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The Plague DESIMATED Europe

Famous Florentine historian Villani wrote the
• "And many lands and cities were made
desolate. And the plague lasted until

He had intended to write the date in when
the plague ended. He died of plague
before he could fill in the blank.
From Agnolo di Tura, of Siena
• "The mortality in Siena began in May. It was a cruel and horrible
thing. . . . It seemed that almost everyone became stupefied seeing
the pain. It is impossible for the human tongue to recount the awful
truth. Indeed, one who did not see such horribleness can be called
blessed. The victims died almost immediately. They would swell
beneath the armpits and in the groin, and fall over while talking.
Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another; for this
illness seemed to strike through breath and sight. And so they died.
None could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship.
Members of a household brought their dead to a ditch as best they
could, without priest, without divine offices. In many places in Siena
great pits were dug and piled deep with the multitude of dead. And
they died by the hundreds, both day and night, and all were thrown
in those ditches and covered with earth. And as soon as those
ditches were filled, more were dug. I, Agnolo di Tura . . . buried my
five children with my own hands. . . . And so many died that all
believed it was the end of the world."
Key questions
There are 3 questions that will be asked
during the course of the powerpoint;
1. What is the “Black Death”?
2. What caused the Black Death?
3. What were the consequences?
The plague arrives
• Historians think that the plague arrived in England
during the summer of 1348. During the following
autumn it spread quickly through the south west.
Few villages escaped. Churchyards were full with
• The plague spread quickly during the winter of 1348-
1349 to the north of England. By 1350, nearly the
whole of Britain was infected with the plague.
• Because trading between towns was high, spreading
of the plague along trade routes was high
• At the end of 1350 nearly two and a half million
people were dead!
Where did the Black Death come
Bring out your Dead!
What were the symptoms of the plague?
What caused the plague?
The question that you are probably
thinking is this;
Q: Who or what caused the Black

A: This is your answer!

The Oriental Rat Flea!
How was the plague transmitted?
We now know that the most common form of the
Black Death was the BUBONIC PLAGUE! This
disease was spread by fleas which lived on the
black rat. The fleas sucked the rat’s blood which
contained the plague germs. When the rat died the
fleas jumped on to humans and passed on the deadly
What was the plague cycle?
What were the symptoms?
• high fever
• aching limbs
• vomiting of blood.
• 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
Were there Cures?
• Medieval people did not know about
germs causing disease.
• They did not understand that plague
was spread by rats and fleas. They
thought that people’s bodies were
• There were attempts at cures, but
none of them worked. They were not
related to actual science.
Medieval cure number 1
The swellings should be softened with figs
and cooked onions. The onions should be
mixed with yeast and butter. Then open
the swellings with a knife.
Medieval cure number 2
Take a live frog and put its belly on the
plague sore. The frog will swell up and
burst. Keep doing this with further frogs
until they stop bursting. Some people say
that a dried toad will do the job better.

How useful do you think these medieval
cures actually were? Did they help at all
or were they more harmful?
What were the cultural effects of
the Plague?

• 1/3rd to ½ of all people in Europe Died in 3 years
• The vast majority of those who were dead were
• Lots of clergy and religious died since they were
helping the sick (hospitals)
• Many people doubted the power of the church
• Many people thought the plague came because
of Europe’s sin.
• End of Feudalism!
What were the cultural effects of
the Plague?
Monks disfigured by plague