Black Death Essay

1002 words - 4 pages

HUMA 13018/11/14 Have you ever been interested in apocalyptic scenarios and wondered if one would ever happen during your lifetime? Naturally, everything would probably be riddled in death, chaos, and ultimately the collapse of life as you knew it. Such an event happened to the Europeans in 1347 with the outbreak of the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death. In the following essay I will be discussing what the bubonic plague is, how people handled the situation, and finally how it affected the economy. First, I will discuss what exactly the bubonic plague is.To understand what the Black Death is, you must first understand how the people in Europe got it. "The plague was carried to Europe by flea bearing black rats" (Fiero, 360) on commercial vessels. In the early stages of the disease it was usually spread by "the bite of either the infected flea [from the black rat], or the host rat; in its more severe stages, it was passed on by those infected with the disease" (Fiero, 360). The symptoms of the disease were pretty obvious and came quickly. "The initial symptom, [is] a blackish, often gangrenous pustule at the point of the bite…" (Gottfried, 8). In addition to a fever, victims would develop a buboes (an abscess) "…that began in the lymph glands of the groin or armpits of the afflicted [which] slowly filled with pus, turning the body a deathly black…" (Fiero, 360). Thus, the term "Black Death" had spawned because a few short days after the appearance of the boils, the victim would die. In addition, "the hemorrhaging [caused by the swollen lymphatic glands] produces cell necrosis and intoxication of the nervous system, ultimately leading to neurological and psychological disorders…" (Gottfried, 8). However, back then then people had no way of knowing any of this. Now that I have described what the Black Death is, I will now discuss how people handled the situation.Naturally, the lives of the people living during the bubonic plague outbreak changed dramatically. "…Widespread death had forced Florentine citizens to abandon the traditional forms of grieving and forego the age old rituals associated with death and burial" (Fiero, 361). This was because there were so many people dying at a dramatic rate. "At every church, or at most of them, they dug deep trenches, down to the waterline...depending on how large the parish was" (peope.hodstra.edu). According to people.hodstra.edu, families were responsible for taking care of their dead, otherwise they would have to pay a high price. "If there were many [bodies] in the trench, they covered them over with dirt" (people.hodstra.edu). Those seeking remedies used "traditional treatments, such as the bleeding of the victims and fumigation with vapors of vinegar, [but it] proved useless" (Fiero, 363).In addition to dealing with the plague, "some viewed it as the manifestation of God's displeasure with the growing worldliness of contemporary society, while other saw it...

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