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The Black Death


Title: The Black Death Author: LPJ Last modified by: Karissa Kowalczyk Created Date: 2/4/2006 11:10:04 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Black Death

The Black Death
  • 1347 and on - - -

  • Recognize the possible causes of change in
    civilizations (diseases Bubonic Plague)
  • Identify conclusions about early world historical
    events using primary and secondary sources

What did people think caused the plague?
  • There were many different beliefs about the
    plague people were so scared because they
    werent sure what caused it. Some believed
  • It was a punishment from God.
  • Some believed that foreigners or those who
    followed a different religion had poisoned the
  • Some thought that bad air was responsible.
  • Some thought the position of the planets had
    caused the plague.

What Really Caused the Plague?
  • The question that you are probably thinking is
  • Q Who or what really caused the Black Death?
  • A 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 disease.

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3 Forms of the Disease
  • Bubonic Plague.
  • painful lymph node swellings, buboes
  • Septicemic Plague.
  • also called blood poisoning, attacked the
    blood system
  • Pneumonic Plague.
  • attacked the respiratory system

The Bubonic Plague
  • Painful lymph node swelling, called buboes
  • In groins and armpits
  • Oozing pus and blood
  • Damage to the skin and underlying tissue
  • Dark blotches acral necrosis ? Black Death!

The Bubonic Plague
Symptoms of the bubonic Plague
  • Swellings egg ? apple
  • Fever of 101-105 degrees F
  • Headaches and Aching joints
  • Nausea and vomiting (of blood)
  • General feeling of malaise
  • Swellings expanding until they burst ? death
    following soon after
  • Whole process 3-5 days

Buboes swollen lumps in the groin, Neck, or
What are the symptoms of the plague?
What is the prognosis?
  • A person suffering from the Bubonic Plague most
    likely would die within 4 to 7 days of first
    showing symptoms.
  • The plague killed 50 to 75 of its victims.

  • Different beliefs about the plague led to some
    strange attempts at escaping the plague and some
    even stranger cures.

Medieval Cure 1
  • The swellings should be softened with figs and
    cooked onions. The onions should be mixed with
    yeast and butter. Then open the swellings with a
  • If the swellings burst and the poison came out
    people sometimes survived. It seemed sensible to
    draw out the poison.

Medieval Cure 2
  • Take a live frog and put its belly on the plague
    sore. The frog will swell up and burst. Keep
    doing this with further frogs until they stop

Other Medieval Cures
  • Rub the body with melted butter.
  • Tie a small bag of garlic around your neck. The
    smell would keep the plague away.
  • Go to church and ask for forgiveness.
  • Avoid breathing in the same air as a plague
  • Sit next to a blazing hot fire.
  • Brick or board up houses with the sick inside.

So did the cures work?
  • The last outbreak of the plague in England was in
    1665. The sensible thing to do when the plague
    struck was to get out of town, the rich could do
    this but the poor had nowhere to go.
  • By 1665, more than 25 million people had died
    from the plague.

The Pneumonic Plague
  • Second most commonly seen form of the Black Death

The Pneumonic Plague
  • Infected the lungs.
  • Symptoms
  • Slimy sputum tinted with blood
  • (Sputum saliva mixed with mucus excreted
  • from the respiratory system)
  • Sputum became free flowing
  • 1-7 days for symptoms to appear
  • Mortality Rate 90-95

The Pneumonic Plague
  • Airborne transmission added to its danger!
  • Through bacteria in droplets of saliva coughed up
    by sick persons
  • Inhaled by bystanders
  • New infection starts directly in the lungs or

The Septicemic Plague
  • Attacked the blood system (Blood Poisoning)
  • Fevers
  • Skin turns deep shades of purple due to DIC
  • (disseminated
  • intravascular
  • coagulation)

The Septicemic Plague
  • In its most deadly form, DIC causes a victims
    skin to turn dark purple, almost black The
    Black Death.
  • Victims died the same day symptoms appeared.
  • Mortality Rate close to 100.
  • No treatment even today

