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A Time of Troubles (14th-15th centuries) Civilization decreased with the decrease of mankind. Cities and buildings were laid waste, roads and way signs.

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Presentation on theme: "A Time of Troubles (14th-15th centuries) Civilization decreased with the decrease of mankind. Cities and buildings were laid waste, roads and way signs."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Time of Troubles (14th-15th centuries) Civilization decreased with the decrease of mankind. Cities and buildings were laid waste, roads and way signs were obliterated, settlements and mansions became empty, dynasties and tribes grew weak. The entire inhabited world changed.... Muslim account of the plague The Great Famine most of n. Europe (1315-22) heavy rains & cold winters (1315-18) crop failures & livestock epidemics disease, malnutrition, starvation famine in s. Europe (1330s-40s) The "Black Death" Central Asia --> China & India (1330s) Caffa ---> Mediterranean ports, Sicily (1347) Italy, Spain, England, France (1348) Austria, Hungary, Germany (1349) Low Countries (1349) Baltic region, Scandinavia (1350) Killed 1/4th to 1/3rd of population 19-38 million dead (1347-51) wave after wave (1361-63, 1369-71, 1374-75) n. Italy (1630) --> Verona, Mantua (60-70%) London (1664-65) 70,000+ dead (20% dead) Effects of the Plague population decline (60-75%)-->(1347-1450) psychological impact -flagellants & anti-Semitism -orgies & millenialism, murder & violence -preoccupation with death (sermons, art, etc.)

2 How was the Black Death explained? Plague came from poisonous clouds or miasmas arising from the earth, some said. Conjunctions of the planets, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and comets were blamed.... Dogs and cats (but never rats) were killed for spreading the plague. Drunkards, gravediggers, strangers from other countries, beggars, cripples, gypsies, lepers, and Jews were all tortured and killed.... Jews were tortured into confessing that they had poisoned wells or performed black magic. There was no escape..... No society suffering a loss of one-third of its population could function effectively.... So it was in the world of the Black Death. The foundations of society were gnawed from under it by rats.... More Cunning than Man More Cunning than Man (1983)

3 Primary Source #1 Oh God! See how the heathen Tartar races, pouring together from all sides, suddenly invested the city of Caffa and besieged the trapped Christians there for almost three years. There, hemmed in by an immense army, they could hardly draw breath, although food could be shipped in, which offered them some hope. But behold, the whole army was affected by a disease which overran the Tartars and killed thousands upon thousands every day. It was as though arrows were raining down from heaven to strike and crush the Tartars' arrogance. All medical advice and attention was useless; the Tartars died as soon as the signs of disease appeared on their bodies: swellings in the armpit or groin caused by coagulating humours, followed by a putrid fever. The dying Tartars, stunned and stupefied by the immensity of the disaster brought about by the disease, and realizing that they had no hope of escape, lost interest in the siege. But they ordered corpses to be placed in catapults and lobbed into the city in the hope that the intolerable stench would kill everyone inside. What seemed like mountains of dead were thrown into the city, and the Christians could not hide or flee or escape from them.... And soon the rotting corpses tainted the air and poisoned the water supply, and the stench was so overwhelming that hardly one in several thousand was in a position to flee the remains of the Tartar army.... Gabriele de' Mussi, Historia de Morbo (1348)

4 Primary Source #2 THE UNIVERSAL AND DISTANT CAUSE We say that the distant and first cause of this pestilence was and is the configuration of the heavens. In 1345, at one hour after noon on 20 March, there was a major conjunction of three planets in Aquarius. This conjunction... by causing a deadly corruption of the air around us, signifies mortality and famine.... Aristotle testifies that this is the case... he says that mortality of races and the depopulation of kingdoms occur at the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter.... For Jupiter, being wet and hot, draws up evil vapors from the earth.... THE PARTICULAR AND NEAR CAUSE Although major pestilential illnesses can be caused by the corruption of water or food, as happens at times of famine and infertility, yet we still regard illnesses proceeding from the corruption of the air as much more dangerous.... We believe that the present epidemic or plague has arisen from air corrupt in its substance.... And this corrupted air, when breathed in, necessarily penetrates to the heart and corrupts the substance of spirit there and rots the surrounding moisture, and the heat thus caused destroys the life force, and this is the immediate cause of the present epidemic.... Report of the Paris medical faculty (October 1348)

