The book demonstrates the occurrence of devastation that engaged the outbreak of the disease in Europe. The study of the phenomenon includes the clear comprehension of the plague, the actions taken during the occurrence of the epidemic and the reaction of the individuals. The plague occurred in the 14th century. The outbreak of the disease illustrates a vast spread, the responses of the health professionals and the individuals, the effect to the social-economy of the people, and the reaction of the religious (Aberth, J. 2005). The book classification falls in the series of the history and the culture. The book that expounds on the Black Death of the fourteen-century composed of the documents from numerous countries such as the Muslim and another nation including Byzantine.
The book gave the insight about the consequences of the devastating plagues.
The plague became the most devastating pandemic in the history of Europe. The pestilence occurred between 1348 and 1350. The outbreak of the disease is perceived to have been caused by the bacterium called Yersinia Pestis. The recent forensic research made it possible to concur with the cause of the pandemic that affected Europe for relatively long time. The history of the pandemic traced to have commenced in China and moved to the Crimea in around 1346. The perceptive of the spread of the pandemic illustrates how the black rats that were in the ships made an effort to spread the disease along the Mediterranean and in Europe. According to several forensic researchers and the scholars as demonstrated by Aberth perceived that the pandemic leads to the deaths of around thirty to sixty percent of the Europeans citizens. The main effect of the diseases was the reduction of the population since the deaths were extremely lofty.
Apparently, Aberth traced the origin of the Black Death from China where it spread along the Silk Road. The pandemic lessened the population by around one hundred million in about 1400. The plague is believed to have returned in the intervals, for instance, the Londoners and the Italian plague occurred at different periods. The occurrence of the Black Death in Europe reduced the population of Europe consequently changing the structure of the cultural arrangement in the country. The pandemic noted a severe blow to the Catholic Church which led to the persecution of the European population. The persecution that the pandemic triggered affected the Jews, the lepers, the foreigners and the beggars. The pandemic had the most significant impact on the people’s lives attracting a quote that says “enjoy life to the full” as demonstrated the scholar Boccaccio. The outbreak of the catastrophe led to the uncertainty in the lives of the population. Diseases and epidemics have been common throughout human history, although none as devastating as the Black Death. Reactions were not uniform; some were even opposites. Giovanni Boccaccio illustrates how most dealt with the plague. Many abandoned their homes and lived in isolation avoiding contact with others and turning to music and delicate foods to divert their minds from the toxic environment around them.
Contrarily, many resorted to a life of pleasure, singing and drinking their pains away to live life to its fullest in case tomorrow never comes. Indeed, it was a desperate time, yet some managed to find a balance between the extremes and live as frequently as they could often be carrying flowers and perfumes to squelch the smell of death. God-fearing men resorted to self-mortification blaming their sins for the cause of the plague. Whatever the initial reaction, no one could escape the wrath of the most destructive plague ever to hit Europe—not even the economy.
The outbreak of the diseases was followed by the winters and the lessened harvest in the Medieval Period in Europe. There was no other way to cope with the plague when the individuals try to carry out farming in Northern Europe. The citizens in support with the government of Europe attempted to utilize the novel technology to cultivate the Northern part of Europe by the move was not useful since the area had the clay soil which was not favorable for the plantation.
Furthermore, the people from the Northern part of Europe were poor thus did not contain the effort to execute the work for the estate to cope with the reducing population due to lack of food. The shortage of food in the country led to the skyrocketing of the food prices. The scarcity of food in Europe such as the wheat, the oats, and the livestock led to the malnutrition and upsurged the infection of the pandemic (Aberth, J. 2005). The immunity of the individuals was weak since they had no food to improve the protection hence the spread of the catastrophe. The Great Famine in Europe triggered the spread of the disease. The effect of the lack of food and the condition led to a reduction of about 10 percent of the population at the beginning of 1348.
The spread of the disease in Europe demonstrates numerous aspects. The range of the pandemic traced its bacterial cause as the Yersinia pestis that was spread by the ground through the rats and the rodents. The instances of the epidemic occurrence in Central Asia and India in 1338 referred to the starting point of the epidemic. According to the investigation carried out in Russia, the starting infections from the countries spread to China and India. The Europe outbreak of the disease traces its starting point from China. When China noted that the population was affected by the catastrophe, the community did not tolerate the deterioration of the farming and the trade. The population faced a severe widespread of the famine which was followed by the plague. The population dropped drastically to about sixty million. The catastrophe killed a large number of the Chinese people. The lack of food triggered the swift spread of the diseases as others try to escape the famine and the pandemic. In the process of migration to various regions, the people carried the dish with them.
The epidemic traveled along the Silk Road. The road had the Mongol armies and the traders who were traveling by the ships. At the end of around 1346, the catastrophe had reached Europe. The traders were in their process of expanding their trade by in the same process; they were unknowingly spreading the disease in Europe (Aberth, 2005). The spread of the catastrophe to the middle eastern led to numerous adverse effects. The region encountered a decreasing population and the changes in the economic and the organization of the culture. The disease demonstrated some common signs and symptoms. The epidemic had the noted symptom of the buboes particularly in the groin and the neck.
