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Black Death

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Bec Hunt

on 3 May 2013

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Transcript of Black Death

The plague had a number of positive and negative affects on the social, medical, religious, political and economical aspects of life The Black Death “it was always a catalyst” The Basics Social Medical & Technological Religious Political Economical Depopulation allowed for social mobility -> led to a wider spread of rich and poor
Emergence of the yeoman farmers
Yeomen and lesser gentry - elite of the local village, but excluded from the administrative process and taxed relatively highly compared to the peasants
Led to \Peasant’s Revolt (1381)\
Lords - slipping from role as producer-consumer to just consumer
This caused an overhaul of the feudal system, and consequentially a major change to society. Social Structure Black Death caused population to decrease drastically, people began to value life more
Before - mothers didn’t get too attached to children - such a high mortality rate (half of the children under 7 died)
After - introduction of balcony railing law to prevent children falling to their deaths
Rebuilding projects - built to last for future generations - shows forward thinking.
Both of these examples show the new value for human life, as they were trying to prevent death, and were thinking ahead for future generations Value for Human Life Shift social classes - get a taste for what a better life could be like
Rise of revolutionists who pushed for social change
John Ball - promoted individuality over the interests of the feudal system and community
“lords be no greater masters than we”
all men were created equal, and if God wanted levels in society, he would have made them from the beginning
“cast off the yoke of bondage, and recovery liberty”
everyone should think for themselves,
By dispatching nobles and leaders: peace & surety, equality & liberty
Upper classes felt negatively toward this new found liberty of lower classes
Jean de Venette (1348), an upper-class French chronicler: “more avaricious and grasping” and “more covetous and disturbed”
Enemies of the King of France and the Church were “stronger and wickeder than before,” which indicates the rise in peasants who were against the social structure the King and Church implemented. Individualism Improvements The effects of the plague caused a number of developments in the birth of modern technology and medicine. Priests under criticism for abusing power/being corrupt
Thought plague sign world coming to end
Looked to Church for answers but just as ignorant - couldn’t provide reasons for plague
People began to lose faith in the Church, began to doubt the Church was omnipotent
Many turned to cults of mysticism
Brotherhood of the Flagellants - group of Christian zealots - walk from town to town, whipped themselves as penance for their sins.
Appealed to commoners - appeared to be doing something as opposed to the Church who did nothing
Pope Clement VI felt threatened by growing influence of Flagellants - they caused commotion in towns, which sometimes led to uprisings against authority Faith lost in Church Anti-Semitic Views Cessation of wars
British parliament didn’t meet
Many law and administrative routines suspended
Law crumbled in many towns, no one to enforce it Immediate Effects Upper classes felt threatened by movement of peasants -attempted to enforce laws that limited the peasant’s ability to gain wealth, and secured the positions of the elite
Ordinance of Labourers (1349): which limited peasant’s freedoms so that they couldn’t move around and search for better paying work
Peasant rebellions: French Jacquerie (1358), England (1381)
“strong enough to aspire to greater liberty”
Declining effectiveness of the village government, abolition of villeinage
Commoners gained more power - elected Sir Peter de la Mere as 1st Speaker of the House of Commons (1376)
Commoners presented grievances to the lords through him Major Changes Leading up to 14th C.- a few “good centuries” - no great famines/terrible weather.
Trade routes opened up between Europe and Asia
Expansion of market economy
Many citizens dependent on the market - vulnerable to fluctuations in prices
Dependence on market + weakening of society due to The Great Famine + diseases = unstable economic situation that was greatly influenced by the Black Death Before Food in supply - weren’t as many consumers = cheaper
Henry Knighton: grain was so abundant, “almost no one cared for it”
Jean de Venette: everything twice as dear - due to the greed of people
Labour was scarce - higher demand for labourers = higher wages
(Munro, 2004): wages gradually rose After Originated in the central Asian Steppes - spread along trade routes to Caffa and Sicily. It then moved through Italy and then up and into Europe Spread Reaction "Cures Blame Christians blamed Jews for causing the plague
