Ancient Contagion

Social distancing may be a novel concept today, but the first enforced quarantine was some 4,000 years ago, according to tablets excavated from the ancient realm of Mari, in the northeast of what is now Syria.
 
While the gods’ fury—rather than germs—was the presumed source of summum, a mysterious skin disease, the king of Mari had broadly the right idea when it came to flattening the curve.  
 
The disease was recognized as contagious, isolation measures were enforced, and the king railed against the non-compliant, and contaminated items were “ritually purified.”
 
“Think Lysol, but with added oxen sacrifices and studying of entrails.”
 
Narratively

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