The Plague of Athens

Disastrous History: A Disasters of History Podcast

In 430 BC, in the midst of the Peloponnesian War, the powerful city-state of Athens was struck down by a disastrous plague. Athenians fell sick with a dizzying array of symptoms, from fevers and vomiting to painful pustules that broke out all over people’s bodies. In total it killed roughly a third of the city’s population and caused a total breakdown in Athenian society.

Dan is joined by Alastair Blanchard, Deputy Head of the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. He explains the repercussions of this terrible epidemic and discusses some of its possible causes.

Produced by James Hickmann and edited by Ella Blaxill.

Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code DANSNOW sign up now for your 14-day free trial.

We’d love to hear from you! You can email the podcast at

You can take part in our listener survey here.