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The Black Death
Transcript of The Black Death
“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. And 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."
Imagine walking down the street, and every fourth person you saw would die within three years.
At the end of the 13th century
the warm period ended
The climate again...
Food shortages and
susceptibility to infections
, heavy rains began to fall,
followed by several years of cold
and wet winters
1315 to 1317
the Great Famine,
the worst in European history,
reducing the population by
more than 10 percent.
Caffa, Crimea peninsula, 1347
the Mongol army was suffering the disease, they catapulted the infected corpses over the city walls to infect the inhabitants
The Genovese traders fled, taking the plague by ship into Sicily and the south of Europe
The disease may have traveled along the Silk Road with Mongol armies
Swollen lymph glands (buboes) often occur in the neck, armpit and groin (inguinal) regions which oozed pus and bleed when opened.
and vomiting of
Some accounts noted a distinct form of the disease which infected the lungs and led to respiratory problems and which is identified with
Most victims died within two to seven days after infection
The importance of hygiene was recognized
only in the 19th century
Streets were filthy, with live animals of all sorts around and human parasites abounding
The dominant explanation
foregut of the flea is blocked by a Y. pestis biofilm; when the flea attempts to feed on an uninfected host Y. pestis is regurgitated into the wound, causing infection.
It killed an estimated
20 million–100 million
people in the 14th century.
1/3 - 1/2 of the European population
died in a 4 years period.
The cities were the worst place to be...
Monks & priests died by thousands...
No one was safe...
King Alfonso XI of Castilla died
King Peter IV of Aragon lost his wife, daughter and a niece in 6 months.
Joan of England, daughter of Edward III, died in Bordeaux
The Byzantine Emperor lost his son
Joan of Navarre, daughter of Louis X was also killed by the plague
Renewed religious fervor and fanaticism bloomed
Some targeted various groups such as Jews, foreigners, beggars, pilgrims, lepers
Lepers, and other individuals with skin diseases such as acne or psoriasis, were exterminated throughout Europe.
There were many attacks against Jewish communities.
In August 1349, the Jewish communities of Mainz and Cologne were exterminated.
In February of that same year, the citizens of Strasbourg murdered 2,000 Jews.
By 1351, 60 major and 150 smaller Jewish communities were destroyed.
No one, the Church included, was able to cure or accurately explain the reasons for the plague outbreaks.
This led to cynicism against official religion
Almost everybody believed this was a punishment from God
Some of them tried to mimic the sufferings of Jesus
Unfortunately, the flagellants traveled from town to town and may have more likely contributed to the actual spreading of the disease, rather than its cure.