The Black Death

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For reasons that are difficult to explain, cities such as Milan and Douai in Flanders, both major hubs of commerce and industry, appear to have escaped the Black Death in almost totally unscathed.

Meanwhile, Douai chronicles, monastic necrologies, and archival records recording, for example, the deaths of magistrates, and last wills and testaments show no certain signs of the plague entering that city until the plague of In German-speaking lands, France along the Rhine, and parts of Spain, municipal governments, castellans, bishops, and the Holy Roman Emperor accused Jews of spreading the Black Death by poisoning foodstuffs and water sources, and massacred entire communities of men, women, and babies for these supposed crimes.

The accusations and massacres, however, were not universal between and Massacres did not arise in the British Isles where , at least in England , Jews had been expelled in by Edward I , and no clear evidence pinpoints any such violence in Italy except for the Catalans in Sicily. Nor are any massacres recorded in the Middle East. The period deemed necessary to isolate suspected carriers in Milan during its plague of —75, for instance, had dropped to eight daysfor certain categories of suspicion. Cities that managed to keep plague beyond their borders were those that devised and implemented quarantine: border controls at city gates, harbours, and mountain passes; individual health passports which identified a person and certified where he or she came from , and other related measures such as spy networks to signal when a plague had erupted in a foreign city or region.

However, occasionally contemporary writers also praised those who stayed on to nurse the afflicted, and who often lost their lives in so doing.

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Curiously, the church did not recognise any of these martyrs during the Black Death with elevations to beatitude or sanctity. It is thought that the Black Death spread at a rate of a mile or more a day, but other accounts have measured it in places to have averaged as far as eight miles a day. It spread so slowly because modern bubonic plague was a rodent disease and often one dependent on the house rat.

What was Black Death and does it still exist? | The Week UK

These extreme differences in the spread of the Black Death and the bubonic plagues of modern times are seen despite the revolutions in transport with steam power, railway, and, by the early 20th century, automobiles. Samuel Cohn is professor of medieval history at the University of Glasgow. Home Period Medieval 10 facts about the Black Death. August 25, at am.

10 facts about the Black Death

A Venetian plague doctor, c Clothes infected by the Black Death being burnt, c General Early Modern. Catherine the Great: the first woman to rule Russia. General Modern. During the so-called "plague pandemic," the plague settled into the local environment and kept coming back every few years to whittle away at the population. From the first famines in until the plague pandemic began to recede in , Europe lost three-quarters of its people.

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The Black Death is far and away the greatest calamity our species ever suffered. And what, do you suppose, was left in its wake? Well, it unraveled the tapestry of the feudal system. It left many survivors wealthy. Manual labor became precious. Wages skyrocketed, and work took on a manic quality.

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When death rides on your back, time also becomes precious. Minutes seem to count for something. The Church-centered world before the plague had been oddly timeless. Now people worked long hours, chasing capital gain, in a life that could end at any moment.

Plague 101 - National Geographic

The first new technology of the plague years was time-keeping -- mechanical clocks and hourglasses. Medicine had been a function of the Church before the plague. Physicians were well-paid, highly-respected scholars. They spun dialectic arguments far away from unwholesome sick people -- not unlike some of today's specialists. Both medical and religious practice now shifted toward the laity.

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Medicine was redirected into experimentation and practical pharmacology. Medical books were now being written -- not in Latin -- but in the vernacular, and by a whole new breed of people. Technology had to become less labor-intensive. It had to become high-tech.

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