The Death Of The Black Death

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The Black Death was one of the worst pandemics in history. The disease ravaged Europe, Western Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa between 1346 and 1353 (Horrox 1994). It is difficult to understand the reality of such a devastating event, especially given the fact that science during the middle ages was severely underdeveloped. No one knew about bacteria, viruses, or other microbial agents of disease (Benedictow 2004). They had no way of protecting themselves during that time and no one was safe from the effects of the plague. Those who wrote chronicles claimed that only a tenth of the population had survived, while others claimed that half to a third of the population was left alive (Horrox 1994). In 1351, agents for Pope Clement VI predicted the number of deaths in Europe to be 23,840,000 (Gottfried 1983). Obviously, not all regions experienced the same mortality rates, but modern estimates of the death rate in England give the first outbreak a mortality rate of about forty-eight percent (Horrox 1994). That is, England lost half of its population in about a year and a half. Clearly the chroniclers ' who claimed that ninety percent of the population had died were overstating the magnitude of the plague, but this overemphasis demonstrates how terrifying the pandemic was to those who experienced it (Horrox 1994). The Black Death had huge consequences on the lives of those who were impacted directly, as well as major religious and cultural effects that came afterward.

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