A bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
Photograph: DEA/G DAagli Orti/De Agostini via Getty Images
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. During the last 14 years of his life he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. The Antonine Plague, named after him, was probably caused by a strain of the smallpox virus. It’s estimated to have killed up to 5 million people, possibly including Marcus himself.
From AD166 to around AD180, repeated outbreaks occurred throughout the known world. Roman historians describe the legions being devastated, and entire towns and villages being depopulated and going to ruin. Rome itself was particularly badly affected, carts leaving the city each day piled high with dead bodies.

Learn more from The Guardian’s article.




Italian phrase of the day
ItalianEnglishDialect
Sono tanto semplici gli uomini, e tanto obbediscono alle necessità presenti, che colui che inganna troverrà sempre chi si lascerà ingannare. (Niccolò Machiavelli) Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived. (Niccolò Machiavelli)Italian