5 Primary Source #3 At the beginning of October, in the year of the incarnation of the Son of God 1347, twelve Genoese galleys were fleeing from the vengeance which our Lord was taking on account of their nefarious deeds and entered the harbour of Messina. In their bones they bore so virulent a disease that anyone who only spoke to them was seized by a mortal illness and in no manner could evade death.... Those infected felt themselves penetrated by a pain throughout their whole bodies.... Then there developed in their thighs or on their upper arms a boil.... This infected the whole body and penetrated it so far that the patient violently vomited blood. This vomiting of blood continued without intermission for three days, there being no means of healing it, and then the patient expired. But not only all those who had intercourse with them died, but also those who had touched or used any of their things.... Soon men hated each other so much that, if a son was attacked by the disease, his father would not tend him.... As the number of deaths increased in Messina many desired to confess their sins to the priests and to draw up their last will and testament. But ecclesiastics, lawyers and attorneys refused to enter the houses of the diseased.... [The] plague raged with greater vehemence than before. Flight was no longer of avail. The disease clung to the fugitives and accompanied them everywhere where they turned in search of help. Many of the fleeing fell down by the roadside and dragged themselves into the fields and bushes to expire.... Michael Platiensis, account of the plague (ca. 1357)

6 Primary Source #4 there are many masters of the art of medicine who are... entirely ignorant of astrology: a science vital to the physician.... For the arts of medicine and astrology balance each other, and in many respects one science cannot be understood without the other... [Bleeding], which is the beginning of the cure, should not be put off until the first or second day. On the contrary, if someone can be found to do it, blood should be taken... in the very hour in which the patient was seized by illness.... If, after the phlebotomy, the poisonous matter spreads again, the bleeding should be repeated in the same vein... Medical treatise, John of Burgundy (1365)

7 Primary Sources #5 & #6 The plague raged so fiercely that many cities and towns were entirely emptied of people.... Some say it was brought about by the corruption of the air; others that the Jews planned to wipe out all the Christians with poison and had poisoned wells and springs everywhere. And many Jews confessed as much under torture: that they had bred spiders and toads in pots and pans, and had obtained poison from overseas.... Throughout Germany, in all but a few places, they were burnt.... Franciscan friar’s account (1349) In the year of our Lord 1349 the hand of Almighty God struck the human race a deadly blow..... This stroke felled Christians, Jews and infidels alike. It killed confessor and penitent together. In many places it did not leave a fifth of the people alive. This blow struck the whole world with immense terror.... Chronicle of a Cistercian abbey, Lincolnshire

8 Primary Sources #7 & #8 In 1349... an unexpected and universal pestilence from the eastern lands of the Indians and Turks infected the center of the world and slaughtered the Saracens, Turks, Syrians, Palestinians and finally the Greeks with such butchery that they, driven by terror, resolved to receive the Christian faith and sacraments, having heard that the Christians beyond the Greek Sea were not dying more suddenly or in greater numbers than usual. At last fierce destruction came to the countries beyond the Alps, and from there, in stages, to western France and Germany, and, in the seventh year since its beginning, to England.... Geoffrey le Baker On all sides is sorrow; everywhere is fear. I would, my brother, that I had never been born, or, at least, had died before these times. How will posterity believe that there has been a time when without the lightnings of heaven or the fires of earth, without wars or other visible slaughter, not this or that part of the earth, but well-nigh the whole globe, has remained without inhabitants. When has any such thing been even heard or seen; in what annals has it ever been read that houses were left vacant, cities deserted, the country neglected, the fields too small for the dead and a fearful and universal solitude over the whole earth?... Petrarch


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