Essay on The Black Death : The Great Mortality Of 1348-1350

Essay on The Black Death : The Great Mortality Of 1348-1350

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No other epidemic reaches the level of the Black Death which took place from 1348 to 1350. The epidemic, better regarded as a pandemic, shook Europe, Asia, and North Africa; therefore it deems as the one of the most devastating events in world history. In The Black Death: The Great Mortality of 1348-1350, John Aberth, compiles primary sources in order to examine the origins and outcomes of this deadly disease. The author, a history professor and associate academic dean at Vermont’s Castleton State College, specializes in medieval history and the Black Death. He wrote the book in order to provide multiple perspectives of the plague’s impact. Primarily, pathogens started the whole phenomenon; however, geological, economic, and social conditions contributed to its domino effect. Even though the Black Death created hysteria, it resulted in a shift in attitudes and lifestyles.
Geographically, the Black plague originated in Asia. Historians debate exact locations, but some argue for Mongolia while others theorize India as the core. One historian, Nicephorus Gregoras, suggests Russia as the source by beginning his historical account with “During that time [1347], a serious and pestilential disease invaded humanity. Starting from Scythia [southern Russia] and Maeotis and the mouth of the Tanais [Don River]…it lasted for that whole year…” (Aberth, 15). Abu Hafs Umar Ibn Al-Wardi, presents in his “Essay on the Report of the Pestilence,” an unclear theory of the plague’s origin by referring it as “the land of darkness” (Aberth, 17). However, this historian provides a clear overview of the plague’s movement. According to al-Wardi, the plague moved to India, then to North Africa, and finally to Near Eastern countries. On 27 April 1348, Louis...


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...asses with worms and toads. Francois de la Sarra’s tomb at La Sarraz, Switzerland displays a male body with worms covering its limbs and face. Another tomb depiction, A Disputacion betyx the Body and Wormes, illustrates a female corpse accompanied by worms. Clearly, the worms exemplify the morbid theme of death and decomposition, body and soul, during the Black Death.
It can be seen that the Black Death initially had a negative effect on civilizations. However, the situation sparked new methods which include improved medicine, religious hysteria, persecution, and melancholy art. John Aberth use of primary sources provided more outlooks into what life had in store for the inhabitants. Undoubtedly, the plague forced people to readjust every aspect of their routines. Essentially, the Black Death serves as a channel for new and improved civilizations to flourish.



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Essay on The Black Death : The Great Mortality Of 1348-1350

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