Was the Black Death More Than Just a Disease?

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The Black Death is well known as one of the deadliest diseases. According to Haensch, “the Black Death killed tens of millions of people in Europe, leaving misery and devastation in its wake, with successive epidemics ravaging the continent until the 18th century” (par. 1). The Black Death began because of Yersinia pestis, bacteria from an infected rat or flea, and the bacteria can also be transmitted through the air.

Of course, the Black Death affected the population, but it also made an impact on society. The plague changed how people lived. It affected religion, because many felt like they were being punished from God. The Black Death encouraged doctors and surgeons to practice their theories and find ways to treat the disease (Vanneste 99). Society was changing during the outbreak of the disease, and people were dealing with this in different ways. Although the Black Death is recognized as one of the deadliest diseases, it also is known for impacting the church and society.

The Black Death was one of the most infectious and deadliest pandemics in history. Haensch writes, “In 1347, an epidemic known as the Black Death spread from the Caspian Sea to almost all European countries, causing the death of one third of the European population over the next few years” (par. 2). The disease is violent and can kill an infected person in 24 hours if he is not treated. Some contracted the disease through a rat bite, and others contracted it through inhaling the bacteria into their lungs. When one is infected, he can have a fever, chills, muscle aches, and also cough up blood. Within hours, the person is likely to die. The Black Death is known for wiping out Europe’s population, but it also spread to other countries. After the disease hit Europe, it fled to Germany, Italy, and France.

The disease was extremely infectious and it spread to Norway in 1349 and Russia in 1351. There are no diseases that can compare to the Black Death, except Ebola. Both diseases are highly infectious, and the symptoms are almost the exact same. It is amazing how two deadly diseases, so similar are able to break out in different parts of the world at separate times in history. The Black Death not only impacted the population of Europe, but also religion.

During the Middle Ages, church was apart of everyday life for European Christians. So, when the Black Death began to break out, many people were affected. Some Christians prayed to God to forgive them from their sins, because they believed God was punishing them. Zentner writes, “Medieval Europeans turned towards the Church and its leaders in times of crises because they were in search of answers that provided a degree of order and solidity” (1). People began to lose their confidence in the church, when they realized the church could not save them from the plague. At this time the Catholic Church was more secular and focused on wealth and power, rather than leading people to Christ, so most people lost their faith and confidence in the church, not God (Zentner 2).

Religious movements separated from the church and began to break out during this time. There was also a violent movement against the Jews at this time. European Christians believed that the Jews were the ones who started the plague. This shows that the church was not representing Christ at all. The Black Death impacted Europe’s population, but it also created chaos in the church. The plague definitely impacted European society.

Because of the Black Death, European society was impacted in many ways. Because of how many people died, the working conditions changed. The rich lost their peasants and workers. This caused the rich peoples’ status and power to decline. Even the economy was impacted. The Agricultural prices dropped, and this impacted the rich, because their wealth was based on land. There was also a heavily need for employment, after losing many people. Another effect of the Black Death was that it helped modernize medicine.

According to Vanneste, “the Black Death represents an event that helped shape medieval medicine’s course of development, and as such, helped shape the development of future medical practices” (99). The Black Death challenged doctors and surgeons in all kinds of ways. Doctors began to develop more modern treatments. After the Black Death, there was a more emphasis on the teaching of anatomy and surgery (Vanneste 99). Therefore, the Black Death had at least one good outcome.

The Black Death was an epidemic caused by Yersinia Pestis, and it killed tens of millions of people in Europe from 1347-1353 (Haensch par. 1). The Black Death was a horrific plague that will go down in history as one of the most devastating diseases ever. Society was impacted greatly after the Black Death. The church was in chaos. Many European Christians left the church and started their own religious movements, some involving attacking the Jews.

The Black Death revealed how people can turn on others when they are not guaranteed safety. So many people perished because of the plague, and so there was a need for workers. Perhaps a good impact of the Black Death would be the improved medicine. Doctors and surgeons became introduced to more modernized medicines and treatments. Overall, the Black Death was a deadly and infectious disease that killed millions, but it did more than just take out the population of Europe.

Cite this paper

Was the Black Death More Than Just a Disease?. (2020, Sep 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/was-the-black-death-more-than-just-a-disease/

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