Reform by Destruction: The Black Death Essay

Reform by Destruction: The Black Death Essay

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As the residents of Europe conducted their activities of daily living during the mid-fourteenth century, they had no knowledge of the fate that they were to succumb to. Twelve Genoese trading ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina after venturing through the Black Sea. Those that were waiting at the dock for the sailors believed that all was well. However, they were proved wrong (“Black Death”).
Not only were the ships carrying cargo; with it, they carried a silent pestilence. This pestilence had already taken the lives of many on the ships, only to leave those who remained gravely ill. Not only did they exhibit delirium and excessive vomiting, the sailors also had mysterious black boils enveloping their bodies. Those boils oozed a black, odorous pus. The Sicilian authorities ordered that the ships leave the harbor immediately; however, it was too late (“Black Death”).
That was only the beginning of a deadly chain of infection. Around the year of 1347, this affliction like no other struck Europe. It is known as the Black Death. In addition to its toll on lives, it brought with it the incentive to reform religion and structure. It also caused a psychological response that, in turn, caused the first holocaust. How exactly did a microscopic pathogen cause such reformation and other effects on medieval life?
Structurally speaking, the Black Death was a contributing factor to the weakening of the feudal system. Prior to the Black Death’s entrance into Europe, the nobility could count on loyal vassals and peasants (Bill 47). These vassals and peasants were required to work a predetermined amount of days per year on the lord’s land in exchange for working on their own. They were required to use supplies and roads owned by the lor...


... middle of paper ...


..., microscopic pathogen hit Europe with massive force and had an enormous impact that lasted. Who would have thought that such a tiny thing could do so?



Works Cited

Bill, Timothy Levi. The Black Death. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, Inc. 1989. Print.
"Black Death." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
"Feudalism." Feudalism. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
Giblin, James Cross. When Plague Strikes: The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS. New York, NY:
Harpercollins Publishers, 1995. Print.
Marks, Geoffrey. The Medieval Plague: The Black Death of the Middle Ages. Garden City, NY:
Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1971. Print.
Routt, David. “The Economic Impact of the Black Death”. EH.Net Encyclopedia, edited by
Robert Whaples. 04 February 2010. Web. 13 March 2014.
Ziegler, Phillip. The Black Death. United Kingdom: Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, 1991. Print.

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