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The Black Death


The Black Death 1347 and on - - - – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Black Death

The Black Death
  • 1347 and on - - -

  • Epidemic Disease
  • Divider betw. Central and late Middle Ages
  • Illustration
  • From the
  • Toggenburg
  • Bible, 1411

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
  • A plague victim reveals
  • the telltale buboe on
  • his leg. From a 14th
  • Century illumination.

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
  • NB People who didnt develop swellings
    invariably died. People with swellings might
    have a chance.
  • Mortality Rate 30-75
  • If 40 of population was getting infected, and
    80 of them died mortality rate of 32

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

The Rat Flea
  • The flea drinks rats blood
  • The bacteria multiplies inside the flea
  • The fleas stomach is blocked
  • The flea is very hungry
  • The flea voraciously bites a host a human
  • The flea is unable to satisfy its hunger
  • The flea continues to feed
  • Infected blood carrying the plague bacteria is
    flowing into the humans wound
  • The rat dies
  • The flea dies of starvation
  • The human dies

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
  • Traveled on trade routes and caravans
  • Generally from south to north
  • And east to west
  • Passing through
  • Italy
  • France
  • England
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Poland
  • Finland
  • Greenland

Preexisting Conditions
  • War Civil War in China 1205-1353
  • Little Ice Age at beg. Of 13th century
  • The Great Famine 1315-1322 in Northern Europe
  • Typhoid Epidemic
  • Pestilence, maybe anthrax, hit the animals of
    Europe in 1318
  • Unemployment, famine, disease

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
  • Cities were hardest hit
  • Isolation healthy and sick
  • Quarantine
  • Isolation of incoming ships
  • Here a reproduction of a peasants hovel

Efforts to stop the Plague
  • Scents - incense and aromatic oils
  • Sound church bells
  • Sound cannons
  • Talismans
  • Here burial in coffins

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!

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

Economic Consequences
  • The great equalizer
  • Lack of sufficient law enforcement personnel
  • Promoted lawlessness
  • People tried their luck

Religious Consequences
  • Persecutions of the Jews scapegoats
  • Massacres and burnings
  • By 1351, 60 major and 150 smaller Jewish
    communities had been exterminated
  • Lepers were also targeted
  • 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