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Malaria and RomeA History of Malaria in Ancient Italy$
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Robert Sallares

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248506

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248506.001.0001

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The city of Rome

The city of Rome

(p.201) 8 The city of Rome
Malaria and Rome

Robert Sallares

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the history of the city of Rome in relation to malaria, starting with the sack of Rome by the Gauls c.386 BC. Emphasis is placed on the importance of a detailed study of the topography of the city of Rome. The hills of Rome were much healthier than the intervening valleys and the areas adjoining the river Tiber (since mosquitoes rarely fly up hills) as described by Doni, who wrote a pioneering work on the medical geography of the area around Rome in the 17th century. The reasons for the absence of malaria from the Jewish Ghetto of Rome are discussed. The phenomenon in Rome of mixed infections of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium malariae also receives attention. Important ancient evidence for malaria in the city of Rome provided by Asclepiades of Bithynia and Galen, and mediaeval accounts of malaria epidemics in Rome, are discussed.

Keywords:   topography, river Tiber, Doni, Jewish Ghetto, mixed infections, Galen, Asclepiades of Bithynia

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