Middle Ages: Dark or Not? Essay

Middle Ages: Dark or Not? Essay

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In the year 476 A.D., Rome officially fell as the greatest and most thriving empire at the time. The time period following this downfall was called the Middle Ages, more infamously recalled as the Dark Ages; but were these years truly as dark as historians say? These medieval times lasted for approximately one thousand years, could such a long time period have been all that dreadful? The answer will soon become clear. The Middle Ages deserved to have the alias of the Dark Ages because there were several severe illnesses, the monarchs were cruel, and the crusades brought the death of many.
The Middle Ages are known for its abundant amount of deaths from plagues and wars. Let’s first look at what happened particularly in Europe during these Middle Ages. In 1347 the Bubonic Plague, otherwise known as the Black Death, arrived in Italy. The disease caused bulbous growths and sores filled with pus to appear on the body. It made victims of the illness look like “a skeleton, with black and blue splotches” (Friedlander) stained onto the face. Friedlander also stated that within two years, the plague had slaughtered “over 20 percent of the population of Europe.” This disease spread like a forest fire across the country and killed a total of 75 million people, almost 50% of Europe’s overall population. In addition to this, the smallpox epidemic swept through Paris, France and killed 50,000 individuals in 1438, most of whom were children. According to Friedlander this disease was a “virus that spreads from person to person, by touch or through breathing or coughing.” The danger level of the sickness fluctuated between people and their immune systems, some being as deadly as or even deadlier than the bubonic plague, and showed no mercy on smal...


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Friedlander Jr., Mark P. "Chapter Three: GREAT PLAGUES OF HISTORY: BUBONIC PLAGUE,
SMALLPOX, AND ANTHRAX." Outbreak (2003): 34-51. Book Collection: Nonfiction. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
McFall, J. Arthur. "Ill-Fated Crusade Of The Poor People." Military History 14.6 (1998): 26. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
McGlynn, Scan. "Violence And The Law In Medieval England." History Today 58.4 (2008):
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