Friday, 9 October 2020

Milan 1630

I bet you all looked at that title and thought I was going to write about military history, or perhaps I was about to start wargaming a new period. However, and temptingly obscure though the War of the Mantuan Succession would be, neither of those is the case; you know me better than that.

I have been reading Manzoni's 'I Promessi Sposi', the classic of Italian literature which, on the off chance that you don't know it, is a bit Walter Scott, a bit Dickens or Thackeray, but perhaps mostly like Tolstoy. The author dedicates the whole of Chapter 31 to the arrival of the plague in Milan in 1630, and much of what he writes seems worryingly familiar. For example:

"The infection entered through the inadequacies of the edicts, negligence in carrying them out, and adroitness in eluding them."

Plus ca change.

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