Research Paper Proposal: The Black Death

Research Paper Proposal: The Black Death

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The anticipated research paper will be taking into consideration the perspectives of the individuals that lived and died as a result of the Black Death, specifically from the year 1348 CE – 1350 CE and in the better known parts of the world during that period, the reactions, preventative measure that were taken to combat the plague, the religious and governmental response. In the collection of primary sources amassed by John Aberth in The Black Death, 1348-1350: the great mortality of 1348-1350 ; a brief history with documents1 he very succinctly provides a condensed description of each document by giving a background of the author as well as the source of the primary source. Aberth manages to do this while remaining impartial, an admirable skill to have especially when it comes to examining primary sources, even in the limited way Aberth does. Aside from those brief narratives before each source, Aberth does not add any additional information or opinions. In his book From the brink of the apocalypse: confronting famine, war, plague, and death in the later middle ages2, he does go in depth regarding the reception to the Black Death. He does not immediately start with what occurred during the Black Death; he details the world before that seemingly apocalyptic event with an examination of the social structure that existed during the Middle Ages, such as the rise of chivalry and the revolutions in warfare and the Great Famine that immediately preceded the plague. In this way Aberth sets the reader up to gain a means of understanding the resulting responses to the plague from the very different yet similar mindset of a person of medieval times. For example, although Aberth considers the primary belief was that the plague was ca...


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...plague took in Western Europe. Lerner maintains that the plague was seen as not the end of the world, but more of a precursor, a sign of that apocalyptic event. He says that seeing this as a sign, Europeans began to prepare their souls for their impending deaths as well as a method of possible forestalling an apocalypse. Lerner determines that in their belief that the Black Death was sent down as a punishment from their God, Europeans saw repenting as not only their key to the best afterlife possible, but also as a means of possibly curing the ailment.
With the use of these sources, the intention is to produce a paper that will cover as many different perspectives and reactions to the Black Death, those being the religious, medical, governmental and the scientific.

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