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HIST 1010 Lecture Notes - Simony, Purgatory, Indulgence

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HIST 1010
Christine Ekholst

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HIST*1010 Sept, 13, 2012
Black Death (A.K.A Great Plague, Bubonic Plague)
Why was it so bad?
o Demographic disasters
Population growth
1000-1300 the population doubled/tripled
1300, population had used up all of the land
Were producing as much food as they could
Europe was a subsistence economy
One lives with what one makes
o No surplus
Barely enough food
14th century
Crops failed because of bad weather
o 1315-1322
o Weakened population
o Food was scarce
o Go to extremes to get food
o Punishment from G-d?
o Poor sanitary conditions
o No medical cure
When and Where?
o Europe
o 1346
o Came from the East (Traders)
o 1347 hit Constantinople
o 1348 hit France
o 1348 (‘end date’)
Does not mean plague no longer existed
End of period
o Plague followed the trade routes
How it entered Europe and how it spread
o Yersinia Pestis
o Bacteria
o On fleas, rats, and ships
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o Symptoms
Buboes (swelling)
Discolourations of the skin
o Combination of three different plagues which hit different
parts of the body
Started with the lips, spread to the lungs
Explains why some people died without the ‘buboes’
o Can’t establish the exact death rates
1/5 ½ of Europe’s population died
Regional variations
o Corrupt air
o Poisonous fumes
o Poison in wells
o Wrath of G-d
Punishment for the sins
o Blame someone
Jews specifically
Tortured and tried Jews
o Repent your sins
o Flagellants
o Give up trying to please G-d
o Lack of faith in religious authority
Church was in trouble
Avignon Papacy (1309-1378)
Very concerned with incomes
o Sale of church offices (Simony)
o Sale of indulgences
Easy to sell during the plague
Instead of doing penance
Time spent in purgatory
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