European History (H)
September 10, 2014
Effect of the Black Death on Europe
The Black Death, also known as the Bubonic plague, was an extremely deadly pandemic that struck Europe around 1346-1353. The Black Death arrived in Europe aboard Asian merchant ships in the form of fleas riding on the backs of rats. The plague then spread rapidly throughout Europe leaving destruction in its wake, sparing few souls as it made its journey.
While most of Europe was affected, the city of Siena, Italy, was struck by the plague in the spring of A.D. 1348. The victims of the plague would experience swellings beneath their armpits, and on their groin. Once a person was infected with the plague, it is recorded that they would die so suddenly and without warning, that they could be mid-sentence when they dropped dead. So many people were dying at such a rapid rate, the people of Siena could not dig graves quick enough, so they had huge mass graves filled with the dead, which only brought more rats, and let the plague linger. If a person was lucky enough to not be infected, many would abandon their families and leave them for dead in the hopes they could avoid the plague. Those who chose to stay often gave in to their pleasures, locking themselves in their houses, and having grand parties, so they could die happy. The plague hit Siena so hard, that the ongoing project of enlarging the cathedral was halted indefinitely showing just how grave the situation was. When the plague finally left Siena, the total dead is estimated to be around 80,000 people, 30,000 of which were under the age of twenty, which left only around 10,000 men in the city. Though Siena was hit extremely hard by the plague, few escaped from it unscathed, not even one of the most powerful groups in Europe at the time avoided heavy damage.
Even though the church was one of the most powerful groups during the middle ages, even its strength and power was weakened by the Black...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document