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    The Black Plague

    515J6TR281L._AA240_.jpgOriginating in Asia long before bird flu, the Plague, or Black Death, killed one-third of Europe’s population between 1347 and 1350. In the squalid cities of medieval Europe, victims typically lived only a few days after the symptoms - vomiting, diarrhea, and black boils on the skin - first appeared.

    The song ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ refers to the plague with the Rosie being a victim.

    In many cities the Black Death not only killed huge numbers but totally destroyed law and order, pushing an entire civilization to the brink of collapse.

    The consequences of the plague in European society were profound. Enraged Christians blamed Jews for the disease and the pogroms that followed the Black Death were among the worst anti-Semitic purges in history.

    The plague cause many European Christians to question the Catholic Church and the existing political order. How could God permit such a cruel disease? Some disillusioned Europeans turned to fringe sects like the flagellants, named for the practice of whipping themselves. Respect for church authority declined and according to historians, the plague destroyed the feudal order of the Middle Ages and cleared the way for the Renaissance.

    • Scientists continue to debate the cause of the Black Death. The leading candidate, the bubonic plague, still exists but can be treated easily with antibiotics.
    • Although almost everyone who was exposed to the plague in the Middle Ages died, about 5 percent of the victims survived and some avoided contracting it entirely. Modern scientists believe the were protected by a rare genetic combination that gave them greater resistance to the germ.
    • After the Black Death, it took 4 centuries for Europe’s population to rebound to its pre-1347 levels. 

    Reader Comments (4)

    It is actually believed that the "ring of roses" is the discolorations that appear on the neck of a victim of Bubonic Plague, the "pocket full of posies" are the flowers or other herbal things that people would carry to either ward off the Plague, or to mitigate the awful smell. And after the "rosies" appear on the neck, well, we all fall down ie die.

    "Ring around the rosy" refers to the typical appearance of the sores that appear on the body of plague victims ... a reddish boil with a distinct centre, called a bubo or buboe, hence Bubonic Plague.

    "Pocket Full Of Posies" flowers used to cover the odor of Plague Infection carried on the person of victims.

    "Ashes, Ashes" Bodies were burned to prevent further infection. The cause was not, at the time, understood to be flea-borne.

    "We all fall down". You die.

    05.28 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny2Bad

    I dont think we are too far off another epidemic like this. Look at the rate diseases are growing. The more intelligent we get the more intelligent bacteria gets.


    The rate diseases are growing? The rate of illness from disease is dropping every year, so I have no idea what your statement even means. The vast majority of the diseases that killed people in the Middle Ages, or even those from the early to mid 20th century either no longer exist or are exceedingly rare.

    And no, bacteria are NOT growing more intelligent. Not that bacteria cause illness such as plague, but even the virii that DO cause such illness are not intelligent. It is pure dumb biology that makes them dangerous, not any form of intelligent action. In any event, while the potential for new or dangerously adapted disease will always be with it, science is moving much faster than the evolutionary actions of nature.
    01.19 | Unregistered CommenterReality

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