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Black Death And The Devestation It Caused. A Look At The Effects It Had On The Political, Economical And Social Structures Of Medieval Europe

1716 words - 7 pages

There have been many diseases reported historically such as small pox, measles and typhoid but none were as horrendous as Black death. In order to understand the devastation of this disease we must look at the effects it had on the political, economical and social structures of medieval Europe. The Black Death first appeared in Europe in 1347 when a boat filled with dead and dying people docked at Messina harbor, north east of Sicily. This boat come from the Orient and within days of its arrival this death ship had spread its pestilence throughout Messina. Although it is doubtful that Black Death and other epidemics were by themselves responsible for the downfall of European society they were houever , the largest contibuting factor.During the middle ages peiple lived under the feudal system, thid was a system in which the king owned all the land and parceled out large estates to the noblemen. These lords woukd in turn grant parcels of land to peasants who woukd live on and work the land. These peasants woukd pay tyhe lords a large portion of whatever theyt earned, either in food supplies or money. The lords lives very well at the expence of the poverty stricken serfs. Then the plague struck and no one was immune to this disease. The nobility perished at the same rate as the peasants. What nobility that did not die fled to other areas unaffected by the plague. The vast depopulation of the noble class left manors and duties abondoned and subject to infiltration by the peasant class. This new situation did not sit well wiht noble class that remained and hostilities between the nobility and the peasants were severe. The abandoned Government offices became filled wiht dishonest men many of who had selfish motives. These now officials had intntions of feathering thier own nests rather than in rebuilding the hierarchical governement . The advent and reoccurence of Black Death also allowed for a new and powerful govbenmental body known as the Bourgeois. They consisted of the merchabnt and working class of the towns. While the plague had virtually wiped out the previous government, the Bourgeois was instrumental in establising a harmonious , interdependent and orderly governmental body.The clergy played a large role in European society. Being well educated and literate they had the role of providing divine grace and bureaucratic services to both the nobility and the peasants. Most Europeans accepted the word of the church without question. When the plague struck it became apparent that the Catholic priests could provide no explanation for the reason God permitted such devastation. The priests were unable to restore the people's belief in religion because of their actions during the plague. What preists that did not flee to wealthier parishes or unaffected areas began to charge inflated prices for their burial services and blessings. People began to question the church and continued to do so even after the plague had run its course. This caused a rift in...

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