The Bubonic Plague In The 13th Century

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In the thirteenth century in Europe, the population had a relatively good life. Filled with fair weather and an expanding count of humans, progression seemed to be running smoothly along. However, something terrible was brewing on the horizon: toward the end of the century, a natural disaster hit in a magnitude that had never been seen before by anyone.

The Bubonic Plague was a form of sickness that spread through Europe in the Black Death’s reign, riding on infected rats from fleas. This deadly bacterium, Yersinia pestis, killed “50 to 60 percent of its victims” (page 284) and was accompanied by “high fever, swelling joints, swelling of the lymph nodes, and dark blotches caused by bleeding beneath the skin” (page 284). While searching for …show more content…

Children were abandoned, families torn apart, and a general panic spread through everyone. As stated before, the Black Death was the first major epidemic to ever infect these countries, so some reacted with extreme actions. With the end of the world around the corner, many people began to live each day like their last, and some even “threw themselves with abandon into sexual and alcoholic orgies” (page 286). As stated by the author Giovanni Boccaccio himself, “[Some people] held that plenty of drinking and enjoyment, singing and free living and the gratification of the appetite in every single way, letting the devil take the hindmost… for everyone had abandoned all responsibilities for his belongings as well as for himself, considering his days numbered” (page 286). A choice group called the Flagellants believed that God was punishing humanity for their sins, and began to march from city to city, men and women “flogging themselves with whips to win the forgiveness of God” (page 286). In the end, however, their crazed antics caused their demise by the hands of public authorities in 1350. The morbid thoughts of the European community in this dark time is forever immortalized in tombstone carvings of grotesque figures, rotting corpses, and

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