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Diffusion: The Black Death in the 1300s Ronald Wiltse September 2006

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I. Introduction A. Where we are : 1 We know the facts.

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I. Introduction A. Where we are : 1 We know the facts. 2 We limit our concern to Europe.

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I. Introduction A. Where we are : 1 We know the facts. 2 We limit our concern to Europe. 3 We may get bogged down in the details.

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I. Introduction B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 1 The plague itself and the nature of its transmission

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I. Introduction B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 2 the general curve of the transmission

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I. Introduction B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague

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I. Introduction B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 4 Footnote: recurrences

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I. Introduction C. Subsidiary issues 1 How do historians determine population? 2 Where are the crowded places?

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II. Discussion A. Subsidiary issues first: 1 How do historians determine population? ► With one exception, censi are modern phenomena.

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II. Discussion A. Subsidiary issues first: 1 How do historians determine population? ► Before: historians count hearths, view surviving baptism records.

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II. Discussion A. Subsidiary issues first: 1 How do historians determine population? ► Therefore, population historians disagree about the statistics.

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II. Discussion A. Subsidiary issues first: 1 How do historians determine population? ► Population compared with death numbers yields the death rate.

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II. Discussion A. Subsidiary issues first: 1 How do historians determine population? Thus: Number who died (uncertain) divided by Population (uncertain) equals Death rate

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II. Discussion A. Subsidiary issues first: 2 Where are the crowded places? ► towns and cities (most people rural; most danger urban)

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II. Discussion A. Subsidiary issues first: 2 Where are the crowded places? ► towns and cities (most people rural; most danger urban) ► monastaries

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 1 The plague itself and the nature of its transmission ► bacteria spread in two ways—fleas on black rats, breath

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 1 The plague itself and the nature of its transmission ► bacteria spread in two ways—fleas on black rats, breath ► How? Traders, probably

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 1 The plague itself and the nature of its transmission ► death rate: 25-67% ► the case of Florence (50+%)

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 1 The plague itself and the nature of its transmission ► minority view: It was not Yersinia pestis, not spread by rats (cf. Iceland, where there were no black rats, and the difficulty of spread along Silk Route)

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 2 the general curve of the transmission: broader than just Europe and the approaches to Europe

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 2 the general curve of the transmission a. China and the Mongol world ► Outbreak occurred in the 1330s (Hubei Province)...In-depth studies of this are unknown. ►...reached the Black Sea by the Silk Road, specifically the Genoese port of Caffa, in the Crimean Peninsula.

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Genoese Caffa is modern Stary Krym. (In addition, Mongols besieging Caffa catapulted dead plague victims over the wall). Today the Crimea is an autonomous republic in Ukraine.

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 2 the general curve of the transmission b. Europe bla, bla, bla

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 2 the general curve of the transmission b. Europe bla, bla, bla But notice the interesting maps ▼

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 2 the general curve of the transmission c. Islam ► Alexandria reached 1347 ► Mecca reached 1349 ► Islamic authorities decided that the best course was to do nothing, because fleeing would be more socially disruptive. ►Apparently, the death rate was similar to that of Europe, i.e., 25-67%

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague ► General: social unease

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague ► General: social unease (cf. Katrina)

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague Specifically European: ► farmland abandoned, resulting in more food (Why?) ► per acre production increased (Why?)

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague Specifically European: ► fewer workers meant higher wages ► English language gained currency

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B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague Specifically European: ►Roman Catholic Church’s power weakened ►Reputed effects on subsequent Eastern European history II. Discussion

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B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague Specifically European: ► social disorder and lasting concern for these inexplicable events ► Boccaccio set his Decameron in1348 ► Ring around the Rosy... II. Discussion

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B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague Specifically European:...And of course the ever popular II. Discussion

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B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague Specifically European:...And of course the ever popular ► increased persecution of Jews

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 the effects of the plague Islamic effects: ► governments were weakened ► extensive social disruption ► some rural areas completely depopulated

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 Footnote : some recurrences ► Italy 1629-1531 (30 Years’ War troop movement)

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 Footnote : some recurrences ► London 1665-1666 (but not on London Bridge)

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 Footnote : some recurrences ► Vienna 1679 ► Marseille 1720-1722 ► Moscow 1771 ► Bagdad 1830-1831

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II. Discussion B. What is important for students to know about the plague? 3 Footnote : some recurrences ► Third pandemic began in1855. All continents affected. The plague was especially severe in China and India. ► still endemic in India, rare in Europe and the United States

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Fini* *culi, cula

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