Landscapes of Disease: Malaria in Modern Greece


Gardikas, Katerina. Landscapes of Disease: Malaria in Modern Greece. Budapest, New York: Central European University Press, 2018.


Malaria existed in Greece since prehistoric times. Its prevalence fluctuated depending on climatic, socioeconomic and political changes. The book focuses on the factors that contributed to the spreading of the disease in the years between independent statehood in 1830 and the elimination of malaria in the 1970s.

By the nineteenth century, Greece was the most malarious country in Europe and the one most heavily infected with its lethal form, falciparum malaria. Owing to pressures on the environment from economic development, agrarian colonization and heightened mobility, the situation became so serious that malaria became a routine part of everyday life for practically all Greek families, further exacerbated by wars. The country’s highly fragmented geography and its variable rainfall distribution created an environment that was ideal for sustaining and spreading the disease. These factors, in turn, affected the tolerance of the population to malaria. In their struggle with physical suffering and death, the Greeks developed a culture of avid quinine consumption and were likewise eager to embrace the DDT spraying campaign of the immediate post WWII years, which, overall, had a positive demographic effect.

Chapter 1: Malaria: An Ancient and Global Disease 
Chapter 2: The Fragmented Geography of the Disease 
Chapter 3: Malaria in Peace and War 
Chapter 4: Patients, Doctors, and Cures 

Reviewed in

American Historical Review 125:3 (June 2020) by Andrew Robarts
Bulletin of the History of Medicine 94:2 (Summer 2020) by Jesse Bump
Hungarian Historical Review 8:4 (2019) by Róbert Balogh

Journal of Modern Greek Studies
 by David Idol

Medical History
 by Lion Murard

Social History of Medicine
by Vassiliki Theodorou

Technology and Culture
 62:1 (January 2021) by Daniel Gallardo-Albarrán

 36 (2017-2018) by Vangelis Karamanolakis 

isbn: 978-6155211980