Between AD 250–262, a pestilence raged all over the Roman Empire, from Egypt to the Hebrides. In some Italian cities, up to four-fifths of the population were wiped out. Men died like flies. Gibbons says that statisticians of the succeeding age estimated that one-half the human race perished in twelve years!
In the 6th century, the bubonic plague spread to Europe as part of a recurring cycle in the entire Roman world for 50 years. The Venerable Bede mentions four distinct waves between 664–683.
Another most terrible plague was the Black Death of 1347–48. It was estimated that one-fourth of Europe’s population died, about 25 million.
Even as late as 1918, an influenza epidemic killed in four weeks more than twice as many as the warring armies had destroyed in four years.
“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences . . .” – Matthew 24:7