Survival After the Black Death

Topics: Black Death, Bubonic plague, Plague Pages: 12 (4468 words) Published: April 17, 2013
Research Paper First Draft
How did the Black Death impact the surviving people of Europe?

Submitted by:

Kimberly Bouchard

LSTD 5003 Introduction to Grad Studies
College of Liberal Studies
The University of Oklahoma


Dr. Courtney Vaughn
April 15, 2013

I certify that I have read the assigned material on academic integrity and this paper is an original paper composed by me for this course. It has not been copied or closely paraphrased from any other source and has not been submitted as a whole, or in part, for credit in any other course at OU or any other educational institution. It has not been created or submitted for any other purpose such as a job assignment at my workplace or any other agency.

We all know the Black Death was a devastating malady that struck the people of Europe during the Middle Ages and we also know the degree to which the plague wiped out at least one third of the population and the horrifying effects it had on the victims. But there are some questions that remain unanswered in most of the stories about the plague. After the smoke had cleared and the infections ceased, what was Europe like? How did a plague of that caliber impact the surviving people? This paper aims to give a voice to the Europe after the Black Death. What happened to the world of medicine when the physicians all failed to find a cure? How did the economy change in light of so many laborers lost? Why did much of the art of the late 14th and early 15th centuries convey death as a festival? These questions and others are analyzed herein.

Ring Around The Rosie
It started with slight fever, some delusions or hallucinations, and then sharp pains in the chest and soon the sufferer was coughing up blood. Black, grotesque-looking spots, or rings, formed in the groin and under the arms, giving the pestilence the name the world would remember. In a failed attempt to surpass the stench, flowers such as posies were worn around the neck or hung above the door posts. The decayed ash from all the burned bodies flooded the streets and filed the air, until finally, after roughly 5 years of agony most of Europe’s population, economy, culture and faith collapsed. The plague conquered one city after another as the shell-shocked living watched their loved ones burn with fever, vomit incessantly and produce hideous black buboes all over their bodies, mockingly called “God’s Tokens”. The poor were struck down first, because they could not afford to flee or hide in manors and castle walls, all the while resenting the apparent immunity enjoyed by the wealthy and their accusations of a deserved fate. But no one was immune and within days the wealthy could no longer hide behind their walls and died alongside the poor. By 1352, Europe was a very different place. As much devastation and shock occurred during the years of the plague, just as much change and adjustment had to be made during the aftermath. In the years following the Black Death, the lives of the surviving people were significantly effected in many ways, particularly in regards to the general economy and well-being of the nations, the psychological thought of those left alone to live on, and the trademarks made in the fields of medicine and education. Resident After Evil

With one third of the entire population decimated by the plague, it would take almost four generations for the number of Europe’s residents to recover. The plague killed indiscriminately of course, but in addition to plague, the men of the medieval world also waged wars or chose a path of God. This left a very unbalanced ratio of men to women for the purpose of reproduction. The women left surviving were not at all burdened by this, for in the years immediately after the plague, many windows of opportunities opened for them. Since workers were scarce and there were too few people left to tend the fields, work the shops or mend the sick, job opportunities arose for women. Independence...

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