Impact of the Black Death
Impact of the Black Death fin571
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Date Created: 11/11/15
Impact of the Black Death TITLE NAME COURSE INSTRUCTOR March 19, 2012 Page 1 Impact of the Black Death The term “black death” refers to a pandemic which had ravaged th Western Europe, Middle East, Asia and the North America during the 14 century. It was a plague that covered and was in a large part of the European and the Asian countries between the periods 1347 to 1351. Black Death was a period that had created havoc during the time when it had occurred. It made the lives of people a complete blunder. It killed people. European population had reduced to onethird of its initial population. People used to die in hundreds and thousands. Lives were taken away in numerously and mercilessly. It even happened that many members from the same family had been killed due to this widespread of plague. This in numerous and merciless death of humans had affected the minds of the other humans very badly. They had all lost hopes in their lives. They had turned into a living stone. These were individuals with hearts and minds but no feelings (Zachary Peschke, 2007). It badly affected the psychology of the people. Many even lost their mental stability of mind. It also produced adverse affects on their cultural and religious beliefs. It had ushered a new age of pessimism. People lost their faith in God. They became dumb. They all had become senseless or rather it can be said that those humans who had faced this Black Death had become lifeless. Before the advent of Black Death, that is basically during the thirteenth century Europe had become one of the richest countries in the world. It had a very good amount of land which it used for agricultural purposes. It produced so much food as there were not even many humans to consume it. They had a rich agricultural diversity. They had even started with their foreign exchange business and they thrived well on it (Zachary Peschke, 2007). Thus, it can be seen clearly that people in the thirteenth century had a very luxurious and comfortable life and they were all happy with it. Page 2 Impact of the Black Death But then came the period of black hour or the period of Black Death which destroyed everything. It not only affected the personal lives of people but also their professional lives. Since people died in huge numbers due to plague so science and economy was also affected very badly. It had put a halt to the science and intellectual endeavors (Tom James, 2011). Due to death of people the economy of the country was also affected badly. The population was hit hard so the workforce was destroyed, buildings collapsed and the farms were abandoned. Since many people died, this means that the labor class was even affected. Many people were killed even in their community. The death of the labors had created a shortage of labors in the agricultural and technical field. So, their demands and price had risen up (Zachary Peschke, 2007). They demanded more salaries since they knew it well that people are less and work has to be done, so they are in demand and so they will be paid whatever they ask for. The skyrocketing price of the labors had even increased the prices of the goods. Though food was not that expensive because the population was less that means there were so many deaths that enough people were even not spared to consume the left over stuffs. Black Death was a pandemic that was caused by the widespread of bubonic plague. This bubonic plague was a disease. This disease was caused by a bacterium from a flea. This flea was commonly found to be attached to the black rats. These black rats used to travel from Asia to Europe thereby spreading the disease, plague (Tom James, 2011). This was how plague occurred and then got transmitted through black rats to different parts of the world. This gave birth to the advent of Black Death. Now, Black Death was believed to be transmitted due to plague in different parts. But many theories came up which proved that Black Death was not only alone transmitted by plague rather Page 3 Impact of the Black Death another disease called anthrax also helped in the transmission of this Black Death. Anthrax is a form of a cattle disease. The combined effect of plague and anthrax had led to widespread of “black death”. This was all about the scientific or the medicinal belief that the Black Death is spread due to plague and anthrax. Now, coming to the religious or rational belief, it was thought that Black Death is caused due to the sins and immoral behaviors of the humans. It was strongly believed by humans that it was bad omens and practices that had caused so many deaths (Tom James, 2011). Doctors were continuously trying to explain people that lives are taken away due to plague. This disease was spreading through air. It was a contagious disease and so the people who suffered from it should be kept in isolation for some time. But these things were not understood by people and they formed their own beliefs regarding it. Some even thought that Black Death was caused due to the evil black magic that some enemies had spell on them, or due the serpents and snakes (Chris Butler, 2007). Actually, these animals were very uncommon in the European lands and so they were associated with the spread of diseases that caused pain and agony. This was people’s assumption and belief about the air that caused only deaths. But, another big explanation that people gave, unable to relate Black Death with their superstitions, is that it is the Jewish peoples who are residing in their native lands and causing this suffering to the Europeans. This explanation was gaining popularity and people had even started believing it to be true when their doubt was confirmed by some Jews (Chris Butler, 2007). Making those Jews a captive in their jail, they started torturing them to confess the fault which they have not committed. Tired of all these physical and mental tortures the captives committed that it was the only who had poisoned their waters and is responsible for everyone’s misery. So, the Jews were then thrown out of their areas. This led to the Page 4 Impact of the Black Death persecution of the Jewish people in some areas even before the plague had actually reached them. The thrown away Jews landed to Poland and Ukraine (Chris Butler, 2007). This was an injustice which was being done on the Jews. So in order to stop it Pope Clement VI issued a papal bull to stop the killing of Jews without a proper judicial verdict but to no use (Sherman, 1991) . Not much justice was done to the Jews and they had to face the consequences of the crime which they had not even committed. The phenomenon of Black Death had a serious impact on the minds and hearts of people. They all reacted to this unnatural disaster in a different and dramatic