The Plague or The Black Death

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The Plague, also known as The Black Death, was first recognized in the sixth century during the Byzantine Empire. It later arose during the Late Middle Ages and then again in small amounts in places like Seville and London in the mid-1600s. The plague is carried by fleas which attach to rodents. From a bite of a flea-bitten rodent, a human would now be infected with the disease. Even after all of these years of knowing what the Plague does, we do not have a definite cure. We only have ways to lessen the symptoms by the use of antibiotics and quarantine. The mortality rate is extremely high, about 80%. There are many different variations about the plague’s origins, symptoms, and precautions. I question whether it was the plague that indeed killed thousands of people in every situation. The Plagues discussed in the readings vary. In Thucydides’ The Great Plague at Athens, he says that the town of Piraeus was one of the first to catch the Plague. They believed the sickness coming over their town was from the water. They blamed it on Peloponnesians, accusing them of poisoning their wells. Obviously now we know that it was not true that the Peloponnesians were harming the people in Piraeus. At the same time, the populations were growing and people were moving to the city. Closer living quarters caused the disease to spread easier. A similar type of blame game was used in Germany and other towns. Anti-Semitic countries blamed the Jews for infecting their water, believing that is why everyone was suddenly getting ill. Without knowing the actual origin, Jews were being charged with polluting air, water, and water systems. In the reading of The Plague in France by Jean De Venette, it states, “The whole world rose... ... middle of paper ... suggests that the disease known as the plague may not have in fact been just the plague. Since fleas and rats were found in all of these countries, it would explain why the disease(s) were so wide-spread. The conclusion we can draw from the information provided is there were many diseases going on during these time periods. The mortality rate for anything was high, due to a lack of medicines. We have to use the proper data to come up with a definite diagnosis and going through these readings there are inconsistencies. The inconsistencies were those who survived the plague, the symptoms of the disease and the stories of origin. I do not believe we can come to a definite conclusion that every disease talked about in these readings were all about the plague. One thing is for sure; fear and hysteria can certainly spread just as fast as the plague itself.

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