Europe and the Black Death

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Chaos struck all-over Europe in the 14th century; no social class or individual was immune from this mysterious disaster. Historians estimated that this unidentifiable disease killed “more than 20 million people in Europe–almost one-third of the continent’s population,” by the 1350’s (Black Death). Now in today’s society scientists classify the unidentifiable disease as the bubonic plague, also referred to as the Black Death. During fourteenth century European-society, there was no logical medical knowledge; instead, people resorted to supplementary explanations, such as God punishing misbehaving religious groups and sinners (Black Death). In this time period, oral tradition was still common among the illiterate. Luckily, for the upper class, there was a slight advantage: several people were literate and documented the event of the Black Death by letters, poems, or even stories. The Decameron, by Giovanni Boccaccio, is a fictional medieval allegory. Within this frame narrative, 100 fictional tales were told by among the characters, describing the life in Italy the same years as the bubonic plague. In the text, Boccaccio depicts a story about ten wealthy Italians fleeing to the countryside after news of this mysterious deadly disease. Through interpretations of the story, Boccaccio gives insight about the Black Death’s effects, believed causation of the time, moral and religious standard, and response of the people in Florence, Italy. In addition, the texts include information unrelated to the Black Death, such as insight about the effects the Decameron had on society, Boccaccio’s reason for creating the story, and the intended audience (Boccaccio). For understanding the Decameron, it is essential to acknowledge the contemporary ev... ... middle of paper ... ...gence of the Christian West."Connections: A World History. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2012. 923. Print. Kumar, Akash. "Historical Context for The Decameron by Boccaccio." Columbia College. Columbia University, 2013. Web. 06 Dec. 2013. . Massimo, Riva. "The Representation of Collective Death in the Decameron." Brown University. Brown University, 2010. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. php>. "Original sin." The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 25 Nov. 2013. Peirpoint, Stacie. "Renaissance -- Printing and Thinking." Renaissance -- Printing and Thinking. Annenberg Foundation, 2013. Web. 06 Dec. 2013. .
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