The macroparasitism of Roman times preyed upon the peoples of the world through the vectors of tribute, taxes, and tithes. The poor slobs from Palestine to Portugal bought immunization from barbarian attack by payment to the civilized legions of Caesar and Nero. And the same 'protectors' extended their 'health' to Africa, India, and northern Europe, thus bringing a confluence of four human disease pools into the Mediterranean world which consequently was visited by repeated epidemic. Measles, small-pox, influenza, typhoid, dysentery, mumps, malaria ravaged this world in periodic visits that culminated with Justinian's plague of 543 C.E. as commerce and conquest extended this 'known world.'
The formation of a Mediterranean disease poll transpired during the same centuries of the consolidation of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. McNeill argues that disease and religion were inter-related, the transcendental fatalism of each religion reduced the danger of class struggle against Chinese, Indian, and Roman ruling classes.
It is true that the institutionalized Christians comforted the sick, nursed the dying, and consoled themselves with the thought that death was a release from suffering, and justice might be meted in the afterlife. Thus, did Eusebius of Caesarea complacently credit his church, while the Bishop of Carthage found mortality a "salutary departure." The microbiology of the Roman empire thus became lost in the theological sell-out of the early church fathers.
Yet, the macroparasitism of Rome, "the Whore of Babylon," was denounced by the turned-on drop-out, John of Patmos, who found deliverance in the Seven Angels from the Tent of Testimony with their Seven Plagues and Seven Bowls of the Wrath of God, as he described them in the last book of the Bible, Revelations.
Bowl One poured out foul malignant sores, Bowl Two turned the sea to blood, Bowl Three turned the rivers and springs to blood, Bowl Four burned men with flames, Bowl Five made men gnaw their tongues in darkness, Bowl Six dried up the Euphrates, and Bowl Seven poured huge hailstones ("weighing perhaps a hundredweight") upon Babylon. Such like passages of Revelations remained for nigh two thousand years a source of prophetic hopes to millenarians and revolutionists from the Middle Ages (Joachim of Fiore), through the 17th century (Abiezer Coppe), and into the 20th century (Peter Tosh, Bob Marley).
Class anger rages through Revelations making it less opium for the masses than crack for a vanguard. The kings of the earth who had committed fornication with Babylon and the merchants of the world who grew rich upon her bloated wealth could only weep and mourn. They could no longer buy and sell; "their cargoes of gold and silver, jewels and pearls, cloths of purple and scarlet, silks and fine linens; all kinds of scented woods, ivories, and every sort of thing made of costly woods, bronze, iron, or marble; cinnamon and spice, incense perfumes and frankincense; wine, oil, flour and wheat, sheep and cattle, horses, chariots, slaves, and the lives of men."