

The quarantine began in June 1666. From that point onward, no one could enter or leave the village. Neighboring towns left food at designated places well outside of the village proper. Pre-quarantine, 78 died, and by the end of the plague, that number climbed to 256. Before the townspeople opened their village once again to outsiders, they burned furniture and clothing, hoping to eradicate any traces of the disease that might still lie dormant.

這場隔離行動開始于1666年6月。從那時起,沒人可以出入村莊。附近諸村只能將食物留在該村外的指定地點。在隔離前已有78人死亡,在瘟疫結束時,死亡人數攀升至256人。在村民們重新開放村莊與外界接觸時,他們燒毀了家具和衣物,希望徹底銷毀任何可能殘留瘟疫的遺跡。

The sacrifice was a success. None of the neighboring villages had a single case of the plague. Mompesson lost his wife Katherine to the disease, but he himself survived.

這場犧牲成功了。鄰近村莊無一人染上鼠疫。Mompesson 牧師在瘟疫中痛失愛妻,但自己僥幸存活。

7、Conspiracy Theorists Used It To Persecute Jews

陰謀家借鼠疫迫害猶太教徒

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With the plague decimating Europe during the 14th century, Christians and Jews started playing the blame game. An estimated 25 million people died in the first part of 1348, and a rumor soon began that the plague was a Jewish conspiracy to wipe out Christianity. Supposedly, the conspiracy had begun in Toledo, Spain and spread throughout Europe.

當14世紀鼠疫在歐洲肆虐時,猶太教和基督教開始借此相互攻擊。在1348年一次造成2500萬人死亡的鼠疫過后,一個傳言迅速流傳開來,傳言說鼠疫是猶太教企圖抹殺基督教的陰謀。據推測,該陰謀開始于托萊多,西班牙并且傳播到了歐洲。

The Count of Savoy started arresting and interrogating Jews, determined to find his version of the truth. His brutal torture elicited many confessions of responsibility, mostly people confessing to poisoning town and city water supplies. The count sent these confessions to other towns as a warning, but the people there took them more seriously. Hundreds of Jewish settlements were burned to the ground, and countless people were murdered.

Savoy 伯爵開始逮捕審訊猶太教徒,決心找出他所謂的“真相”。他殘酷的拷問叫許多人認罪,多數都承認在城市和鄉村的供水中投毒。伯爵將這些“認罪”作為警告發往其他城鎮鄉村,但那些地方對此作出了更加激烈的反應。上百的猶太教場所被焚毀,無數教徒被屠殺。

In Strasbourg, nobility and city authorities clashed over whether to massacre their Jewish citizens. The nobles figured doing so could remove the threat of plague and their creditors in one go. On Valentine’s Day 1349, around 2,000 Jews burned on a massive wooden platform in Strasbourg, their wealth seized and redistributed among the Christian nobles.

在斯特拉斯堡,貴族階級和市政府爭論是否應該屠殺他們當地信仰猶太教的市民。貴族們指出這樣做可以解除鼠疫的威脅并同時消滅他們的債主。在1349年情人節當天,約2000名基督徒在斯特拉斯堡內的一處大型木質平臺上被活活燒死,他們的財產也被當地貴族掠奪瓜分。

The plague still came to Strasbourg. It took 16,000 lives.

但瘟疫依然來到了斯特拉斯堡。它帶走了16000條人命。

6、The Plague Wasn’t A Guaranteed Killer

鼠疫并非箭無虛發的殺手

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Photo credit: Joy/Flickr

照片來源:Joy/Flickr(??)

Many of us imagine that the plague was a certain death sentence. That belief comes from the massive, widespread devastation the plague caused rather than its effects on individual sufferers. Many stories actually tell of people simply immune to the plague, and others record those who contracted the disease but survived. Marshall Howe was one such individual.



5、A Teenage Nostradamus Became A Successful Plague Doctor

一位青年預言家成為一名成功的鼠疫醫生

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Nostradamus is today largely remembered for his vaguely worded prophecies. But in 1518, he was traveling the French countryside acting as a plague doctor—and he was a mere 15 years old. After living this way for several years, he reenrolled in university (he’d started at 14 but had dropped out to become a traveling apothecary) and earned his degree in medicine in 1522. He continued to work as a plague doctor, as he was seemingly immune to the disease himself.

