How serious was the black death in medieval Europe? Boccaccio: there’s no difference between a dead person and an animal

alopah Date:2021-08-24 14:06:42
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As we all know, disasters are the natural enemies of mankind. Since ancient times, countless people have been killed and injured by disasters. Even the extinction of dinosaurs is closely related to disasters. For example, the epidemic in recent years has put the whole world in a state of fear. And throughout history, when it comes to disasters, we have to mention the plague plague that was called “Black Death” in the middle ages of Europe and swept across Europe.


“Black Death”, generally referred to as plague, is a strong infectious disease mainly transmitted by rat fleas, and is widely prevalent among animal rodents. At the same time, because many black spots appear on the infected person’s skin, most of them will die within 48 hours of infection, so this special plague is called “Black Death”.


 black death


How serious is the black death? For Europe, this is an extremely terrible plague and an extremely tragic period. From 1347 to 1353, the Black Death killed nearly 25 million Europeans, which accounted for 1 / 3 of the total population of Europe at that time, and almost wiped out Europe. The Second World War, which took place in the 20th century, can be called the most tragic in human history. The total number of people killed by the war in Europe is only 5% of its population. Therefore, the comparison between the two is enough to see how serious the plague has brought to the European people. Boccaccio, who had witnessed and experienced the plague, wrote in his book The Decameron:


Florence suddenly became a hell on earth: pedestrians suddenly fell to the ground while walking in the street; People who stay at home die alone, and no one knows until the body odor is smelled; A large number of bodies are transported outside the city every day and every hour; Cows roam the streets of the city, but there is no sign of people


In this great plague, the vitality of Europe was greatly damaged. At the same time, the spread of this plague caused great changes in European society, economy and politics. First of all, the great plague caused the great famine in Europe at that time, leading to thieves everywhere; Secondly, in this plague, the prestige of Catholicism was severely hit; Finally, because of the plague, there was a wave after wave of persecution of Jews at that time. The reason was that Jews moved around, spread the plague and poisoned everywhere. In Mainz, 12000 Jews were burned alive as communicators of the plague, while 16000 Jews were killed in Strasbourg.


Although the occurrence of the black death has brought serious disasters to Europe, it has also played an extremely important role in promoting the development direction of European civilization. Many scholars regard the black death as an opportunity for the transformation and development of European society. Because after the black death, European civilization embarked on a different development path, a brighter path. For example, the social transformation that originally seemed very difficult suddenly became smooth because of the black death. Therefore, it not only promoted the development of science and technology, but also broke the autocratic status of the Catholic Church, which had an important impact on the Renaissance, religious reform and even the enlightenment, thus changing the direction of the development of European civilization and making Europe far ahead of the world in the next days. Therefore, this plague that has a far-reaching impact on Europe can be said to have gains and losses.

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