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Introduction: The History And Essence Of The Alternative Theories

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Chapter Summary

In the history of alternative theories of the identity of historical plague epidemics, those put forward by Shrewsbury (1971), Morris (1971), and Karlsson (1996), are closely connected in two important respects. Firstly, Morris's theory reflects or represents a strong negative reaction to Shrewsbury's theory and Karlsson's theory is very much inspired by Morris's theory. Secondly, they have in common that they all accept that the microbiological agent was Yersinia pestis, albeit in the case of Karlsson's theory an unspecified mutated variant. This chain of development of alternative theories reached a dead end with Karlsson's theory. The three other alternative theories have in common that they are based on other microbiological pathogens. An abrupt and sharp process of radicalization took place that started with Twigg's anthrax-based theory, was followed by Scott's and Duncan's theory of a filoviridal virus.

Keywords: Karlsson's theory; Morris's theory; Scott's and Duncan's theory; Shrewsbury's theory; Twigg's anthrax-based theory



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