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The Black Death


Soon there were only a few kings in Europe. Religious Consequences. Outbreak of anti-Semitism ... life easily explained, and the reality of death was all too ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Black Death

The Black Death
Bubonic Plague in history
  • 3 great pandemics of bubonic plague in history
  • The first was Justinian's Plague that began in
    542 and lasted until 662.
  • The second was the Black Death that began in 1347
    and lasted until 1665. 38-39 million people died
    between 1347-1351.
  • The third began in Yunnan, China in 1892 and
    spread to India by 1896, killing approximately 6
    million people in India alone.

Where did the Black Death come from?
The plague arrives in English Isles last
  • Historians think that the plague arrived in
    England during the summer of 1348. During the
    following autumn it spread quickly through the
    south west. Few villages escaped. Churchyards
    were full with bodies.
  • The plague spread quickly during the winter of
    1348-1349 to the north of England. By 1350,
    nearly the whole of Britain was infected with the
  • At the end of 1350 nearly two and a half million
    people were dead!

How many people died?
  • Italy had the largest of deaths where over
    50-60 of the people died
  • In Europe it is estimated that 1/3 of the
    population died
  • The number of people estimated to have died in
    Europe is over 25 million people
  • Worldwide estimates are 38 million people

What caused the plague?
  • Carried the virus Yersinia pestis

The Oriental Rat Flea!
How was the plague transmitted?
  • We now know that the most common form of the
    Black Death was the BUBONIC PLAGUE! This disease
    was spread by fleas which lived on the black rat.
    The fleas sucked the rats blood which contained
    the plague germs. When the rat died the fleas
    jumped on to humans and passed on the deadly

types of black death
  • There are three related diseases that make up the
    Black Death.
  • Bubonic plague is the most common, and, without
    antibiotics, is fatal 50-60 of the time.
  • Pneumonic plague is less common, is extremely
    contagious, and is fatal 95 of the time.
  • Septicemia plague, which is fortunately very
    rare, attacks the bloodstream and is always fatal.

  • Value of noble estates declined
  • Aristocratic incomes dropped
  • Increase in royal power
  • Towns prospered
  • Depiction of death in art
  • Cheapening of human life
  • Persecution of Jews
  • Marriage no longer delayed
  • Limited employment opportunities for women

Trade increased, new services developed
  • Economic consequences
  • Trade declined
  • Industries suffered
  • Shortage of workers caused a rise in price of
    labor also food supplies were greater because of
    decline in population both resulting in lower
    food prices many lords had to sell off their
  • The shortage of workers made it possible for the
    serfs to force the lords into agreements for
    freedom in order for them to stay and work
  • Many of these workers left the land and moved to
    the cities changing their way of life
  • Cities lost population at first because everyone
    went to isolate themselves in the countryside but
    eventually after the threat of the plague
    declined the cities grew as more serfs left the

Governments changed
  • The people in the city had to learn how to govern
  • They created new types of positions called
    burgesses (Germanic Burg) or mayors.
  • They went around the lords in the country
  • They needed protection from the Kings and the
    power of individual kings grew
  • Soon there were only a few kings in Europe

Religious Consequences
  • Outbreak of anti-Semitism
  • Jews were scape goated or blamed for the plague
  • Large ghettos were destroyed
  • Jews further isolated themselves from others
  • People lost faith in the church
  • Many of those who died were priests and church
  • New educational avenues were created to learn
    about the disease
  • Colleges were opened and instead of learning
    happening in the language of the church it
    happened in the language of the local culture or
    in the vernacular
  • More secular in Western and Central Europe

New philosophies
  • Scholasticism
  • An attempt to reconcile faith with reason
  • Thomas Aquinas
  • In Praise of Folly
  • Later Rejected
  • Associated with the rising University systems

  • For those living in the years directly after the
    plague, however, the nightmare was over, but
    getting on with the business of life in a new
    world remained painful and difficult. No longer
    were the mysteries of life easily explained, and
    the reality of death was all too plain.
  • As one Black Death epitaph put it
  • We are a spectacle to the world. Let the great
    and humble, by our example, see well to what
    state they shall be inexorably reduced, whatever
    their condition, age or sex. Why, then, miserable
    person, are you puffed with pride? Dust you are
    and unto dust you shall return, rotten corpse,
    morsel and mean for worms.