For the populations of the Balkan peninsula the future, up to a very recent period, was never in any way secure. Hunger, the lack of and high cost of basic foodstuffs, are factors that make for everyday anxiety as they face the future. The whims of the weather often make it impossible for them to satisfy even the most basic of survival needs. However, natural disasters are not always to blame for the difficulties encountered in providing food for the people. The human element, with its concomitant military and all-round political action, infiltrates the systems of nutrition, determines what form they take, and sentences to a painful death those who are biologically and socially weak. In this light, the statement attributed to the Athenians of 1789 does not appear accidental; "It is better to die once of the plague if God so wills, rather than to die each day of hunger".