Thursday, April 29, 2021

Arthro-Pod EP 87: Napoleon versus Insects Part 2

 Hello everyone and welcome back to Arthro-Pod! On today's show, we enter Egypt in part two of our four part series on the history of insects messing with Napoleon. This one has it all, imperialism, plague, war, and intriguing ideas on the origins of issues with the Black Death. Tune in to learn more!

Map of Ottoman Egypt and Syria, showing cities where major events happened during the French Invasion. From The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd (1926).  Via wikimedia, in the public domain.

 The Battle of the Pyramids (1808) by Louis-François Lejeune, who was a French general, painter, and lithographer. While Lejeune was not present at the battle and the painting is stylized, his military training informs many aspects of the piece, including the accurate depiction of the French square and the far distance to the pyramids, which were often made to appear much closer by other painters. Via wikimedia, in the public domain.

Battle of the Nile, Augt 1st 1798, by Thomas Whitcombe,  published as plate 26 in James Jenkin's Naval Achievements of Great Britain from the Year 1793 to 1817. The British fleet under Admiral Horatio Nelson bears down upon the anchored French fleet in Abukir Bay.  Via wikimedia, in the public domain.

The Destruction of "L'Orient" at the Battle of the Nile, 1 August 1798, by George Arnald (1825-27).  Via wikimedia, in the public domain.

Napoleon in Cairo, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1863).  Via wikimedia, in the public domain.

Napoleon visiting the plague victims of Jaffa by Antoine-Jean Gros (1804).   Via wikimedia, in the public domain.

La Bataille du mont Tabor, en Syrie, le 27 germinal an VI by Louis François Lejeune (1808).  Via wikimedia, in the public domain.

Photograph of buboes on the leg of a person who has contracted bubonic plague. Via the CDC Public Health Library, in the public domain.

Oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopsis), one of the main vectors of plague bacteria. Micrograph by James Gathany, CDC. Image in the public domain.

Human  louse (Pediculus humanus), which was an important vector of plague bacteria during the Black Death, which swept across Europe.

A black rat (Rattus rattus), which was the main host of plague bacteria on ships during the three Plague Pandemics, showing off the arboreal nature of the species.

Questions? Comments? 
Follow the show on Twitter @Arthro_Podshow

Follow the hosts on Twitter @bugmanjon@JodyBugsmeUNL, and @MSkvarla36

Get the show through Apple Podcasts!

Subscribe to our feed on Feedburner!  

We're also on Stitcher!

This episode is freely available on and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Beginning/ending theme: "There It Is" by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0