It was around the 1339 CE when the pandemic broke out. Death’s scythe swept across Europe, only missing a few servants and nobles. The foundations of middle aged life collapsed, it was time when Europe changed. This would be well known as the Black Death or the Bubonic Plague.
The Black Death is now known to be spread by a flea. However, this flea was not the cause as it was the bacterium which lay in the stomach of the flea. This bacterium’s scientific name is Yersinia pestis. The main host of the flea is a rat, scientifically called Rattus rattus. Humans caught the disease because when the rats bred rapidly, it would lead to a population invasion. When the rat died, the flea would have to find another warm-blooded host to feed on, and next to them are humans. The flea bites the human and infects them. The unhygienic living conditions in the Middle Ages led to a faster spread of the disease, as a result creating a better environment for rats to live in. The lack of knowledge in the fourteenth century led to even worse remedies.
During the Middle Ages, people didn’t have scientific equipment like microscopes to examine the organisms. So they concluded causes for the Black Death with unsupported evidence. Many physicians and doctors said it was in the air. It was inevitable to catch the Black Death as they claimed. Physicians describe the plague like a ‘tide of death’ (Addison et al, 2012. Page 299). However, the Church said it was the wrath of God. The priests explained that people had sinned which included sins of greed, sins of pride, sins of thieving, sins of envy, sins of lying and sins of anger. An uncommon cause was that people thought that the movement of the stars would tell when plague struck while some places even believed in monsters. Villagers would say that demonic dogs would set the plague or a girl called the Pest Maiden. Some scientists that time thought it was caused by both earthquakes and astrological forces.
Religion was a huge pillar in the lives of men and women in the middle ages. Church services stopped temporarily after the plague because the Church was supposed to be the messengers of God and supposedly knew everyone’s sins. But after the plague, people questioned the teachings and rules of Christianity. This happened because despite all their prayers and processions, the Church did not warn them of an apocalypse that was imminent. Before many Christians had time to ask the Church, many priest were massacred in 1361. The remaining educated priests gave permission to the less educated priests, or laity, to hear confessions of sins.
The population of Europe had descended on a massive scale, Europe lost approximately one third of its population. Every...