What is the Black Death?
Specifically, the Black Death refers to the outbreak of plague from 1347-1352 CE that reached pandemic levels. It is mostly associated with Western Europe, but also was extremely damaging in northern and eastern states, as well as the Middle East and parts of Asia.
When “plague” is referenced, it is largely referring to the Bubonic plague, which is agreed upon to be the principle disease of the Black Death, although in all likelihood other diseases were present and rampant. Bubonic plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is most commonly found in rats. This bacterium was not observed until the late 19th century, and the concept of disease being caused by pathogens was not conceptualized until maybe a few decades earlier. Thus, the Black Death seemed completely inexplicable to 14th century Europeans, who...
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...carnate. The tone of the subject matter was grim, and the actual inks and paints used were often dark and sometimes completely monochrome.
In an ironically positive twist, the massive amount of death actually made manpower a commodity. There wasn’t, as there had been for many years, an overabundance of people to work as peasants, on farms and in fields. As such, peasants and laborers in the aftermath of The Black Death could actually bargain and earn better wages.
The world and the course of history is constantly altered through human and inhuman actions. These jumps and shifts are always happening, but some are bigger than others, and certainly one of the biggest in human history was the Black Death. It is one of few moments, comparable perhaps World War II and the events surrounding that, where one can honestly declare: the world was never the same.
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