Black death research paper conclusion

A few of the possible reasons for this are hygiene, clean air, and Quarantine. Hygiene played a part in the slowing down of the epidemic. Prior to the plague personal hygiene was not a priority for most of the population. Water contamination, bad bathing practices, and mass graves were a regular occurrence Due to the Black Death people started boiling drinking water and bathing more often.

These major hygiene practices helped in the fight against the Black Death. A second factor is the purifying of air. When the Black Death became airborne, it became popular for people to clean the air with incense. They also sat between fires and used a lot of torches attempting to stay disease free Another major possibility for the end of the Black Death is quarantine.

Most of the population adopted the practice of leaving their homes only when necessary. The wealthy mostly escaped to a house in the country where it was easier to keep away from infected by fleas or rodents The sick were also quarantined and often times were left to die. All of these factors had large roles in the ending of the plague in the Middle Ages. The Black Death was a horrific disease that killed a lot of people. This event in history slowed significantly through quarantine and changing hygiene habits of the population. An even more virulent type of Plague exists which can pass from human to human directly, without employing fleas as vectors.

In this form called pneumonic plague , the bacilli are transmitted directly from one human host to another on particulate matter exhaled by the infected. Since the lungs are designed to move air-born material efficiently into the bloodstream, pneumonic plague is especially quick in attacking its victims and almost always fatal. Those who contract pneumonic plague tend to collapse suddenly, cough up blood and die, sometimes within a matter of hours. There was no cure for bubonic plague in the Middle Ages, none indeed until the discovery of antibiotics in the modern age.

In the face of this unknown and irremediable onslaught, Medieval peoples attributed the disease to several factors: "bad airs," witches, astrology and a rare alignment of planets. Its appearance, in fact, brought out the worst in all groups and classes. Moslems blamed Christians, Christians blamed Moslems, and everyone blamed the Jews. The Black Death was, thus, destructive not only to the physical well-being of Medieval Europe but also its general mental health, a situation which had as much to do with the timing of its onset as anything else.

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Coming off the peak of the High Middle Ages, people had already been rattled by the disintegration of the Church, the Famine of and the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War. After the Plague erupted and in just five years killed a quarter to a third of Europe's inhabitants, not only population but morale hit record lows. There can be little doubt that the Black Death began before the first historical accounts record its presence, but where or how is unclear. Even so, history offers some tantalizing prospects. In researching its origins, it's well to remember a central feature of bubonic plague: it's not at heart a human disease, but one that generally circulates through rat populations.

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The likelihood is, then, the Black Death began well before with some sort of disturbance in rodent communities , most likely ones in Central Asia since all historical data point to that as its geographic origin. As one moves forward in time nearer to the first appearance of Plague in Europe in , the picture becomes better, if still blurry. For some reason, the disease spread on a wide scale to the marmots of central Asia, a mammal resembling a woodchuck or "rockchuck.

Around the mid's, Asian trappers who hunted marmots for their hides found many dead ones lying around, a seeming boon but with a terrible price tag attached. Ignorant of the danger facing them, the trappers skinned the animals, packed up their hides and sold them off to dealers. These retailers, then, sent the marmot hides in closed containers down the famous Silk Road , which runs across Asia, all the way from China, through Saray and Astrakhan which are northwest of the Caspian Sea, to Kaffa which is a port on the Crimean peninsula on the northern shore of the Black Sea and at that time was one of the major gateways between East and West.

Thus, Plague could not have landed in better circumstances for its proliferation: a harbor town full of people, animals and cargo, many of which were on route to all ends of the known world. By then, news had, in fact, reached Moslems in the Near East that a devastating illness was killing the marmot trappers of central Asia and the dealers who sold their goods, but these reports were generally ignored in the West. It's well known traders carry not only exotic goods but also outlandish gossip.

When the containers with the marmot hides were opened in Kaffa , the rat fleas trapped within were released into an essentially defenseless population. Starting, no doubt, with the decimation of the local rats—but that's not likely to have made it into the historical record—there soon followed the infection and death of many other types of mammals none with significant resistance to this pathogen. Since people didn't rank high on that list because rat fleas prefer other animals like cats, dogs, and even cattle over humans, it took some time before the epidemic hit our species.

This initial delay was instrumental in the disease's ferocious progress.

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It ensured that Plague could establish itself on board the many ships leaving Kaffa every day. Here, historical documentation of the bubonic plague as a human disease finally begins to emerge. By late , there is evidence of its presence in Constantinople, and soon thereafter Genoa in Italy and Messina in Sicily. The Byzantine Emperor Cantacuzenus watched it infect and consume his own son and, like the ancient Greek historian Thucydides , recorded a pathology, an account of its medical course.

Out of fear of Plague, the Genoese—to their lasting discredit! As a rule, efforts to limit Plague in the Middle Ages served mainly to disperse it more widely, since Medieval quarantines involved sequestering the infected in a building. That only forced rats, fleas, humans and bacilli, the essential ingredients in Plague, into close proximity. As the Genoese of this day knew but never fully understood the significance, rats can swim off infected ships and, in doing so, carry fleas and bubonic plague with them.

