Le rat noir (Rattus rattus) en Europe antique et médiévale : les voies du commerce et l'expansion de la peste

Frédérique AUDOIN-ROUZEAU & Jean-Denis VIGNE

fr Anthropozoologica 25-26 - Pages 399-404

Published on 01 June 1998

This article is a part of the thematic issue Proceedings of the 7th ICAZ International Meeting, Constance, September 1994

The black rat (Rattus rattus) in Roman and Madieval Europe: the commercial roads and the spread of plague

This paper is based on a large and critical census of black rat bone discoveries in Europe (Audoin-Rouzeau et Vigne, 1994 ). The analysis of these data shows that the species was confined to the great commercial roads during the first millennium AD and that the population density strongly increased from the 11th-13th centuries AD, probably in response to urban growth. This gradual expansion contributes to an explanation of the different geographical impacts of the plague waves of the Early and of the Late Medieval periods.


Rattus rattus, Europe, Roman Age, Middle Ages, commercial roads, plague.

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