way. Persecution of the Jews was just one sample of their dramatic reaction to this awful era (Assaf Pinkus, 2010). Coming to the religious beliefs, it was assumed by some people that this untimely death was caused due to their sins and immoral behaviors. So, in order to get rid of it a large section of people started to lead a temperate life that is life of much more restrictions and self restraints. They started leading a separate and scheduled life in which they talked less only to the extent which was needed and nothing extra. They started eating and drinking also less, drinks were only restricted to good high quality wines. Their life became a very preplanned type so that they do not cause harm to others even by mistake or utter anything that offends someone. Now even this was not enough (Assaf Pinkus, 2010). There were certain group of people who strongly felt that it was their sins who is causing them so much of suffering and so in order to get rid of it they should visit every church and clergymen and ask for forgiveness of their crimes which they might have ever committed , knowing or unknowingly. They even formed their group and visited town to town whipping themselves for their sins as well as violating violence and disorder wherever they went. They believed that if they follow this path of repentance then they would be surely able to cast away their sins and prevent this unwanted deaths. Page 5 Impact of the Black Death There were people who were crying over for whatever was happening and had become more and more religious that is they started praying to God to stop this downpour of curse on them and forgive them for their sins (Assaf Pinkus, 2010). But, on the other hand it was seen that there were even some people who had become non religious and non pious. They thought that since God had turned his back upon them so even they turned away their faces from him. They stopped worshipping him. They started engaging themselves in parties and feasts and started the celebrations of being alive. They enjoyed the happiness of being alive and so they ate and drank to the fullest. They ate gluttonous meals, drank richest wines and alcohols, gambled to the fullest, wore their best attires possible and partied with their hearts open till they were satisfied to the beam. They expressed their various feelings of life and death through poetry, drama, writings, visual art, music and many more. They even organized a dance that showed a procession between life and death. They started taking things lightly. They believed that death is a thing which will happen to all, early or late, then why we should be afraid of it. We being humans have no control over it. We are helpless and cannot do anything then why to waste our time thinking over it and not enjoying the moments which we have in hand now. We are lucky to have this moment so we will be lucky to enjoy it and make the best possible use of it as possible. Black Death had huge and different effects on different classes. It had affected the field of modern medicine, science and technology, the peasant or the labor class and also the economy (Sherman, 1991) . While the rich turned richer, the poor became even poorer. There were families that rose in status following Black Death while there were families who fell in their status. It happened that a wealthy family with a large land holding was wiped out of their wealth due to couple of unlucky deaths. It was the peasant class which suffered much benefit during this period of Black Death. Since Page 6 Impact of the Black Death plague had equally affected the lives of the labor class and was causing their deaths as well so the number of peasants to work on the farms had reduced in number. Large amount of land was left for agriculture but the number of workers to work on it was few in number. So this had led to the increase in the demand of the workers (William M. Bowsky, 1964). They knew that they were much in demand and so demanded that all their needs should be fulfilled if the higher class wanted that their work is completed on time. Their demands rose so much that it was once stated by a chronicler that the peasants desired equality among all people except the king. Due to plague and untimely deaths of many people, there were kings who died leaving behind their property and wives. The wives after the death of their husbands became widow. These widows had right to onethird of the wealth of their dead husbands. So, widows prospered. Now, if they chose to remarry another man, they now have enough material and wealth to do so (William M. Bowsky, 1964). So, it can be seen that women suffered a step rise during this period since they became more independent to take their decision and lead their life they wanted to live in. Now coming to the scientific and medical field it was seen that modern medicine was on the upper rise a lot of changes were made in the field of public health and hospital management. People started becoming frustrated with the diagnoses of Black Death that revolved around astrology and superstitious beliefs of the humans. So, the educators started reviving the importance of clinical medicine based on physical science. While schools were initially closed down due to the lack of educators, new schools were established promoting higher education among individuals. So, it was seen that plague gave rise to higher education. New schools were established with their charters Page 7 Impact of the Black Death mentioning that they have evolved to ensure higher and better quality education and also to submerge the gap that was created by this “black death”. Therefore, it can be seen that Black Death was an era that had spread to abolish and put an end to the lives of the humans. It had killed many humans during its period. It survived for half a decade but was long enough to make people shed blood tears. It had killed many people, taken away lots of lives and even wanted to kill all the hopes of people. But humans are always strong enough to bear any grief and even took this challenge sportingly and got away their suffering with their faith in God and rejoicing the moment they had. REFERENCE: Zachary Peschke (2007) retrieved from: http://dc.cod.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi? article=1032&context=essai Tom James (2011) retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/black_impact_01.shtml Chris Butler (2007) retrieved from: http://www.flowofhistory.com/units/west/10/FC71 Assaf Pinkus (2010) retrieved from: http://arts.tau.ac.il/departments/images/stories/journals/arthistory/Assaph6/07pinkus.pdf Sherman (1991) retrieved from: http://www.philforhumanity.com/Black_Death.html William M. Bowsky (1964) retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2850126? uid=3738256&uid=2&uid=4&sid=47698776798387 Page 8
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