Quarantine During The Black Death

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The Black Death, the most notorious epidemic of the plague, wiped out around thirty to fifty percent of Europe’s population between around 1346-1353. Despite the massive loss of life, it is important to consider that dire situations can reap surprising benefits and are often necessary to give society a nudge forward to greater prospects. As traumatic and horrific as the Black Death was, it offered a variety of opportunities that assisted in propelling Europe to a brighter future.

1. Advancements in Anatomy

In 1300, under Pope Boniface the eighth, the church banned any form of dissection or autopsy of the human body. It was believed that the dismembering of the dead would thwart the soul from rising to heaven (Link 1). As a result, very …show more content…

In fourteenth century Venice, the practice of quarantine was utilized in an attempt to stunt the spread of the plague from incoming merchant ships. The word is even derived from the Italian word “quaranta”, which translates to forty days (Link 9). While their efforts were not highly successful in inhibiting the dissemination of the disease, it did mark interest in early contagion theory and more formal procedures of quarantine that better resembles the methods we use today (Link …show more content…

The Birth of Protestantism

Even before the Black Death, faith in Catholicism began to dwindle. King Philip the fifth used his power to move the papacy from Rome to France, where abuses and corruption ran rampant. In order to salvage the church’s reputation Pope Gregory the eleventh moved the church back to Rome. He died shortly after the move and a fight over electing a Roman or French Pope left the church divided, and vulnerable (Link 15).

The Black Death hits when the church was at one of its most weak and corrupted points in its history. With the spread of disease, many priests were dying, and countless living priests avoided victims seeking last rights out of fear. Faced with the church’s excess, depravity, and lack of empathy, followers began to lose faith. The plague put one of the final nails in the coffin and allowed for the seeds of the protestant reformation to be planted (Link 16). That reformation, famously led by Martin Luther, would end indulgences that took advantage of the poor, advocated for the education of lower classes through the distribution of texts, and strip the church of much of its corruptive power (Link 17).

8. Overall Living

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