The Black Death

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Published on 12 Mar 2012
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Lecture 38 March 5, 2012
The Black Death (14th Century)
Population
Expand of Europe’s horizon for reasons for trade (first)
1000 1300: population tripled
o Had been built primarily on agriculture
Population was very great in relation to the amount of technology available at the time
Rapid increase in population
By 1300: Europe reaches human carrying capacity
o Period of growth, mostly in rural
o Surplus of labour available
o Strategies running out of steam; no new technologies introduced
o Much of quality land was already being cultivated little room for agricultural
increase
o Land prices increased steadily before declining a bit before leveling off
Climate
More precipitation
Became colder
Weather was becoming harsher
Sea route to Greenland was becoming more difficult to access
o People in Greenland seized to exist
Change in climate occurred slowly
1315-1317: The Great Famine
o Widespread famine
o Hit N especially badly
o Rain fell heavily
o People brought together to collectively pray
o Harvest failed, hunger set in
o Many died from starvation and diseases that set in weakened population
o Rumors of cannibalism
Plague
Black Sea Port first time it was encountered
Brought to Constantinople
Believed that it originated in Asia
1347: first came to Europe
~35 million people died
Bubonic plague groin and armpits were where people found their first symptoms of the
plague
Carried and spread through fleas traveling on rats, who traveled in merchant carts
o Explains how the plagues spread
Indiscriminately attacked people
People turned to religion, looking for answers
o Blamed Jews
People died so quick, there wasn’t time to bury them
Arguably the same disease during Justinian time but a bit morphed
Attempted to stop spread of disease by closing doors to their communities
Seem to have occasioned some extreme actions
o Ex: flagellants beat themselves in attempt to cleanse their sins
Pope tried to stop practice, but people continued practicing it
Some reached back to older folk cures Pre-Christian practices
o Some claimed that they could get rid of the evil spirits in others
Some left the cities self-exile in an attempt to leave the plague behind
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Document Summary

Expand of europe"s horizon for reasons for trade (first) 1000 1300: population tripled: had been built primarily on agriculture. Population was very great in relation to the amount of technology available at the time. Sea route to greenland was becoming more difficult to access: people in greenland seized to exist. Black sea port first time it was encountered. Bubonic plague groin and armpits were where people found their first symptoms of the plague. Carried and spread through fleas traveling on rats, who traveled in merchant carts: explains how the plagues spread. People turned to religion, looking for answers: blamed jews. People died so quick, there wasn"t time to bury them. Arguably the same disease during justinian time but a bit morphed. Attempted to stop spread of disease by closing doors to their communities. Seem to have occasioned some extreme actions: ex: flagellants beat themselves in attempt to cleanse their sins. Pope tried to stop practice, but people continued practicing it.

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