The black death
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The Black Death. And the Persistence of Plague. Overview. The Late Medieval Period: 1350-1500 Outbreak of Plague Its Characteristics Reactions Consequences. The Late Medieval Period. Sometimes depicted as a time of decay The end of medieval civilization?

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The Black Death

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The black death

The Black Death

And the Persistence of Plague


Overview

Overview

  • The Late Medieval Period: 1350-1500

  • Outbreak of Plague

  • Its Characteristics

  • Reactions

  • Consequences


The late medieval period

The Late Medieval Period

  • Sometimes depicted as a time of decay

    • The end of medieval civilization?

    • Knights become less important in battle

  • Also a period enormous creativity and change

    • Inventions: printing press, cannons, clocks, navigation

    • Art & Architecture: the Italian Renaissance

  • Changing balance of social forces

    • Merchants increasingly powerful

    • Hereditary aristocracy challenged

    • Spread of patronage beyond courts

  • Monarchy remains the dominant form of political organization but republican ideals emerge in Italy


Plague

Plague

  • Origins of the Black Death

    • Worldwide pandemic in the 14th century

    • Started in China during 1330s

    • Spread to Crimean peninsula in the late 1340s

    • rats & fleas spread a deadly bacterium, Yrsenia Pestis

    • Crimean War a likely vector for transmission of the plague to Europe

    • onset in Genoa in 1347

    • Spreads to the rest of Europe by 1350

    • recent evidence suggest that other diseases, such as cattle and sheep murrain, accompanied bubonic plague

  • Plague continues to visit Europe periodically until 1723 but exercises little dramatic effect after 1450


Plague1

Plague

  • Virtually absent in Europe since seventh century

  • Transmission

    • Bubonic – black rats and fleas

    • Pnuemonic - coughing

    • Septicemic – bodily fluids

  • Symptoms

    • Buboes near groin and armpits

    • Lingering sickness for several weeks

  • Modern treatment includes antibiotics


Thomas malthus 1766 1834 founder of demographic studies

Thomas Malthus1766-1834Founder of Demographic Studies


Murrain anthrax

Murrain & Anthrax?


How does chaucer s poetry reflect the rise of the middle class

How does Chaucer’s poetry reflect the rise of the middle class?

  • It contains stories from several middle class characters

  • It subtly mocks chivalric ideals

  • It ridicules the prestige of the church authorities

  • It depicts a society that is relatively prosperous


How does the tone of the miller s tale differ from the tone of the knight s tale

How does the tone of the Miller’s Tale differ from the tone of the Knight’s Tale

  • The Knight was more inclined to be rude and disgusting

  • The Miller was more deferential in his tone

  • The Miller told a drunken story about adultery and included references to farting

  • The Knight told a classic Arthurian Romance


Yersinia pestis

Yersinia Pestis


Lingering depopulation from plague population levels fell and stay low for over a hundred years

Lingering Depopulation from PlaguePopulation levels Fell and Stay low for over a hundred years


The yeoman hero robin hood 1300s

The Yeoman HeroRobin Hood1300s


Processions

Processions


The danse macabre

The Danse Macabre


The dance of death

The Dance of Death


Demographic consequences

Demographic Consequences

  • Demography is the key concept

    • population decline was dramatic: 40% of Europe dies within 5 years

    • Wustungen: entire villages left empty

    • Some cities, such as Florence, Italy, experienced mortality rates over 70%

    • Other areas were relatively unaffected

  • No big rebound as plague becomes endemic to Europe

    • The Gray Death in 1361

    • Plague in late 1360s, mid 1370s, etc…

    • Gradually fades out over hundreds of years

    • Last visitation of plague was in 1723 in Marseilles, France


Socio economic consequences

Socio-Economic Consequences

  • Declining production in the short term

    • Short term price increase in grain (over in 5 years)

  • Rents fall and stay low for a century

  • Labor shortage: wages rise and remain high for decades

  • Luxury goods rise in price and remain high for decades

  • Gap between rich and poor narrows

  • 1350-1450: good years for skilled laborers

  • New agricultural strategies develop

    • Increasing pasturage

    • Enclosures begin in England and continue for 400 years


Socio economic consequences1

Socio-Economic Consequences

  • Did the Black Death cause the end of serfdom?

  • Definition of Serfdom

    • Labor duties instead of rents

    • Manorial exactions: merchet, tallage, and heriot

    • Legal status based on land tenure

  • Arguments in favor of this assumption

    • Deserted villages

    • Demography favors laborers

  • Arguments against this assumption

    • Land/labor ratios

    • Conflicting evidence: Eastern vs. Western Europe

    • Increases in market economy and wage labor predated plague

    • Influence of urban economy

  • Neo serfdom: an anomalous trend from 1350-1400

  • Nevertheless, serfdom virtually disappears in western Europe by 1500


Social responses to plague

Social Responses to Plague

  • Processions

    • Flagellants re-emerge after decades in remission

  • Explanations and Scapegoats

    • God sent it

    • Sin caused it

    • Antichrist would soon arrive

    • Jews poisoned wells

  • Deserted villages and manors

    • Encroaching forests

    • Rejuvenation of the soil


The dance of death or danse macabre

The Dance of Death or Danse Macabre

  • Literary and pictorial depictions of a procession that brings the richest to the poorest to their graves

  • A northern European phenomenon, the concept was in circulation over fifty years prior to the Black Death, but after 1350 depictions of it were more numerous

  • Emphasized the socially leveling aspects of death i.e. everyone dies but it also was an incitement to penance in preparation for imminent death

  • Its depiction lasted well into the Northern Renaissance of the 1500s


Summary

Summary

  • European population declined by 50% during the Fourteenth Century

    • famine hits first

    • war between England and France contributes to destruction of productive capacities of agriculture in France

    • plague hits late 1340s and every 5-10 years for the rest of the century

  • Apocalyptic & religious concerns rise

  • Amid chaos new economic opportunities develop

  • Social mobility increased


Summary1

Summary

  • Although it probably accelerated the decline of serfdom, the demographic collapse of the fourteenth century did not destroy the foundations of high medieval culture

  • By increasing social mobility and heightening religious and apocalyptic fear, plague provided a catalyst for many of the social, economic, and cultural changes that characterized the turbulent early modern period from 1350-1800


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