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Sept, 13, 2012.docx

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University of Guelph
HIST 1010
Christine Ekholst

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  14thcentury  Crops failed because of bad weather  Famine 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  What? o Yersinia Pestis o Bacteria o On fleas, rats, and ships 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  Explanations o Corrupt air o Poisonous fumes o Poison in wells o Wrath of G-d  Punishment for the sins  Reactions o Blame someone  Jews specifically  Tortured and tried Jews o Repent your sins o Flagellants o Give up trying to please G-d  Partied  Reckless  Consequences 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  Pope returned to Rome but died shortly afterward  Romans were afraid another French Pope would be elected, so an Italian pope was elected o Cardinals claimed they were forced to make this decision so they fled to
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