The course of the 1347–1353 epidemic has been well authenticated, although its point of origin remains uncertain. Various areas in central or western Asia have been proposed, without any conclusive evidence. In any case, the dis-ease spread across the Asian steppes in the 1330s and was then carried by ship from the Crimea to Sicily in 1347. Alexandria and Constantinople also faced the disease that autumn, and before the year’s end plague had gained footholds in Italian ports (notably Pisa, Venice, and Genoa) as well as southern France (Marseilles) and the coast of Dalmatia. After the end of 1347, plague spread across Europe by both land and sea; thus it reached Florence (by land) and the Aragon coast (by sea) in early 1348, much of the rest of Italy by that spring, and southern France in the spring and summer. Northern Spain was also infected, in part from Bordeaux by way of the sea. By late in the summer of 1348, plague had come by sea to England’s south coast, Ireland’s east coast, and northern France, while it gradually spread overland from Italy into southern Germany in the same year. In the course of 1349, plague’s spread continued from the south and west into cen-tral Germany and the Danube valley; into northern England and the rest of Ireland; and by sea to western Scandinavia and some points on the Baltic coast. By 1350 Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, and northern Germany had plague; in 1351, eastern Baltic lands; and in 1352 and 1353 plague reached first western Russia and Ukraine, and then Muscovy. The epidemic had therefore completed a clock-wise circuit through Europe, from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean, then from southern and western Europe into northern and eastern parts. The regions first affected (the Crimea) and last affected (Muscovy) were not that far apart….Europe before the Black Death This great epidemic made its way across a Europe whose social and eco-nomic stability, and the very health of its inhabitants, had been weakening in the earlier years of the fourteenth century. When we consider plague as an agent of social change, that weakness must be kept in mind. Not all the disasters of the fourteenth century can be ascribed to the epidemic, and the preplague condition of the society helps explain the epidemic’s course.