The Black Death Of The 14th Century

1315 words - 6 pages

The Black Death of the 14th Century
The Black Death began in 1348 creating one of the most horrifying pandemics to ever happen in human history. After devastating millions of people, the Black Death finally came to an end in 1350. It is believed that it originated in Central Asia, and then spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe area. Symptoms of the bubonic plague spread quickly across Europe killing almost one-third of its population, causing a dramatic change in the peasant's religious, social, and economic life.
What is the Black Death? The Black Death was a bubonic plague pandemic that struck England in the Fourteenth Century. The bubonic plague is a disease that occurs mainly ...view middle of the document...

“In many places, it was rumored that plague patients were buried alive,” (Hecker 64). People who were handling the dead bodies did not protect themselves in any way, which only helped spread the disease. On top of that, the streets in the cities and towns were full of litter. This filth gave rats the ideal environment to breed in, only increasing their number (“The Black Death of 1348 to 1350”). As the rat population increased, Europe's population only decreased, causing substantial changes throughout.
During the Middle Ages, religion had a major impact in a peasant's life. Medieval Society would look up to the Church for comfort and many other things. When the Church could not save the people from the disease, the started to question their beliefs (“Black Death”). With the lack of medical knowledge, people would try anything to prevent themselves from getting the disease (“The Black Death of 1348 to 1350”). Many thought it was a punishment from God for the sins of the people. This created a group called the flagellants. Flagellants were people who went from town to town doing penance in public in hope for forgiveness from God. They would show love to God by whipping themselves until they bled, hoping that God would forgive them of their sins and keep them from getting the Black Death. “They inflicted all sort of punishments upon themselves, trying to atone for the evil of the world, sacrificing themselves for the world's sins in imitation of Jesus” (“The Black Death” ORB). For thirty-three and a half days (each day referred to a year of Jesus's earthly life) the flagellants would repeat their ritual twice a day in the town that they were in. The ritual would involve them going into a town whipping themselves with heavy leather straps studded with sharp pieces of metal. Then the master would read a letter, that was said to be brought by an angel from heaven and left at the Church (“Black Death”). The flagellants did provide some comfort to the people who felt powerless. The Church was unable to protect the people and its clergy, which led to a major loss of power. There were three main reasons that led to the decrease of belief in the Church. They were: failure to help the suffering, incompetency of the new priests, and wealth while everyone else was suffering (“The Black Death”). The Church became richer through bequests, and charging ore money for its services, but lost many people at the same time. Most of the clergy fled, and the ones who did stay, usually got the disease while taking care of the victims. Some of the priests would not help the suffering, which resulted in a bad reputation for the Church. Many thought the only way to overcome the plague was to win God's forgiveness.
The Black Death caused major social and economic consequences in Europe. Jews were...

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