According to his writings, Nostradamus felt he was doing little good in treating the afflicted because his remedies only made victims comfortable rather than curing them. In actuality, he was one of the first doctors to get it right. Instead of typical medi treatments like leeches and bleeding, Nostradamus pushed for curing the plague with cleanliness. Patients were encouraged to go outside and to get fresh air. He kept those patients and their surroundings clean and disposed properly of infected corpses.

He also subscribed to the notion that the plague was caused by bad air, and he developed a spice and rose lozenge that would ease sufferers’ symptoms. At one point, he had such success curing people of the plague that he was comfortably supported by donations from individuals who lived in the city of Provence.

一位青年預言家成為一名成功的鼠疫醫生

諾查丹瑪士現今還被人提及很大程度上是由于他那些措辭模糊的預言,但在1518年,他作為一名瘟疫醫生而周游法國鄉村——那時他才15歲。在行醫幾年之后,他重返大學校園(他在14歲時入學但中途輟學成為一名旅行藥劑師)并在1522年獲得醫學學位。之后,他選擇繼續當一名鼠疫醫生,而他似乎對鼠疫具有特殊的免疫力。

根據諾查丹瑪士的記載,他其實對消除患者的痛苦沒做太大貢獻。因為他的治療方法其實不能讓他們痊愈,只能讓他們好受點。實際上,他是第一個進行正確治療方法的人。不像中世紀典型的治療法 ,比如水蛭吸血法和放血法。他堅持要用清潔療法來治療瘟疫。他的病人們都被鼓勵到外面去呼吸新鮮空氣。他還讓他的病人和周圍的環境保持清潔,同時他也合理的處理受到感染的尸體。

他也發表過這樣的言論,瘟疫是惡劣的空氣傳播致病的。并且他還發明了一種香料和玫瑰含片來減輕患者的病癥。他有一次居然成功的治愈了患有瘟疫的人,所以普羅旺斯的居民都給他捐款作為報答。

4、It Changed World Culture

改變了世界文明

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Photo credit: Jean-Pol Grandmont

照片由 Jean-Pol Grandmont提供

The plague’s spread left survivors in a world forever changed. It brought a new awareness of death and mortality, and the artists of the time turned to painting what they saw around them. In eras of plague, particularly the 14th and 16th centuries, art got much darker. Religious paintings often featured the dead. Hell was depicted more often than heaven—and oftentimes, it was a hell on Earth.

瘟疫的傳播留給幸存者是永遠改變了的世界。讓人們對死亡和必死命運有了新的理解,因此,這個時期的畫家開始繪制他們身邊所看到的東西。在瘟疫流行的時代,尤其是14世紀和16世紀期間,藝術的格調也更加黑暗。宗教性質的繪畫通常也以死亡為主。地獄比天堂出現的次數還多,通常他們繪制的都是人間地獄。

One of the eeriest styles of art to come out of the 16th century was a change in tomb and gravestone design. Before, people were often shown at rest. Now, artists introduced the transi, a form of sculpture that more accurately showed the dead rotting flesh and skeletal form.

16世紀還生成一種非??植赖乃囆g,通常體現在墳墓、墓碑設計的改變上。之前,人們通常以安歇的形式出現。而這時,畫家們介紹死亡通常以“轉變”為主題來表現,這一類型的壁畫更加直觀精確的描繪出了尸體的腐爛和骷髏的形成過程。

The plague had another strange effect on the world’s art and literature, and that wasn’t just a change in content but in style and quality. When the plague struck, it attacked without heed to a person’s standing, status, or occupation. Many great masters died in the midst of teaching their proteges. That in turn led to a dynamic shift in the quality and techniques present in art from the time.

瘟疫的還影響世界的藝術與文化,這不僅僅是表現在內容上,還包括了形式和質量上。當瘟疫來臨時,不管你處于什么樣的立場、地位和職位,都不能幸免。許多偉大的大師都死在給門徒教學的過程中。這反過來又導致了那個時代的藝術在質量上和技術上的轉變。

3、The Plague Bacteria Starved Fleas

3、瘟疫病毒讓跳蚤們挨餓

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Bubonic plague is spread by fleas, but the whole process is actually a lot more complicated and disturbing than that descxtion suggests.

黑死?。ǜ构蓽狭馨徒Y炎性鼠疫)經由跳蚤們傳播,但是整個傳播過程實際上要比描述的更加復雜、更加讓人恐慌。

Fleas survive on the blood of animals, and so does the plague bacteria. Once a flea ingests diseased blood, the infection goes to work on the flea itself. It begins to reproduce in the flea’s stomach, living in the digestive tract of the insect and effectively blocking its digestive process. This often kills the flea, but in the meantime, it starves it. This means that the flea bites more often and looks for more animals for nourishment, spreading the disease faster than a flea with a normal life cycle.

