Black lung
(1,346 words)

1. Pulmonary disease in the early modern period

Black lung (pneumoconiosis, “miner’s lung”) is a chronic disease of the respiratory passages caused by continuous inhalation of particular types of dust. Ancient authors like the Greek lexicographer Pollux and the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder were already aware that miners and metalworkers were often affected by respiratory diseases (which were then called ásthma or phthisía in Greek). But it was only in the contex…

Cite this page
Gadebusch-Bondio, Mariacarla, “Black lung”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 24 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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