Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Tale of Hubric Cities

From Geov Parrish for 10 March 1945:

During World War II, 300 U.S. B-29 bombers drop almost 2,000 tons of incendiaries on Tokyo, Japan, destroying large portions of the Japanese capital and killing 100,000 civilians. Early in the morning, the B-29s dropped their bombs of napalm and magnesium incendiaries over the packed residential districts along the Sumida River in eastern Tokyo. The conflagration quickly engulfed Tokyo's wooden residential structures, and the subsequent firestorm replaced oxygen with lethal gases, superheated the atmosphere, and caused hurricane-like winds that blew a wall of fire across the city. The majority of the 100,000 dead perished from carbon monoxide poisoning and the sudden lack of oxygen, but others died horrible deaths within the firestorm, such as those who attempted to find protection in the Sumida River, and were boiled alive, or those who were trampled to death in the rush to escape the burning city.

The Sack of Rome 410 A.D.
The sack, although short-lived, had a profound effect on Rome. There was no food in the city, and a chaotic situation prevailed. The Roman slave economy had also finally collapsed, because almost any slave could afford freedom in the glutted and depressed slave market. Roman population numbers, already reduced since the departure of the government apparatus with Constantine ninety years earlier, again fell precipitously as droves of Romans quickly dispersed into the hills and countryside. Additional waves of barbarians, interspersed with outbreaks of plague and wars, ensured that Rome's population would not again meet its highest imperial peak until the 20th century.

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