|The Bubonic Plague
Global History and Geography I E. Napp
Name: ______________________ Date: ________
The Bubonic plague is a medical term. It is an organism that is most usually carried by rodents. Fleas infest the animal and these fleas move freely over to human hosts.
The flea then regurgitates the blood from the rat into the human, infecting the human. The rat dies. The human dies. The flea's stomach gets blocked and it eventually dies of starvation. It's a grim disease for everyone.
Symptoms include high fevers and aching limbs and vomiting of blood. Most characteristic is a swelling of the lymph nodes. These glands can be found in the neck, armpits and groin. The swelling protrudes and is easily visible; its blackish coloring gives the disease its name: the Black Death.
The swellings continue to expand until they eventually burst, with death following soon after. The whole process, from first symptoms of fever and aches, to final expiration, lasts only three or four days. The swiftness of the disease, the terrible pain, the grotesque appearance of the victims, all served to make the plague especially terrifying.
List Five Facts about the Bubonic Plague:
If the plague was a manifestation of divine anger, then Christians should do all they could to assuage that anger. From this simple impulse came the flagellants: bands of people who wandered through towns and countryside doing penance in public. They inflicted all sort of punishments upon themselves, trying to atone for the evil of the world, sacrificing themselves for the world's sins in imitation of Jesus.
Society generally wondered at them and did not approve. The flagellants showed a tendency to kill Jews they encountered, and even killed clergymen who spoke against them. In October 1349 the pope condemned them and ordered all authorities to suppress them. But flagellants reappeared in times of plague well into the fifteenth century.
List Five Facts about Flagellants:
Would people react to a horrible new disease like the flagellants in this day and age? _______________________________________________________________
The Black Death
“Hundreds of thousands of people- men, women and children - are dying in every country in Europe, struck down by an epidemic of an apparently incurable plague which the healthy and afflicted alike call the Black Death.
“Not since the sixth century has such an epidemic attacked Europe. Spreading from Asia. And carried by rat-fleas via the ports of the Black Sea. The plague takes two forms. Bubonic plague is seen in the swellings, or buboes. That inflate the lymph nodes at the neck, armpit or groin, while the pneumonic" plague affects the lungs. And victims choke on their own blood. ‘
“The plague has stunned Europe, and everywhere people are desperate for an explanation. Some blame invisible particles carried in the wind, others talk of poisoned wells. Many inevitably, blame the Jews. Immediate responses differ widely. Some choose to challenge the plague by bouts of riotous living; others seek protection by barring their doors and living as recluses. Neither method has halted the disease. Others have left home, seeking safety in the remote countryside, but often they too have fallen ill. Attempts to bar villages, towns, even whole cities, to sufferers have all failed. The plague moves on.
“The outbreak has shattered communities. Families have been set against each other- the well rejecting the sick. Essential services have collapsed; law and order, with so many administrators struck down, barely exist in some areas. A sense of panic pervades Europe and everyone, it appears, is struggling only for his own survival. Properties stand empty, deserted by desperate owners; the sick die alone, for even the most devoted doctors cannot save them: corpses are simply dumped in the street or buried in mass graves. Some depraved creatures, them selves already infected, break into houses and threaten to contaminate all within unless bribed to leave. Agriculture is at a standstill. Crops wither in the fields; cattle wander untended.”