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Black Death Essay

1348 words - 6 pages

The Black Death, also known as the Black Plague, or the Bubonic Plague killed one third of the population of Europe during its reign in the 13th and 14th centuries. The arrival of this plague set the scene for years of strife and heroism. Leaving the social and
Economic aspect in a standstill. The phantom of death became a subject of art, music and folklore and it influenced the consciousness of the people. The impact of this mass killer caused enormous chaos and havoc to the medieval society because of its unknown origin, the unknown causes and preventions, its deathly symptoms and its breakdown of orderly life, therefore religion was greatly affected and changed.
In 1347, a Tartar army ...view middle of the document...

Realizing what a deadly disaster had come to them, the people quickly drove the Italians from their city. But the disease remained, and soon death was everywhere. (The Black Death)
     One eyewitness account said this “"The mortality in Siena began in May. It was a cruel and horrible thing. . . . It seemed that almost everyone became stupefied seeing the pain. It is impossible for the human tongue to recount the awful truth. Indeed, one who did not see such horribleness can be called blessed. The victims died almost immediately. They would swell beneath the armpits and in the groin, and fall over while talking. Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another; for this illness seemed to strike through breath and sight. An so they died. None could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship. Members of a household brought their dead to a ditch as best they could, without priest, without divine offices. In many places in Siena great pits were dug and piled deep with the multitude of dead. And they died by the hundreds, both day and night, and all were thrown in those ditches and covered with earth. And as soon as those ditches were filled, more were dug. I, Agnolo di Tura . . . buried my five children with my own hands. . . . And so many died that all believed it was the end of the world." (another description) Fathers abandoned their sick sons. Lawyers refused to come and make out wills for the dying. Friars and nuns were left to care for the sick, and monasteries and convents were soon deserted, as they were stricken, too. Bodies were left in empty houses, and there was no one to give them a Christian burial. The terror of this seemingly unstoppable march of death was the unknown nature of its origin. The absence of an identifiable earthly cause gave the plague supernatural and sinister quality. (The Black Death: Bubonic Plague)
The plague had stunned Europe and everywhere people were desperate for explanations and answers to their many questions. Most explanations were based on folklore, superstition, and rumor. Blame was frequently placed on travelers and other suspicious outsiders. Some blamed invisible particles carried in the wind, others talked of poisoned wells. An earthquake, which had a carved a path of wreckage from Naples to Venice in the summer of 1347, was blamed for releasing gases into the air which poisoned all on whom they fell. The scholars of the University of Paris stated that the Black Death resulted from a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius, occurring on the 20th of March 1345' but added they didn't
know how. Others blamed Jews for poisoning wells which inspired more than 350 massacres across Germany and Switzerland. Many Jews who escaped fled to Poland. (The Black Death)
Also, hysterical charges of sorcery and witchcraft were brought against eccentric or unpopular people. The violence against...

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