It also sucks to try to find an image online that matches both my age and how I feel. The feeling part is easy, but everyone is either too young or too old, or else they are a dog! Really! I mean an actual canine, like this one:

Image by Javier Brosch

Actually, I am a little better tonight, but not well enough to go tomorrow with my friends Slany and Dan to the northern part of the state to celebrate an SCA event called Yule Feast, because it would have been something like a 16-hour day, all told, with the drive and the feast and all. But I really did want to go.

Image may contain: plant and flower

This is Charity Goehring’s design for the event’s Facebook page, which looks very sprightly, considering the name of the celebration is “Yule Feast 2017: A Yuletime Plague.” I wonder what plague victims feast upon? ūüėČ But of course the folks at Yule Feast will not actually have the plague! ūüôā

My friend Slany bean Uillic (known in the modern world as Sheryl Barringer), who I was going to go with, is giving a class there called “Justinian’s Plague and the Great Mortality,” which I really wanted to attend.

I wonder if it is the same Emperor Justinian who authored the great law code that every law student such as myself learns about–the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still used in many places? Maybe I should Google…. Ah yes, it is! Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The¬†Plague of Justinian¬†(541‚Äď542) was a¬†pandemic¬†that afflicted the¬†Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, especially its capital¬†Constantinople, the¬†Sassanid Empire, and port cities around the entire¬†Mediterranean Sea.[1]¬†One of the deadliest plagues in history, this devastating pandemic resulted in the deaths of an estimated 25 million (at the time of the initial outbreak that was at least 13% of the world’s population) to 50 million people (in two centuries of recurrence).[2][3]

In 2013 researchers found that the cause of the pandemic was¬†Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for¬†bubonic plague.[4][5]¬†The plague’s social and cultural impact during the period of Justinian has been compared to that of the similar¬†Black Death¬†that devastated Europe 600 years after the last outbreak of Justinian plague.[6]¬†The principal historian during the 6th century,¬†Procopius, viewed the pandemic as worldwide in scope.[1][7]¬†Genetic studies point to¬†China¬†as having been the primary source of the contagion.[8]

The plague returned periodically until the 8th century.[1] The waves of disease had a major effect on the subsequent course of European history. Modern historians named this plague incident after the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I, who was emperor at the time of the initial outbreak; he contracted the disease himself but survived.

Here’s a gruesome picture of a typical plague hand, which is necrotic:

By CDC/Dr. Jack Poland – This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #4137.Note: Not all PHIL images are public domain; be sure to check copyright status and credit authors and content providers.English¬†| SlovenŇ°ńćina¬†| +/‚ąí, Public Domain,


Lucky Justinian to survive! But he is most renowned for his law code.¬† Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about him, in part [By the way, I just made a small donation to help keep Wikipedia alive. I hope you will, too!]:

[Justinian I]¬†traditionally known as¬†Justinian the Great¬†and also¬†Saint Justinian the Great¬†in the¬†Eastern Orthodox Church,[3][4]¬†was the¬†Byzantine (East Roman) emperor¬†from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the empire’s greatness and reconquer the lost¬†western half¬†of the historical Roman Empire. Justinian’s rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history of the¬†Later Roman empire, and his reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized¬†renovatio imperii, or “restoration of the Empire”.[5]

Because of his restoration activities, Justinian has sometimes been called the “last Roman” in modern¬†historiography.[6]¬†This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct¬†western Roman Empire.[7]¬†His general,¬†Belisarius, swiftly conquered the¬†Vandal Kingdom¬†in North Africa. Subsequently, Belisarius,¬†Narses, and other generals conquered the¬†Ostrogothic kingdom, restoring¬†Dalmatia,¬†Sicily,¬†Italy, and¬†Rome¬†to the empire after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths. The¬†prefect Liberius¬†reclaimed the south of the¬†Iberian peninsula, establishing the province of¬†Spania. These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire’s annual revenue by over a million¬†solidi.[8]¬†During his reign Justinian also subdued the¬†Tzani, a people on the east coast of the¬†Black Sea¬†that had never been under Roman rule before.[9]

A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of civil law in many modern states.[10] His reign also marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his building program yielded such masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia. A devastating outbreak of bubonic plague in the early 540s marked the end of an age of splendour.

I didn’t realize that it was Justinian who built the Hagia Sophia, which I know better in the Turkish spelling as Aya Sofia, which is also easier to pronounce! I thought it had been built by the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine I, but I was wrong. Here are my friend Sevket Basdelen and I standing in the gardens in front of Aya Sofia in 2006, when I lived in Istanbul with him:

Sevekt and me in front of Aya Sofia 2006
Sevket and me at the Aya Sofia 2006

Here is an outstanding contemporary portrait of Justinian the Great in mosaic:

Petar MiloŇ°evińá, author

Well, thinking about plague makes me feel that my own virus is a silly little thing, although it sure has made me feel awful: it is not going to kill me!

And I’m going to go, I hope, to the short Saturday session of my partial hospitalization program (PHP) tomorrow, because you get thrown out if you miss three days, and tomorrow would be my third day. Yikes! ūüė¶

I really think the PHP program is helping me, so I hope I get there tomorrow, or actually today, because it is almost 2 am and the van driver calls at 5 am! ūüėõ