The Black Death

Good Essays
The Black Death

The Black Death was undoubtedly one of the most devastating diseases

that occurred during the middle ages. The Black Death, also known as

the Bubonic Plague, was a world-wide epidemic that caused the death of

more than 20 million people throughout Europe (Velenzdas). The people

of this time period were clueless as to the cause of the plague, but

were well aware of the tell-tale symptoms that accompanied infection.

There were many "cures" for the outbreaks, however it is known that

only a small percentage proved successful. Although the Black Death is

deemed by many to be the most devastating pandemic in history, some

consider it to have ultimately led to the Renaissance by starting a

revolution in the arts and sciences (Cantor 22-23).

The Bubonic Plague is caused by the Yersina Pestis bacterium, which

commonly infected the rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopis, which also served

as its host (Velenzdas). Medieval Europe was a time of widespread

uncleanliness. Garbage was dumped onto the streets, water sources were

often polluted, all of which contributed to an overall unhealthy

environment. In the countryside, farmers often lived in dwellings that

also housed their livestock. Because of this, fleas were found nearly

everywhere in medieval Europe, infecting those they came into contact

with. The arrival of the Black Death completely shocked the entire

population of Europe. They attributed its cause to God's Will, because

of a simple lack of understanding of the role of fleas and hygiene in

the spread of the disease.

There were three stages of the Black Death. The first stage included

symptoms which were often flu-like in ...

... middle of paper ... The Plague

killed off entire family lines, and resulted in the loss of many great

and important people. However, the end of the Black Death signaled a

new beginning that seemingly may have paved the way towards an

"intellectual revolution" (Cantor 25). Despite many evident details

that the Black Death was beneficial to man kind, it is still

undeniably one of the deadliest and most destructive epidemics in


Works Cited

Bishop, Rebecca. "The History of the Bubonic Plague." 2 Dec. 2003. 12

December 2004.


Cantor, Norman. "In The Wake of the Plague." New York: The Free Press,


Velenzdas, Demetres. "CBRNE-Plague." E-Medicine. 15 Jan. 2003. 12

December 2004.