Black Death Essay

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Black Death, outbreak of bubonic plague that struck Europe and the Mediterranean area from 1347 through 1351. It was the first of a cycle of European plague epidemics that continued until the early 18th century. A cycle of ancient plagues had preceded these plagues between the 6th and 8th centuries AD; another cycle of modern followed them, but less deadly, plagues that began in the late 19th century and continue in the 20th century. The term "Black Death" was not used to refer to the plagues of 1347 through 1351 until much later; contemporaries usually called it the Pestilence, or the Great Mortality.
Plague is a bacterial infection that can take more than one form. Victims of bubonic plague usually suffer from high fevers and
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As with earthquakes, floods, and fires, medieval Christians assumed illness was a call to repentance. In response, some Christians, known as flagellants, began ritually to beat themselves as penance for their own and for others' sins. Although groups of flagellants had existed since the 10th century, the outbreak of the plague radically increased their numbers.
These new groups of flagellants appeared first in Hungary and Germany and then spread throughout the rest of northern Europe. Flagellants traveled as a group and were led by a cleric. They went from town to town and at each stop, after a short sermon by the leader, the penitents would whip or flog themselves before moving onto the next town.
Medieval physicians inherited their medical ideas from the Greeks and Romans, who believed that health involved a balance of bodily humors. Imbalances caused by emotional, dietary, or external factors like noxious odors could result in sickness or even death. Contemporary writers associated plague with the influence of planets and stars, or with earthquakes, which they thought to cause the release of noxious gases from the center of the
     VI     EFFECTS OF THE PLAGUE The Black Death and the other epidemics of bubonic plague had many consequences. One was a series of vicious attacks on Jews, lepers, and outsiders whom they accused of deliberately poisoning the water or the air.

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