The Black Death

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Date Submitted: 07/18/2013 08:14 PM

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History of the Black Death

Belinda Dukes

HUM 360


The Plague was a bacterial infection found mainly in rodents and their fleas. But via those fleas it can sometimes leap to humans. When it does, the outcome can be horrific, making plague outbreaks the most notorious disease episodes in history.There was no greater epidemic in world history than the Black Death, also known as the bubonic plague. It ravaged Europe throughout the Middle Ages, starting in China and moving all the way through Crimea. By the time it was finished, it resulted in the loss of more than half the world’s population, killing almost 100 million people in Europe and cutting the population down to approximately 350 million (from nearly 450 million) (National Geographic, 2011). More than people died in this time of upheaval; the very fabric of European feudal society was irreparably changed, as Catholicism took a major hit, and the original methods of disseminating work, education and structures were altered to make room for this new, more sparsely populated world. In this essay, we will track the symptoms of the plague, its history, and its effect on culture and religion, as well as economy and society.


The Middle Ages was an era of human history in which many social, economic and religious upheavals took place; it was already a place in which poverty was rampant. The Catholic Church was a substantial presence in the lives of many; the pope and the clergy had won the hearts and minds of both rich and poor in the Middle Ages, leaving many to lead lives of confession and guilt. Scholastic pursuits were a low priority among the peasantry and the royalty as well, that domain being reserved primarily for the philosophers; “Let us go back for a moment to the 14th century. The people were yet but little civilized. The church had indeed subdued them; but they all suffered from the ill-consequences of their original rudeness. The dominion of the...