Examining one particular plague epidemic in Ottoman Egypt—that of 1791—this chapter shows how plague was part and parcel of the pathology of the Egyptian environment, coming once every nine years on average throughout the medieval and early modern periods. Like the annual Nile flood, grain shortages, rainfall, famine, and other hardships, Egyptians considered plague an accepted and expected environmental reality at the end of the eighteenth century. Taking its cues from these Egyptians, this chapter analyzes the multiple means through which plague functioned as a regular part of the Egyptian environment to argue for the inclusion of the disease in the study of Egypt’s ecology alongside flood, famine, wind, animals, and drought.
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