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The Black Death
Transcript of The Black Death
Symptoms of The Black Death
Bubonic Plague :
What did people at the time believe caused the Black Death?
The Black Death first occurred in 1348. Later outbreaks in 1361, 1369, 1374 and 1390.
The plague arrived at Melcombe Regis in Dorset in June 1348.
The total death toll was over 40% of the entire country ( England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland)
This made people suddenly feel very cold and tired. Painful swellings (buboes) appeared in their arm pits and groin and small blisters all over their body. This was followed by high fevers and severe headaches. Many lingered, unconscious for several days before death. This form of the Black Death was spread by fleas.
This attacked the victims lungs, causing breathing problems. Victims began to cough up blood and died more rapidly than those who had bubonic plague. This form of the Black Death was spread by people breathing or coughing germs onto one another.
Symptoms of The Black Death
Day 1 :
Painful swellings called buboes appeared in the victims arm pits and groin. The were usually about the size of an egg, but could sometimes be as big as an apple.
Day 2 :
The victim vomited and developed a fever.
Day 3 :
Bleeding under the skin cause dark blotches all over the body.
The disease attacks the nervous system, this causes the victim to suffer spasms, the victim would be in terrible pain
Day 5 :
Day 4 :
Sometimes the buboes burst and a foul-smelling black liquid oozed from the open boils. when this happened the victim usually lived, however in most cases the victims suffered a painful death
Movement of planets and suns - breathing in bad air
God and the Devil
Invisible fumes or poisons in the air
What do people believe now caused the Black Death?
• Bubonic plague was spread by fleas which lived on the black rats.
• The fleas sucked the rats blood which contained the plague germs.
• When the rat dies the fleas jump onto humans and passed on the deadly disease.
How did people in the medieval period believe they could prevent the Black Death?
• The king and his bishop sent out orders for churchmen to lead processions, pleading with God to end the pestilence.
• Some people made candles their own height and lit them in churches as an offering to God. Fun Fact: In Barcelona the citizens tried to protect themselves by making a candle seven kilometres long – enough to encircle the whole city.
• Carry a bunch of herbs and hold them at their nostrils all the time.
• Force the sick out of the village
• Pray to God and ask for his forgiveness
• Run away from the infected areas
• Go on pilgrimages to Canterbury, Walsingham and other holy places
• Burn sweet smelling wood in their houses
• Bury/Burn the clothes of the plague victims
• You shouldn’t go near stagnant water, slaughter houses or rubbish heaps
• Some people walked through London singing hymns and whipping each other to show how sorry they were
What were the medieval cures for the Black Death?
• To soften the swellings with figs and cooked onions. The onions should be mixed with yeast and butter. Then open the swelling with a knife.
• Take a live frog and put its belly on the plague sore. The frog will swell up and burst. Keep doing this with further frogs until they stop bursting. Some people say that a dried toad will do the job better.
Do the medieval cures/beliefs about the Black Death show a period of progress or regress in Medicine?
The medieval cures/beliefs about the Black Death show a period of regress. This is because they believed that supernatural things such as the movement of the planets and God and the Devil caused the plague. They also acted on theses beliefs by doing things that made the plague spread further such as killing the dongs and cats which were the natural predators of the rats and whipping themselves which opened up wounds so they would catch the disease more easily. It also shows regress as although some things they did to prevent the plague were not to do with supernatural beings they were irrational and selfish such as forcing the sick to leave the village and burning sweet smelling wood in their houses, these are non-medical cures that would not have worked. There may be an argument that they did try to cure the plague with the herbal remedies to soften the swellings and the frog sucking out the puss and it is true that is the swelling was bust and the poison came out people sometimes survived but overall the focus was mainly of Supernatural causes and prevention instead of the natural logical remedies and answers.
By Esther and Fran