The Black Death Essay

2285 words - 9 pages

Jennifer SinnottHist 111-002Philip Ziegler: The Black DeathProfessor BrownApril 22, 2014The Black DeathThe Black Death is one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. Millions of people perished due to this terrible disease spreading all through Europe. One of the main assumptions as to how the plague was spread was through the air, which was very dirty at that time (Ziegler14). Another assumption as to how the plague spread was through sailors who traveled from place to place. They were said to be infected and that they brought the disease with them to every port (16). The last hypothesis as to how the Bubonic plague advanced is that it was carried by rats. These rats were said to have the disease and to give it to citizens. Rats were everywhere, even in people's homes, because the cities were so polluted in that time period (27). The plague got as far as it did through trade routes. The people using the trade routes would bring it with them. That is how it hit so many places and killed so many people so fast (42). When the plague hit the common man had no form of defense to fight it off (17). He was helpless towards its horrendous effects. The name "Black Death" was said to come from the color of the victim's skin. Their skin would turn black or purple (17). They afflicted would get boils on their groins or armpits, they could grow as large as the common apple. They also could get black spots up their arms and thighs (18). There were two types of the plague, one that lasted two months, with continuous fever and spitting of blood, this one killed the victim in three days. The second type lasted the rest of the epidemic. This one also had continuous fever but this one had boils that grew on people's appendages. This one killed its victims in about five days (19). There was a third type that was discovered later. This one killed people almost instantly. They would go to bed seemingly healthy and die while in bed (19). A single breath or a single touch from the sick could get a perfectly healthy person disease stricken. Even people who got the disease and recovered to perfect health were shunned by their friends and family. They were seen as diseased and no one wanted to catch it (23). Between sixty and ninety percent of people who caught the plague were expected to die; it was pretty much a guaranteed death sentence (28). About 200 people were buried everyday (156). It was not just people who suffered however; there was a rabies outbreak in dogs. People were so distracted with the plague that they paid no attention to the rabies and it got out of hand (42). Distracted by wars, weakened by malnutrition, exhausted by his need to earn a living on inadequate land, the medieval peasant was ready to succumb even before he was afflicted by the plague. That is why so many poor people died, not only did they have no form of protection but they were already very tried from the hard life they were living (35). Due to everything that was happening,...

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