The Dancing Plague

1008 Words5 Pages
In the small town of Strasbourg, over 400 people dead, 26 percent of the population, in the matter of a month. The dancing plague began in July of 1518, in Strasbourg.. It started with a woman known as Frau Troffea, she began dancing by herself in the middle of the street nonstop. About a week later a little less than three dozen joined her. By August of 1518, around 400 people were dancing. Similar outbreaks took place in Germany and Switzerland. The cause of the mania is still unknown, leaving people in awe of the horrific plague. Some people think the dancing plague was caused caused by ergot poisoning or that most dancers were part of a religious cult; I agree with the people that think it was caused by ergot poisoning. One of the theories…show more content…
Late medieval Europeans reckoned that healing saints could inflict the same maladies they were meant to heal. And we have compelling evidence that the peoples of the Rhine and Mosel valleys believed that when the wrath of St. Vitus had been provoked, he sent down plagues of compulsive dancing. This makes sense because in religious cults St. Vitus was a well known saint in the christian bible and often recognized throughout cults. The dancers committed strange movements and exhibited actions that were part of christian traditions, paying homage to jesus. In their songs they uttered names of the devil and names they have never heard before. The actions of the dancers were depicted as immoral. This could prove the fact because cults normally speak often of devils or they worship them. Some cult rituals have dancing in them too. Studies of cults has revealed that people are likely to fall into a trance if they already believe in spirit possession. The daily lives of nuns were in a supernaturalism, imaginations filled with satanic figures. This statement confirms the claim because dancers often spoke of satanic things or if the cult worshiped satanic figures then their minds would be corrupt, full of demons and others beings. The dancers were mostly religious seeking out shrines, having unfamiliar customs. Many of the dancers were in many countries such as Bohemia, but also from Hungary, Poland, Carinthia, Austria, and Germany were pilgrims. This makes sense because in those regions a popular cult could have been present trying to convince others to join the cult. It could also have been a publicity stunt to raise awareness of the
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