Furthermore, the appearance of the buboes in the armpits was common to the individual suspected to have contracted the disease. The buboes oozed the pus when it opens, the section bled. The signs and the symptoms according to men and the women almost appeared the same through the appearance of the tumors. The tumors in both men and women first appeared in the groins or even at the armpits. Some of the gown tumors became like the apple and for the others became big as eggs. From the sections that the sign had appeared in the body, the gavocciolo would commence spreading to different unrelated sections of the body. The formation of the malady would follow and would turn black. The black structures would appear in any part of the body, for instance, the arm or leg and would seem large or small but in large numbers, (Kantakouzenos, J. V., 2005).
The tumor would appear infallible, and the individual would have approached death. The bubo discharge may be a helping hand for the discovery in some instances. The disease follows the fever and the vomiting of the blood. The patients who have faced the epidemic may end up dying within seven days after the infection. Besides, another common sign that the individual who had the disease was the spots and the rashes. The appearance of the rashes often resulted in the flea bites. The continues infection of the disease resulted in the infection of the lungs, and the individual might not have the ability to breath efficiently. The disease-related to the pneumonia plagues since it deteriorates the respiratory system (Sanctus, L. 2005).
The plague brought a negative impact on the socio-economic of the country, the family relations, and religious. Furthermore, the epidemic changes the population by a significant margin. The diseases apparently affected all the aspects of the country negatively and resulted in many deaths.
The Socio-Economic Impacts of the Epidemic
First, the disease leads to the changes in the population of the country. The disease posed some numerous deaths. The epidemic caused the deaths of over a hundred million people. The most apparent effect of the Black Death on the economy was labor shortages due to the massive population decline. Without enough workers, fields were abandoned and there became a surplus of food and goods. Subsequently, excess produce led to a sharp drop in the price of products; nonetheless, the price reduction was not a sufficient incentive to aid the economy. The number of people perished due to the outbreak of the disease. Due to the resulted deaths of the many individuals, the population reduced to a more significant margin since the epidemic wiped local people. Also, the persecutions led to the further deaths in the country. Besides, during the outbreak of the plague, the population encountered the outbreak of the famine which further increased the spread of the disease and increased the insufficiency of food. Instead of people going to work at the farm, the people were sick due to the outbreak of the epidemic. The resulted hunger, therefore, led to the further deaths.
Consequently, increased number of deaths leading to the reduction of the population. Furthermore, the epidemic led to the adverse effect on the social-economic activities of the people. The individuals suffered and encountered pain. The people would not have the time and the effort to work to get food or improve the living standard. Therefore, the social status of the people went down as the epidemic triggered poverty among the people. On the other hand, the economy of the country reduced since the people migrated and other died hence the government lack the people to pay tax or work in the government industries. The destruction of the trade and the farming activities due to the outbreak of the disease further contributed to the reduction of the economic growth (Boccaccio, G. 2005).
The Religious Impacts of the Epidemic
Before the plague, the people of Europe were deeply spiritual. It was uncommon to find any families that did not attend church services for spiritual guidance. People believed and accepted the word of the church until Black Death shattered that faith. There was a breakdown in religious authority throughout Europe. As demonstrated in the Boccaccio document, people abandoned the restrictive lifestyle dictated by the church and adopted an ” eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die” attitude. They believed that drinking heavily was a remedy for the plague. They drank with total disregard for the social norms of medieval Europe. There was no longer any distinction between the lords of the manor and the stranger who wandered in to drink. People would do things that they once considered utterly immoral, and they would abandon their sick and die. The religious people were hard hit by the epidemic since they cared for the victims.
In the process of associating the people who suffered from the disease, they face a big blow, and the infection on them was high. The religious individuals such as the priest and the monks perceived that the epidemic was the punishment from God. The religious people believed that God was furious hence he sent the plague to punish the sinners. Throughout the Black Death, many people abandoned the morals that were engraved on them to protect their health. With the disease-causing many problems in the 14th century, it gave people the impression that no matter whom they prayed to, whether it was God or something else, it was not working. The Black Death led to many people separating themselves from the church and any form of worshipping for that matter. No outbreak could cause such a lack of faith like this plague did. In short, the Black Death caused a violent upheaval on society as death became common, and nothing could be trusted (Boccaccio, 2005).
The Family Impacts of Epidemic
The pestilence had an enormous impact on family relations. During the Black Death, the family that was supposed to be the sick person’s support system ended up not completing their jobs. Many of the family members were too worried about what would happen to them if they were to care for someone with the Black Death. Children were abandoning their parents and husbands were leaving their wives or vice versa. There was no longer a sense of the need to take care of one another. The family would wait until the moment when the infected person fell asleep and then they would leave with no return. With the dynamic family changing, the social fabric was beginning to break down. The families felt the need to change their ways especially when they were seeing that families were being carried out on one bier because they attempted to help each other but fell into the illness instead. When you look at the people that were caring for one another dying, it can deter a person from wanting to care for someone with the same illness that killed them (Boccaccio, 2005).
The Black Death did more than kill off people. The Black Death caused the social fabric of Medieval society to break down. Many second-hand effects occurred based on what the Black Death did to people. The people of this period were likely to dismiss the things they believed before to feel like they were safe from death. Many people questioned God and suffered religiously. Many people were orphaned, living in fear, shocked and reacted in many different ways. They believed that it was God’s punishment because of their sins. Some thought that the only way to escape the deadly disease was to isolate themselves, flee as far away as they could, or practice rituals as the flagellants did. Unfortunately, their responses usually made it worse for themselves and those around them. The disease was extremely contagious, dangerous, and terrifying. No one escaped from the terror of this Black Death.