The Black Plague: The Causes Of The Black Death

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“Death surrounded people, penetrated their hearts, and chilled their souls” (Cunningham 53). With these words, author Kevin Cunningham summarized one of the most catastrophic events in the world. The Black Plague, also known as the Black Death, was an epidemic of apocalyptic proportion. Whether they were young or old, rich or poor, it did not matter. The Black Plague was a detrimental epidemic that affected every social class and still wreaks havoc to this day. The Black Death spread through England from 1346 through 1353 (Benedictow 1). It was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the bacteria was, and still is, able to exist due to the cycle between rats and the fleas they host (“Ecology…show more content…
The pneumonic plague can develop as a complication of the bubonic strain. The bacteria in the lymph nodes of the bubonic strain can break free and be carried to the lungs via the bloodstream (Benedictow 2). Some people experienced a swelling of the brain. Once in the lungs, people could spread the disease simply by exhaling, sneezing, or coughing. In the Middle Ages, people had no idea that their neighbors could so easily contaminate them. People could contract the disease by coming in contact with animals or other people who were already infected. Once infected with the pneumonic strain, death was certain, often occurring within 24 hours. Since death could occur so quickly and people were often times alone, people wanted to make sure others knew who they were, so they wore tags around their arms and neck (Aberth…show more content…
German physician, John of Saxony, stated that treating plague victims was difficult because they resigned themselves to death. He said there was a belief that “a fixed term of life and death has been established for each individual” (Aberth 51). When it was their time to die, it was their time. The Black Death had a profound impact spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and economically. Friendships and families were destroyed by the plague. Victims were deserted by everyone, including their own family (Cunningham 59). The author of the Decameron said, “ One man shunned another…kinsfolk held aloof, brother was forsaken by brother, oftentimes husband by wife; may, what is more, and scarcely to be believed, fathers and mothers were found to abandon their own children to their fate, untended, unvisited as if they had been strangers” (Galli 1). Respect for the church and its authority declined, and it suffered credibility issues (Cunningham 65). People thought the church had turned against them during the crisis. Therefore, they started to question religion. Survivors began to indulge in sin (Cunningham 76). The clergy was viewed as only concerned with themselves, having deserted people and towns in their time of need (Galli

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