跳蚤們靠動物的血液生存,瘟疫病毒也是如此存活。一旦跳蚤吸食了被感染的血液,這只跳蚤便被感染了。病毒在跳蚤的胃里繁殖,繼而生存在跳蚤的消化道里。跳蚤的消化過程便被大大滴限制了。通常這樣會殺死被感染的跳蚤,在此期間跳蚤會遭受饑餓煎熬。這意味著被感染的跳蚤要尋找和叮咬更多的動物來維持營養,所以它們傳播疾病的速度要比正常的跳蚤快很多。

Cats and rats are particularly susceptible to the plague virus, which further helps it spread. When the flea’s usual host—rodents—start dying out in massive amounts, it seeks other hosts, pushing the disease to domesticated animals and humans. (Dogs have a natural resistance to the plague bacteria, and even if they’re bit and are repeatedly exposed, they usually don’t become sick.)

貓和老鼠尤其容易感染到瘟疫病毒,這進一步幫助了病毒的傳播。當跳蚤的宿主(嚙齒目動物)大量死去,跳蚤便去尋找其他的宿主,于是瘟疫便被傳給家養的動物和人類。(狗對瘟疫病毒有一種天然的抵抗力,即使它們經常被跳蚤叮咬,被感染瘟疫病毒,它們也不會生病。)

2、Death-Bringing Plague Ships

帶有致命瘟疫的船只

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As we mentioned earlier, the plague sometimes traveled from one area to another by ship, and this was actually one the quickest ways in which it spread. In 1347, Italian ships spread the plague from Constantinople to Alexandria to Marseilles and then on to Venice, Genoa, and next on to the rest of Europe.

當我們提到早先瘟疫有是通過船只從一個地方旅行到另一個地方,并且這確實是它傳播的最快的方式。在1347年,意大利船只將瘟疫從君士坦丁堡到亞歷山大到馬賽然后到威尼斯,熱那亞然后是到歐洲其他地方。



1、Believed Causes Of The Plague

1、人們所認為的引發瘟疫的原因

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The rampant illness and the countless deaths left survivors throughout history looking for a reason for their suffering. One common idea was that mankind brought on the plague by its own evil. Supporters of this theory pointed to passages in the Bible where God used pestilence and plagues as a weapon to punish the unholy.

瘟疫及其造成的無數死亡不禁讓幸存者們思考這背后的原因到底是什么。一個普遍的看法是人類因自己的罪惡而引發了瘟疫。相信這種理論的人指向了《圣經》中的某些章節,里面說道上帝將會使用鼠疫和瘟疫來懲罰那些罪惡的人們。

In the Book of Revelation, Pestilence is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and people felt that this disease surely heralded the end of the world. To the nobility and other authority figures, this idea had a practical advantage. Should the masses believe that a higher power was holding them accountable for their actions, said authorities could more easily regulate activities that they thought troublesome, like gambling and brothels.

在《啟示錄》中,鼠疫是天使四騎士之一,人們覺得這種瘟疫的發生肯定意味著世界末日的來臨。對于貴族和其他當權者來說,這樣的理論是很有用的。如果大眾認為存在著一個更高的力量在審視他們的所作所為,那么當局者在管理上就會輕松得多,比如在賭博和妓院這樣的事情上。

Ideas about cures for the plague were lixed to possible causes. It was long thought that the balance of the humors and states of the body was crucial to staying healthy; if that was true for humans, then the same might be true for the universe. This led to a number of astrological theories on what was causing the clear imbalance of life and death on Earth.

要想解決瘟疫,就得找到引發瘟疫的原因。長久以來人們都認為心情與身體狀態的平衡是保持健康的關鍵;如果這種理論也適用于人類的話,那么也可能同樣適用于宇宙。所以在何物引發地球上生命與死亡失衡的問題上,出現了很多占卜理論。

Quoting Greek philosophers and their writings on the balance of life, astrologer Geoffrey de Meaux tried to use the positioning of the planets within the zodiac to determine how long each outbreak would last, why certain cities were vulnerable, and who would die next.

在援引了希臘哲學家們及其有關生命平衡的作品的情況下,占星家Geoffrey de Meaux 試圖利用十二宮圖里的行星位置來預測每一次的瘟疫爆發會持續多久,為什么某些城市會變得如此脆弱以及下一個死去的將是何人等。