Famine and the Black Death
The famine set the stage in the Black Death, by infecting a lot of Europe’s people into hunger and starvation. The famine made people more aware of what is happening around them and in European in the 1300’s. Furthermore, in the 1347’s, there was a horrible turning point that occurred in Europe called the Black Death. The plague began in a hot, dry summer, which caused a multitude of fleas and rats to come out from other places. The rats and fleas carried a disease that was deadly to people, which in turn, made the condition spread throughout Europe and quickly sicken the population, both rich and poor. Also, there were three types of disease that the doctors had to deal with the disease. Many Catholics clergy came to an aid that made them suffer painfully. Additionally, over 800 years ago children sang a song of a memory of the black plague. The song was called “Ring Around the Rosie.” Moreover, both the black plague and the famine had a lot of impacts by over twenty million people dying because of the effect in the middle ages.
The famine was also a horrific event that happened in the Black Death. The hunger was terrible for the people that lived there because they had a massive problem with their food and eating it as well. Many families starved and had nothing to eat especially the low-income families, as they did not have the money to put food on the table. Many wealthy families survived the Black Death because they had the money to buy food so they would not starve. There was not a lot of food to eat because many humans were sick and could not take care of the food and crops. The food and crops got fewer over time resulting in none left to eat, so people began to weaken and then die.
Many more events happened in the great famine from 1315 to 1317. It was not only about how a lot of people died, or due to the large geographical area is affected. The great famine also had long time consequences. A consequence that happened in the great famine was that there was more social violence than ever before. There was more murder, rape, and suicide in Europe so the citizens’ families would not starve to death, but they still perished. Because of this, many criminal cases and activities happened to cause more deaths.
The plague began in Eastern Europe and Russia. It was a disease that fleas had, and the fleas were on many black rats in Europe. There were many rats on the ships, which caused the start of a new plague. The plague was a horrible occurrence, many Europeans and Russians bitten by insects died within three or four days. The Europeans that breathed the infected air were killed in a week or much less, although they did not die that painfully like the ones who were bitten by the fleas or rats. Those who contracted the disease turned black in certain spots creating the name, the Black Death, for the plague. One of the main areas on the body that turned black was the hands and fingers. Besides, there would be large red boils under their armpits, which were extremely painful.
There were three forms of this disease called the bubonic, pneumonia, and the septicemic forms. The bubonic form of the illness lasted five to seven days, and it spread by the blood by tick/flea bites. The pneumonic form lasted three to five days and spread by breathing the infected air or by droplets from infected animals such as cats, black rats, dogs, and cows. Besides, the last one is septicemic, and death can happen in one to four days.
There were doctors in Europe but helping the sick people put doctors at risk. However, if the doctors would help the people, then they would get sick too. In addition, the medicine was limited during the Black Death and in the Middle Ages. There were few ways of making the cure for the sick people. Many doctors did not know how to cure the boils on the skin or the horrible effects of the black spots on their surface.
In the Black Death, a lot of people in Europe did not know what was happening. Therefore, many people blamed it on the Catholics, and the Catholics thought it was a punishment for all their sins. As a result, the Catholics prayed and prayed, but God still did not answer them. The Catholics were people that believed and trusted their God. The people of Europe blamed it on the Catholics because they thought that they wanted to curse them. The people of Europe banned the Catholics from having their church. Accordingly, many churches had to close up and give up their buildings. The Catholics also had to stop walking around Europe talking about God and carrying crosses.
A consequence that followed the great famine was that the Catholics prayed and prayed (Halina). Then, they never got an answer to their prayers, and instead, the prayers seemed to make it worse for themselves. The Catholics were against all of the causes of the famine. Also, this consequence affected their religions. Therefore, the Catholics and other faiths had many problems with each other which resulted in fighting. There also was the failure of the medieval authority to deal with the crisis. It was when the Europeans realized that their God was not helpful for them. God looked like he was unwilling to answer the prayers of the people in Europe. The people of Europe prayed to God because they believed he had the power over the Earth.
When the plague first started in Europe, the Europeans did not know what to do and “Children abandoned the father, and husband abandoned the wife, wife the husband, one brother the other, one sister the other. . . Some fled to villas, other to villages to get a change in the air. Where there had been no [plague], where they carried the disease with them and infected those who previously lived on the countryside” (Zahler 45). The people that abandoned their families made it worse for themselves and others as well, because the infected ones were already going to die. Therefore, it was harder for them to travel. Additionally, the infected individuals poisoned those that were healthy, causing Europe to lose more than millions of people.
In the memory of the Black Death, young children sing a song called “Ring around the Rosie.” This song represents the people that died during the great plague. The Rosie referred to a reddish color of a rash or a type of allergy reaction to something, and this was very common in the plague. The posies were herbs that people carried as self-protection to protect themselves from the smell of the dead bodies.
Overall, when the Black Death was ending in the 1400’s many people were overwhelmed. The survivors of the plague realized that their horrible nightmare was finally ending. The disease had lasted for at least three years. When survives survived the plague, they still had the big fear of the plague returning soon. The fear was passed on from generation to generation and so on. Besides, it will not always be famine and the plague, and it could be other disasters. Everything passes from bad to good, and no one knows what the future will hold.
- Jordan, William C. Europe during the High Middle Ages. New York: Viking, 2003. Print.
- King, Halina. The Great Famine. Yorkshire. The Middle Ages. King Edward. 02 March 2012. http://www.halinaking.co.uk/Location/Yorkshire/Frames/History/1315%20Great%20Famine/Great%20Famine.htm. Accessed 02 March 2012.
- Mate, Mavis. “Agrarian Economy after the Black Death: The Manors of Canterbury Cathedral Priory, 1348-91.” JSTOR. Vol. 37, No. 3 (Aug. 1984). 16 October 2012.
- “Medieval Apocalypse the Black Death BBC Documentary.” YouTube, uploaded by Bryan Perez, 9 April 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffaoF0xkUTo
- Zahler, Diane. The Black Death. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2009. Print.
- Ziegler, Philip. The Black Death. Illustrated ed. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire: Alan Sutton Pub., 1991. Print.