Jews - isolated communities - less susceptible to plague -many Christians believed Jews caused the it
Poisoned water and air
“suddenly and violently charged with infecting wells and water and corrupting the air,”
“whole world rose up against them cruelly”
“granted that they were actually perpetuated, [the poisonings] could not have caused so great a plague nor have infected so many people”
But most contemporary source believed Jews did it
“public rumour had become current and a strong clamour had risen because of the poison put by them into the wells, springs, and other things which the Christians use demanding that they are able to be found guilty and, therefore, that they should be punished”
Uprisings - demanded Jews punished
“great indignation and clamour against deputies”
Thousands of Jews tortured, burnt & butchered
Destroyed them financially as well as physically - all debts, and everything owed to the Jews was cancelled
“the money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews”
Change in relationship between Christians and Jews + loss in Jewish numbers and wealth = “catastrophic downfall” in Jewry Hygiene - rudimentary across Europe
Disease spread from rats to humans via parasitic fleas
Bacteria that caused bubonic plague: Yersinia Pestis - lived in the foregut of the flea and moved to the human when the flea bit the human, also transmitted via association with the sick and dead
‘Black Death’: Bubonic + Pneumonic + Septicaemic plagues
Bubonic plague: swelling of the lymph nodes into growths called ‘buboes’ in the armpits and groin, fevers, aching joints and limbs, delirium, vomiting, low blood pressure, multi-organ failure, internal bleeding, purple splotches on the skin Pneumonic plague: affected lungs, caused victim to cough up blood
Septicaemic plague: carried in the bloodstream
Died within 5 days
25-60% of Europe’s total
population dead Symptoms Confusion and panic
Medical science primitive: didn't know where the plague came from, what caused it or what to do about it
One group avoided luxury and lived moderately
Other group went mad, drinking constantly and having house parties, “the owners [of the houses], seeing imminent death, had become as reckless of their property as of their lives”
People tried to avoid each other
Healthy “banned together, and dissociating themselves from all others, formed communities in houses where there were no sick, and lived a separate and secluded life”
Authorities tried to implement measures to combat the plague.
This not only shows ignorance and fear of the disease, but also the lack of medical technology to fight the plague. Milan, Nurembourg & Florence: “cleansing of the city from impurities,” - paving and cleaning the streets, taking the sick out of the city, refusing entry to any new sick people
Pistoia: 15 Ordinances that ordained how people should react in regards to the Black Plague, the sick and the dead
Absurd suggestions: carrying flowers, rosemary, amber or musk, blood letting, avoiding sleep during the day, avoiding sad thoughts, drinking potions with mercury, arsenic and ‘unicorn horn’ and strapping live animals to the buboes to draw out the evil
Carrying aromatic materials would have supposedly kept the bad air away
Blood letting would take out the bad blood and restore the body to health
Many of the other ‘remedies’ do not have a particular explanation, besides the fact that medieval people were willing to try anything to avoid and get rid of the plague. Popular belief among the scientists and more educated people of the time was that the Saturn, Jupiter and Mars lined up in such a way that they caused chemical imbalances on Earth
Miasmatic theory: disease spread through the bad air made by dead corpses
Sent by God to punish people for their sins
All of these explanations show that the people of medieval Europe didn’t really have any idea about where the plague originated or how to combat it. The plague made this fact particularly evident, which resulted in more attention on the advancement of medicine and technology Loss of so many people: forced the invention of labour-saving devices such as the printing press and the mill
Rowland Vaughan: developed an irrigation technique that solved the problem of meadow and hay shortages
Crop-farming techniques improved
Virtually no famine
Pressure to develop + industrialisation = industrial revolution Cooke: diseases people suffered from didn’t change throughout the 15th and 16th centuries
Clark & Bryant: plague caused a number of medical research schools to be founded
Consequent epidemics: people “died less readily,” as the population was healthier and stronger due to having more food and more people living in better houses Medical Technological "
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