The Path of the Plague
  • Erupted in Gobi Desert, late 1320s
  • Epidemic in Europe in 6th century but dormant
    since then
  • Reached the shores of Italy in 1348
  • Spread in every direction, primarily westward
  • Lasted 3 years

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The Path of the Plague
  • The progress of the plague coincides with the
    medieval trade routes
  • Iceland, North Finland, and North Sweden had no
  • Norway 1348 (Oslo, Bergen)
  • Denmark 1348, from Jutland to the islands, and
    then on to Sweden

  • Every 5-7 years
  • Next plague 1360 The Pest of the Children
  • Italian Plague 1629-1631
  • Great Plague of Vienna in 1679
  • Great Plague of London 1665-1666 one of the
    last major outbreaks
  • Resembles modern day Ebola

Efforts to stop the Plague
  • Quarantine was the best method
  • Avoiding the sick
  • The wealthy fled to the countryside (Isaac
  • Pope Clement VI in Avignon sat between two large
    fires to breathe pure air. The plague bacillus
    is destroyed by heat, so this worked!

The Flagellants
  • Flagellants
  • self-flogging to atone for sins.
  • Popular after disillusionment with the churchs
    reaction to the Black Death
  • Outside the Church

The Flagellants
  • Christians - and an angry Deity.
  • Bands wandering through towns and countryside
  • Public penance. Inflicted all kinds of punishment
    upon themselves
  • Sacrifice for the sins of the world like Jesus

The Flagellants
  • Society disapproved
  • Tendency to kill Jews and clergymen who opposed
  • Condemned by the Pope in 1349
  • Reappeared in times of plague into the 15th

Consequences for Populations
  • Approx. 25 million deaths in Europe
  • Between one third and one half of European
    population died 1348-1350
  • 25 of villages depopulated
  • 45-75 of Florence died in one year
  • In Venice, 60 died over 18 months

Consequences for Population
  • Urban populations recovered quickly
  • Rural populations recovered slowly
  • Friars took a couple of generations to recover
  • Pre-plague population reached in the 1500s or
  • Later period of Middle Ages was characterized by
    chronically reduced population

Consequences for Population
  • 1348
  • Gaza 10.000 dead
  • Aleppo 500 dead per day
  • Damascus 1000 dead per day
  • Syria total of 400.000 dead
  • Lower mortality rate in the Middle East of less
    than one third of population

Economic Consequences
  • Shortage of laborers? rising wages for peasants
    and artisans
  • Valuable artisan skills disappeared
  • Oversupply of goods ? prices dropped
  • For the living, standard of living rose!
  • Landlords stopped freeing their serfs? serfs
    revolting and leaving the land
  • The oppressed demanded fairer treatment

Religious Consequences
  • Persecutions of the Jews scapegoats
  • Massacres and burnings
  • By 1351, 60 major and 150 smaller Jewish
    communities had been exterminated
  • Jews expelled, moved to Poland Lithuania

Religious Consequences
  • Church lost prestige, spiritual authority,
  • Promised cures, treatment, and explanations
  • No answers to the people
  • Revolt against the church
  • Severe shortage of clergy functioned as nurses
    and consequently died.
  • The church targeted the Jews for persecution
    had killed Jesus and brought sin to the world

Music and Art
  • Culture turned morbid
  • Sense of death impending inevitable
  • Death is a game, like chess!
  • Dance of death death is random
  • Everyone suffered
  • Despair

Music and Art
  • Danse Macabre the dance of death skeletons
    mingling with the living (here Hans Holbein the
  • Shocking juxtapositions
  • Written language almost lost
  • Coffins had pictures of corpses on the lid
  • New creativity in motives

The Children
  • Ring a-round the rosy rosary beads give you
    Gods help
  • Pocket full of posies used to stop the odor of
    rotting bodies through to cause the plague
  • Ashes, ashes! the church burned the dead when
    burying became too laborious
  • We all fall down! dead
  • Children suffered mentally and physically
  • Children were not thought worth the trouble to

And Now?
  • The bubonic Plague still exists
  • Quite common among rodent populations
  • A cure is known today but the disease moves
    very quickly
  • The Plague is still with us
  • Hythe Ossuary, remains of victims of the Black