The Black Death, 1347-1350 (I)

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  • The Black Death, 1347-1350
    • The Arrival of the Plague in Padua
      • Cortusii Patavini Duo, sive Gulielmi et Abrigeti Cortusiorum, Historia de Navitatibus Paduae et Lombardi, 1256-1364
        • 'A single stranger carried the infection to Padua, to such effect that perhaps a third of the people died within the region as a whole...
        • 'Cities and settlements were left desolate by this calamity. No voices could be heard, except in mourning and lamentation.
        • 'The voice of the bride and groom ceased, and so did music, the songs of young people and all rejoicing.
        • 'The plagues in the days of Pharaoh, David, Ezekiel and Pope Gregory now seemed nothing by comparison, for this plague encircled the whole globe. In the days of Noah, God did not destroy all living souls and it was possible for human race to recover.'
      • To Chroniclers of Padua, worse than Noah's flood
    • Disease heralded end of the world
    • Mortality in Europe
      • Claimed 90% of population died
      • Others claim 80% mortality
      • Others 50% or 33.33%
      • According to Richard Goddard
        • 48% is most likely
        • Nearly half-population of England died in 18 months
    • The Plague in Ireland
      • Except from Irish Chronicle, 1349
        • 'And I, Brother John Clynn, of the Friars Minor of Kilkenny, have written in this book...
        • 'So that notable deeds should not perish with time, and be lost from the memory of future generations, I, seeing these many ills, and that the whole world is encompassed by evil waiting among the dead for death to come, have committed to writing what I have truly heard and examined;...
        • 'and so that the writing does not perish with the writer,....I leave parchment for continuing the work, in case anyone should still be alive in the future and any son of Adam can escape this pestilence and continue the work thus begun.'
    • Symptoms of the Disease
      • Contemporaries realised they were dealing with specific disease
      • Painful swellings on groin or armpits, little blisters, blotchy discolouration of skin
      • First symptoms
        • Coldness
        • Depression
        • Pins and needles
      • Later symptoms
        • Swellings (noxious and smelling pus)
      • Pneumonic plague
        • Coughing up blood
        • Nearly certainly fatal
        • Lungs then brain affected
    • Causes of spreading of the disease
      • Fleas spreading disease
        • Carried by rats
        • When flea bites into human to feed and regurgitates infected matter
      • Also spread by breathing in bacteria from those infected coughing
      • Corrupted air
        • Believed to be cause by contemporaries
      • Medieval astrologers and chroniclers
        • Medieval chroniclers blamed atmospheric changes brought about by planetary configurations
          • in particular the 1345 conjunction of Mars, Saturn and Jupiter
        • God only being with power to move planets so is ultimately  responsible
    • Plague struck again in 1369
      • Those who survived first outbreak would have developed immunity when it returned in 1369
      • Children born after initial outbreak would not have such immunity
    • All contemporary chroniclers believe plague was act of God
      • Penance and appeal to God
      • Archbishop of York ordered special procession in July 1448 in order to demonstrate to God how population was very sorry
        • 'Therefore we command, and order you to let it be known with all possible haste, that devout processions are to be held every Wednesday and Friday in out cathedral church, in [all] other...
        • 'churches, and in every parish church in our city and diocese, with a solemn chanting of the litany, and that a special prayer be said in mass every day for allying the plague and pestilence,...
        • 'so that the Saviour, harkening to the constant entreaties, will pardon and come to rescue of the creation which God fashioned in his own image.'
      • Flagellants
        • account
          • 'They suddenly sprang up in all parts of Germany, calling themselves cross bearers or flagellants.
          • 'They were called flagellants because of the whips [flagella] which they used in performing public penance.
          • 'In 1348 a race aroused universal wonder  by their sudden appearance in  huge numbers.
          • 'Each whip consisted of a stick with three knotted thongs hanging from the end.
          • 'Two pieces of needle-sharp metal were run through the centre of the knots from both sides, forming a cross, the ends of which extended beyond the knots for the length of a grain wheat or less.
          • 'Using these whips they beat and whipped their bare skin until their bodies were bruised and swollen and blood rained down, spattering the walls nearby.'
        • Whipped themselves
        • Self-punishment
        • Punishing themselves in order to pay for mankind's sinfulness
        • Church turned against them very quickly
        • Antisemitism
        • Pope Clement VI outlawed group in October 1349

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