Faye on Fate and Futurism: An Addendum

Seneca III sends this afterword to his series on the writings of Guillaume Faye (See: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

Faye on Fate and Futurism
by Seneca III


Reading back this morning reviewing the first two parts of the parts of the series, I realised that I had neglected to keep a commitment I made in Part 2 concerning The Black Death.

Commenting on a preceding paragraph I had said…

… “This was a pandemic of epic proportions. It is estimated to have caused between 30-60 million deaths in Europe alone (it even struck as far north as Iceland and the Eurasian sub-arctic) and far more in Asia, the Middle East and on the Indian sub-continent, although the Antipodes, Oceania and the Americas escaped infection as a result of their physical isolation far from the epicentre. Carried (vectored) by oriental rat fleas living on black rats the pestilence spread by land and sea at an unprecedented rate for its time, and arrived in the Crimea in 1343, spreading throughout Europe thereafter and peaking in the years 1346-53.

I then stated…

Not counting subsequent deaths from starvation, armed conflict and a vulnerability to other disease caused by malnutrition. There was, however, one significant exception [I should have said ‘a few exceptions’] to the worst effects of this near mass extinction which will be explored in Part III.

And so, belated though it may be, here it is.


“During Kazimierz’s* reign, the Black Death, a pandemic infection, swept across Europe, killing millions. But Poland established quarantines at its borders, and the plague skirted Poland almost entirely.”

Zuchora-Walske, Christine, Poland, North Mankato: ABDO Publishing, 2013.

Poland was without doubt far less afflicted with the Black Death than in the rest of Europe although historic assessments of how much (as a percentage of the population) and how many (the number of actual deaths) can vary considerably. Essentially Casimir — by closing the Polish borders putting the country into quarantine both externally and then again internally, thus creating a second line of defence — severely limited the incursions of this virulent pathogen.

Also, Poland’s relative isolation was another contributing factor. Regions of Europe interlinked by sea and land pilgrimage and trade routes on the whole either could not or did not impose such draconian measures.

Furthermore in central Poland, where centres of population were sparsely scattered and rural rather than urban in nature, the inhabitants were more prone to a wariness of ‘strangers’, or ‘travellers’ (who might be disease vectors), and the fact that the long time it took travellers to reach these semi-isolated communities often exceeded the short incubation period of the disease (in humans**), may well have prevented any of the infected from reaching them at all. Couple all of the above with the additional factor that in those days peasants were generally forbidden to travel far beyond their immediate environs, and you have an almost airtight isolation system in the central regions.

Milan and Venice

Milan and Venice also sustained low mortality rates (said to be 15% or less) relative to the rest of Europe by employing similar practices to those in Poland, although these were derived from and applied under rather different circumstances and from a different perspective.

Both the Milanese and the Venetians, because of their extensive trade links and greater proximity to the Asian epicentre, had advance warning of the plague. Also their habits of hygiene and medical knowledge were some of the most developed in Europe, and they understood that the disease could be passed from human to human as well as being inflicted by means of other vectors. Consequently, in Milan in particular, infected households were isolated and rigorously quarantined, and, as Milan was a walled city, the burghers simply locked the gates and used armed force to deny entry to the city. Food and trade goods were brought to the gates, left outside for the Milanese to collect without contact with the traders, and then they in turn left payment for the traders to collect once the townsfolk had retreated back inside.

With respect to Venice it is thought that they originated the concept of forbidding the entry of or contact with outsiders. Using an offshore island as a waiting area they prevented all shipping from physically entering Venice for forty days (‘quaranta giomi’ — thus the origin of the term ‘quarantine’). It appears that this practice was very effective and resulted in a similar survival advantage to that in Milan.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

And, finally, I added this…

“Caveat: Whilst I have not gone so far as to directly categorise Islam as a pathogenic microbial in the mould of Y. pestis, there are some disturbing parallels between their respective epidemiologies: both have made several incursions into Europe and now the West in general —Y. pestis in fact in Australia (1900-20) resulting in a 1000 deaths, mostly in Sydney, and again in the form of several small outbreaks in California in more recent years. Furthermore, both organisms reproduce and spread rapidly in a receptive host environment; both are enzootic, persistent and highly infectious and both can erupt unexpectedly from deep, global reservoirs of that infection.”…so I leave it to the reader to make any connections they may wish between what came to pass in Poland, Milan and Venice seven centuries ago and a possible solution to what is happening in Europe and all across the West today.

— Seneca III, Middle England, 31/03/2016.

*   King Casimir III (1310-1370) crowned in 1333 and the last of his line.
**   Yersinia pestis can survive for at least 24 days in contaminated soil and up to 5 days in/on other substrates.

For links to previous essays by Seneca III, see the Seneca III Archives.

9 thoughts on “Faye on Fate and Futurism: An Addendum

  1. I am a biologist by training, and have also thought that Islam resembles an epidemic, similar to an epidemic of a parasite, which keeps its host alive but debilitates it.

  2. I believe that quarantine and other hygiene laws in Italy were copied from the Jews, as they had a higher survival rate from epidemics. The Jews, of course, were following the Mosaic hygiene laws.

    • You’re a careful reader. At S III’s behest, it has been edited it to reflect the correct date – 1330 should have been 1370.

  3. Because I must have been suffering from brain fade when I transcribed it from my original notes 🙁 Happens a lot at my age 🙁

    It should read:

    ‘King Casimir III (1310-1370) crowned in 1333 and the last of his line.’

    S III

    [Note from the Baron: the text has been corrected accordingly.]

  4. S III:

    Did you ever read Barbara Tuchman’s comprehensive book on the Black Death?

    A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

    She was comparing the century of the Black Death with the (then-current) preoccupation with the possibility of an atomic war apocalypse which would send us back to the Stone Age.

    In her foreword she reminds us that bad news tends to be what is recorded and even enlarged, while quotidian happiness is overlooked. This, she says, makes us look back on the past as more awful than it was. I was reminded of the eulogy in Julius Caesar: The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

    It is a truth worth keeping in the forefront. That is, while what is happening via the elites’ treasonous behavior is echoed and multiplied by our all-pervasive media, individual lives continue as they always have.

    The Islamic invasion may turn out to be as ephemeral as the certainty of the Atomic Apocalypse or it may herald the Beginning of the End. Which is one reason the average person refuses to look too closely while he can still live his own life in relative comfort. I am reminded of my response to 7/7 and my eventual surprise that is was so little remembered or memorialized by the city in which it happened even though the coverage of that horror went on non-stop for weeks. Until the next disaster came along to replace it.

    The fact that the edifice of modern life is crumbling under the double weight of Islam and socialism on steroids can only be addressed in the way that you describe the Black Death being held at bay in pockets of reasonable resolution to limit its spread.

    The spread of a universal anxiety about the future does tend to make for a hedonistically reactive response as one way of coping. For others, it becomes hypervigilance. I wonder if some will choose a life of quietism as a way to survive mentally and spiritually.

    • Interesting point. Bevor’s Berlin gives numerous examples of hedonism in the face of inevitable decline.

  5. Hi, Dymphna,

    No, I’m afraid I haven’t read that particular book although it does appear to hit the nail on the head in view of your comments. I will see if I can pick up a copy to add to my copious pile of material on the Middle Ages 🙂

    Rgds, S III.

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