Nor did it spare the Moslem world, which first saw its ravages in Alexandria Egypt , their great port city. From there, it moved east to Damascus and Beirut, and also west to Morocco and Spain. But the cleaner and generally more rat-free environs of Islamic communities, where medicine and health were far more advanced than in the West at that time, forestalled the spread of Plague eastward and it took relatively few victims there, at least compared to Western Europe.

By early , the disease had begun to cut a swath west across France and descended on Bordeaux , a port in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France, famous for exporting wine. On a ship laden with claret, Plague reached England late that same year. In , another ship, this one carrying English wool to Scandinavia, was spotted several days after it had departed its home port, floating aimlessly off the Norwegian coast.

The locals rowed out to see it and found its crew dead but its cargo intact. They happily took the wool and, along with this treasure, infected fleas. As if from some passage in the Old Testament giving witness to the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," Plague erupted with a vengeance across Scandinavia.

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From to , it continued apace, ravaging Denmark, Germany, Poland and finally Russia. Thus, having made a five-year clockwise circuit of Europe, it ultimately passed back into the same remote Asian hinterland from which it had emerged originally, and disappeared. The Black Death itself was over, but the worst of it still lay ahead, the memories of its rampage and the crippling, nauseating fear it might return one day, as in fact it did sporatically over the next few centuries.

The consequences of the Black Death on the culture of late Medieval Europe are immeasurable and, needless to say, mostly negative. By itself, the decrease in population forever changed the face of Western Civilization—the overall population of Europe would not surpass pre levels until after —a century and a half to recover from what began as half a decade of human ruin puts the impact of this disease into its proper perspective.

In terms of carnage alone, no war has even come close to that level of long-term devastation. Given the day and age, historians are hard pressed to produce reliable, even reasonable population figures. Nor does it help that prior to the Black Death many local governments had collapsed in the wake of the Great Famine of and the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War Still, it's probably safe to say that something on the order of a quarter to a third of the population of Europe died during the Black Death, amounting to as many as twenty million people.

Where the numbers of casualties can be calculated with any certainty—for instance, in urban centers like Paris—it's clear that between and the Black Death and recurrences of Plague cut the population by half, if not more. The results of this contagion were, however, felt not in mortalities alone but in demographics and psychology, too. Grim experience quickly taught people in the day that Plague decimated cities more heavily than rural communities.

The reason for this was that the bacillus depends on fleas carried by rats as its principal vector and the crush and filth of urban life aided greatly in the spread of bubonic plague, but that was not yet known. The result was that people fled the cities of Europe in large numbers. Even small villages were left depopulated, precipitating a trend toward de-urbanization far more catastrophic than that following Rome's disintegration a millennium before. And that , we should recall, had precipitated the Middle Ages. This wave of de-urbanization and its concomitant catastrophes are well-evidenced in the art and literature of the day.

Probably the most famous literary work of that time, The Decameron by Boccaccio , a collection of Medieval tales and folklore, is set in the Italian countryside where aristocrats, fleeing the Plague as it ravages Florence, are stranded without their usual entertainments. To pass the time, they tell each other stories, from which Boccaccio is said to have harvested a rich storehouse of traditional narrative. The Decameron later served as the foundation for many other Renaissance works, including several of Shakespeare's plays.

Little wonder, then, so many of his dramas focus on death and the darker side of human life. The visual arts of the day centered even more directly on the consequences of the Black Death. A macabre fascination with death and the process of dying fills painting and statuary from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Offering little in the way of help—much less explanation or solace—these postulates began to crumble.

It also paved the way to extreme behavior. Staring down their mortality, many people gave into lewdness and revelry, while others turned to religion and extreme piety. In spite of the widespread devastation of both clergy and congregation, the Church ironically became richer than ever. More than one person in a desperate attempt to avert the Angel of Death surrendered all worldly possessions to the Church. When these prayerful gifts proved futile, the Church—and the papacy in Rome especially—ended up holding many a moneybag and deeds to land all over Europe.

Thus, the failure of the Church to win divine mercy for its people turned out to be one of its greatest bull-markets ever, an irony not entirely lost on its laity. And so wherever the cry of "Plague! Professional self-torturers who went from town to town, the flagellants scourged themselves for a fee to bring God's favor upon a community hoping to avert the bubonic plague—according to Medieval logic, the Black Death was a punishment for sin, and its atonement must be paid in real, physical terms—flagellants served, then, as a means for people to buy that remission from sin at the price of migrant "whipping boys.

Sickness and death of every sort, it seemed, followed fast on each other in a spiral of unending despair.

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When the plague abates, the traffic gets worse. Unknown satirist. With all that, it may seem hard to believe but there were also positive consequences to the Black Death. Primarily, manpower was suddenly of much greater value than it had been before. For the first time in centuries, peasants weren't available in prodigious numbers and nobles had difficulty securing the workforce necessary to sow their fields and harvest their crops.

Thus, the late Medieval peasant found himself quite unexpectedly and unprecedentedly in demand, a shift which shook European society to its core. Kings and dukes now had to bargain with their laborers over working conditions, and the under-classes were able to demand better compensation for their services. Wages rose, in some places doubling over the course of just one year.