We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 >   > 
Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe | [William Rosen]

Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

The emperor Justinian reunified Rome's fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals. At his capital in Constantinople, he built the world's most beautiful building, married the most powerful empress, and wrote the empire's most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next five hundred years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed 5,000 people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.
Regular Price:$26.59
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

The emperor Justinian reunified Rome's fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. At his capital in Constantinople, he built the world's most beautiful building, married the most powerful empress, and wrote the empire's most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next five hundred years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed 5,000 people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.

In Justinian's Flea, William Rosen tells the story of history's first pandemic - a plague seven centuries before the Black Death that killed tens of millions, devastated the empires of Persia and Rome, left a path of victims from Ireland to Iraq, and opened the way for the armies of Islam. Weaving together evolutionary microbiology, economics, military strategy, ecology, and ancient and modern medicine, Rosen offers a sweeping narrative of one of the great hinge moments in history, one that will appeal to readers of John Kelly's The Great Mortality, John Barry's The Great Influenza, and Jared Diamond's Collapse.

©2007 William Rosen; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (245 )
5 star
 (67)
4 star
 (82)
3 star
 (58)
2 star
 (25)
1 star
 (13)
Overall
3.9 (67 )
5 star
 (24)
4 star
 (22)
3 star
 (13)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (3)
Story
3.8 (65 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
 (16)
3 star
 (13)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    joan YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States 06-25-07
    joan YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States 06-25-07 Member Since 2006

    71 year old avid reader using either my eyes or ears. I make earrings that I donate to shelters and while I work, I listen to wonderful books. I also keep in mind that you have to kiss frogs to find princes - time's too short to bother with losers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    115
    45
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    6
    Overall
    "More history than Disease"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it was more a history of the world from 100 CE to 600 CE than a history of the plague (as a disease), but well told and informative none the less.
    If ancient history is your bag, this is for you.

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Springfield, VA USA 12-21-07
    Amazon Customer Springfield, VA USA 12-21-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Interesting, but flat read."

    The material was interesting. It provided a good overview of the Eastern Roman Empire, but seemed to lose focus in a discussion of church architecture a little before the half-way point. Then the author launched into a fascinating discussion of the causes, mechanisms, and effect of the plague.

    The reader is a little flat in his presentation. It takes some getting used to, but after that it is acceptable. I enjoyed the book, but listen to the sample before buying.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Willits, CA, United States 07-22-07
    Chris Willits, CA, United States 07-22-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    141
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    164
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Good, but dry"

    This was an interesting book, but the narration was extremely dry. I would give the text a 4 out of five, but the narration drops it down to a 3.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron S. Sherrell 03-31-08 Listener Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Wake me up!"

    The narrator's monotonic delivery is absurd.
    Make certain that you listen to a sample before buying. The content is detailed and very interesting, but the narrator should look into coaching. It is at times difficult to determine when a sentence ends...the reader was very off putting.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stanley Piedmont, CA, United States 02-04-08
    Stanley Piedmont, CA, United States 02-04-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    "Just OK"

    Lots of information, but the authors digress constantly. The irrelevant details get in the way of understanding the big picture. Also, the audio book is poorly edited. Several sections have 10-15 seconds of repeated text. Summary: a very interesting subject, but the editor should be fired.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lewis D Hoover MD 12-26-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    225
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Justinian's Flea"

    I've just finished listening to this book a second time. It is a most impressive exposition of the fascinatingly complex bio-psycho-socio-political events of late (Roman) antiquity. Already having a more than passing acquaintance with this historical period helps in following the author's masterful weaving of those many threads.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Connecticut 08-09-08
    Amazon Customer Connecticut 08-09-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    279
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Worth a listen"

    I'm intrigued with the theories put forh especially as it relates to parallel development in the Chinese empire.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nikoli Gogol Edmonton 12-29-07
    Nikoli Gogol Edmonton 12-29-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    133
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    0
    Overall
    "A Credible Theory That Explains Current Events"

    Picture this. In the 6th century AD, the Emperor Justinian decides to re-conquer what had been the fullest extent of the Roman Empire from his base in Constantinople. He sends an underequipped general, Belisarius, on this mission.

    Through guile and tactical genius, Belisarius regains the Roman Empire beating every enemy he faces: Vandals, Goths, and Gauls. North Africa, Italy, the Levant, and parts or modern day Europe are re-conquered. This accomplished, the newly conquered empire could have been the modern colossus governed under a newly codified set of laws sponsored by Justinian.

    Unfortunately, Constantinople and the rest of the empire suffer from a plague that kills 25,000.000 people (a very large percentage of the world’s population at the time) and continues to kill in subsequent years.

    Immune from the plague are the isolated tribes of Arabs who come under the sway of a merchant, Mohamed, who preaches a new religion that features jihad. The newly conquered territories cannot be held by Byzantium and the effects of the plague have effectively shaped the modern world.

    The book is complex and the narrator does the best he can but the story can be followed.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. concord, CA, USA 02-28-09
    K. concord, CA, USA 02-28-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Justinian's Flea"

    This is the worst reader I have come across in the many years I have been purchasing audible books!
    Avoid him at all costs.
    Read the book in hard copy, it was interesting.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-29-07
    Andrew Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-29-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    68
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "The Book Is Good . . ."

    . . . but oh my, the narration. Sounds like some sort of smoking cessation tape you put on before falling asleep. At first I thought I'd never make it through to the end. After a half hour, or so, you can get used to the narrator and start enjoying the book. No doubt a 4 to 5 star book, in written form.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 23 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.