“The Cause and effect of the Black Death”
Intercultural Humanities II
Jan. 28, 2013
Over the years many tragedies have affected the arts and the way people express emotion. However, during the fourteenth century there was nothing as devastatingly inspiring as The Black Death. Commonly known as the bubonic plague, the Black Death swept the west and left people throughout Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East and North Africa cheerless and filled with grief. Although the plague devoured the population, famous writers, painters and playwrights were influenced as it changed an era where the church ruled the art world. The aftermath of the Black Death showed changes throughout Europe, not only towards the church but also in a new way of life.
Originating from Asia, and known then as “the Great Mortality” or “the Pestilence” (Sardis Medrano-Cabral) the plague was carried to the west by flees on the backs of black rats that made their way onto ships destined for the Mediterranean ports. Once infected, the lymph glands under the armpits and groins of the victims filled with puss and began turning black, coining the name The Black Death. After the arrival of the black boils death shortly followed ranging two to three days. Many believed the disease was spread through the air, desperate for a remedy those lucky enough to afford the luxury would stuff their pockets with perfumes, oils, and flowers to help keep the deadly infection at bay. The plague struck in four waves from 1347 to 1375 and in the end annihilated nearly fifty percent of Europe’s population in less than a century (Fiero, 4). Many famous writers began to tell stories about their experiences with the Black Death. One writing that became famous was the Decameron. Written by the Florentine writer Giovanni Boccaccio, the Decameron was a combination of stories through the eyes of ten young people forced to flee their home in Florence in hopes of finding safety...
Fiero, Glroia K. The Humanistic Tradition Book 3 The European Renaissance, the Reformation, and Global Encounter. New York: McGraw-Hill College, 2010. Print
Herbermann, Charles, and George Williamson. "Dance of Death." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 27 Jan. 2013. Web
Medrano-Cabral, Sardis. “The Influence of Plague on Art from the Late 14th to the 17th Century.” Insects, Disease, and History. Dr. Gary Miller and Dr. Robert Peterson. 24 Jan. 2013. Web.
PLAGUE READINGS from P. M. Rogers, Aspects of Western Civilization, Prentice Hall, 2000, pp. 353-365. Print.
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