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The Black Death

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Zachary Davies Mr. O'Connor British Literature December 12, 2004 The Black Death The Black Death was undoubtedly one of the most devastating diseases that occurred during the middle ages. The Black Death, also known as the Bubonic Plague, was a world-wide epidemic that caused the death of more than 20 million people throughout Europe (Velenzdas). The people of this time period were clueless as to the cause of the plague, but were well aware of the tell-tale symptoms that accompanied infection. There were many "cures" for the outbreaks, however it is known that only a small percentage proved successful. Although the Black Death is deemed by many to be the most devastating pandemic in history, some consider it to have ultimately led to the Renaissance by starting a revolution in the arts and sciences (Cantor 22-23). ...read more.


It is from these lesions that the name, Bubonic Plague, was derived from. In addition to the buboes, there was also much diarrhea and vomiting, which resulted in severe dehydration. The final stage, which often resulted in death, was respiratory failure (Cantor 12). It was known that infected humans would suffer a near 90 percent death rate in less than one week following exposure (Velenzdas). The people of medieval Europe used seemingly ridiculous cures in attempts to rectify the many symptoms of the plague. Many people sought the advice of "witches" and herbalists to cure a family member of the illness. Very few of these remedies proved to be successful, such as controlling the flea population in human dwellings, and many were often fatal. One extremely interesting thing to note is that bathing, a practice which may have helped prevent spread of the plague, was deemed dangerous by doctors during that time period due to the fact it was believed it made it easier for one to be infected by the plague (Cantor 23). ...read more.


This led to a huge upturn in the market for tapestry makers, due to the fact the rich wanted their house to be "functional as well as decorative" (Cantor 22). In addition, the end of the plague brought about an economic change as well. The survivors of the plague were able to join previously over-crowded professions, such as farming, and as the population began to grow again, they thrived and became extremely successful (Bishop). The Black Death was a major epidemic which killed approximately one-third of the population of Europe (Valenzdas). It infected both the poor and rich, and its cause was unknown to the masses. The Plague killed off entire family lines, and resulted in the loss of many great and important people. However, the end of the Black Death signaled a new beginning that seemingly may have paved the way towards an "intellectual revolution" (Cantor 25). Despite many evident details that the Black Death was beneficial to man kind, it is still undeniably one of the deadliest and most destructive epidemics in history. ...read more.

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