A threat assessment of biological weapons

Past, present and future

Authored by: Matteo Bencic Habian

Routledge Handbook of War, Law and Technology

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138084551
eBook ISBN: 9781315111759
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315111759-18

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Abstract

In Western culture, the catastrophic consequences on the fabric of society caused by an epidemic of major proportions are well documented in historical and literary accounts. Illustrious authors such as Thucydides, Lucretius, Giovanni Boccaccio, and Alessandro Manzoni, have described the dreadful devastation – both in the body and the mind – suffered by those living under the plague. 1 Indeed, over the course of history, the plague has intermittently ravaged Europe, causing a total of 50 million deaths in the fourteenth century alone, which amounts to approximately 60 percent of the entire European population of that time. 2

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