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Late Medieval Society. Population Pressures and the Black Death: 1347. Black Death. The Legacy in Rhyme…. Ring a-round the rosy Pocket full of posies Ashes, ashes! We all fall down!. Malthus and the Theory of Population.

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late medieval society

Late Medieval Society

Population Pressures and the Black Death: 1347

the legacy in rhyme
The Legacy in Rhyme…

Ring a-round the rosy

Pocket full of posies

Ashes, ashes!

We all fall down!

malthus and the theory of population
Malthus and the Theory of Population....
  • In 1800, Thomas Malthus theorized that the human population would always face periodic demographic disasters. He reasoned that food supply grew arithmetically, but human population grew geometrically.
slide5
And…..
  • Thus periodically population would outstrip food supply, and people would face war, famine, pestilence or other disasters which would reduce the population, return the relationship between food and population to balance and start the process over again.
late medieval society1
Late Medieval Society
  • About 1000, the medieval world had stabilized. For the next 300 years it grew.
    • 200 - 40 million
    • 600 - 20 million
    • 1000- 23 million
    • 1340 - 60 million
    • 1400 - 35 million
    • 1500 - 55 million
    • Detailed Population Estimates
by 1300
By 1300….
  • Europe was ‘crowded’ –not by today’s standards, but according to the economic and technological standard of the time.
  • So people either had to (1) decide that their children would get poorer; (2) figure out how to control population growth.
  • Malthus called (2) the “preventive check.”
for individuals what regulates family formation
For individuals.....What Regulates Family Formation?
  • Age of Maturity
  • Permission of Parents, Kin, or Perhaps Lord or Master
  • Resources to Set Up a Household: land, housing, trade
results
Results….
  • Agnatic lineages become common.
  • Sons had to await the death of their fathers to inherit.
  • Inheritances were organized to concentrate economic resources, not disperse property, so land was ‘entailed’ and ‘primogeniture’ was practiced.
slide14
And…..
  • Entail prevents the break up of land parcels,
  • Primogeniture requires that the eldest son inherit all family resources.
  • Other children were (1) sent into the church; (2) sent to the Crusades; (3) given small property settlements which left them downwardly mobile.
slide15
And….
  • Men wait to marry;
  • Women marry young because they might ‘miss’ a mate.
cultural results
Cultural Results...
  • 1. large age differences once again between husbands and wives, and thus perceptions of distant fathers and more loving mothers
  • 2. a system adjusted to the economic realities - slow expansion with potential for adjustment and additional growth
to reiterate the malthusian question
To reiterate the Malthusian Question
  • Periodically population would outstrip food supply, and people would face war, famine, pestilence or other disasters which would reduce the population, return the relationship between food and population to balance and start the process over again.
malthus was right
Malthus was right...
  • In the history of human society up to the time Malthus was writing, the theory held. Malthus could look back and seem demographic disasters.
  • The decline of the Roman Empire (around 500 AD), and
  • The Plague or Black Deathin (the late 1340s):
the experience in florence
The Experience in Florence
  • The Florentine Chronicle of the plague.
  • In the year of the Lord 1348 there was a very great pestilence in the city and district of Florence. It was of such a fury and so tempestuous that in houses in which it took hold previously healthy servants who took care of the ill died of the same illness. Almost non of the ill survived past the fourth day. …
the experience in florence1
The Experience in Florence
  • The Florentine Chronicle of the plague.
  • …Neither physicians nor medicines were effective. Whether because these illnesses were previously unknown or because physicians had not previously studied them, there seemed to be no cure. There was such a fear that no one seemed to know what to do. …
the experience in florence2
The Experience in Florence
  • The Florentine Chronicle of the plague.
  • …When it took hold in a house it often happened that no one remained who had not died. And it was not just that men and women died, but even sentient animals died. Dogs, cats, chickens, oxen, donkeys sheep showed the same symptoms and died of the same disease. And almost none, or very few, who showed these symptoms, were cured. …
the experience in florence3
The Experience in Florence
  • The Florentine Chronicle of the plague.
  • …The symptoms were the following: a bubo in the groin, where the thigh meets the trunk; or a small swelling under the armpit; sudden fever; spitting blood and saliva (and no one who spit blood survived it). It was such a frightful thing that when it got into a house, as was said, no one remained. Frightened people abandoned the house and fled to another. Those in town fled to villages. Physicians could not be found because they had died like the others….
florentine catasto 1427
Florentine Catasto: 1427
  • Circulation of children to the households of the rich
  • Richest households are larger than poorer households
  • Bottom quartile has little property and therefore incentive based upon inheritance to regulate sexual behavior