Michele Savonarola

The signs of pestilential fever, briefly speaking, are these First that the fever has slackened a little to the touch internally, the person is very disturbed, especially on the left side, and is thus in great distress and to others it might seem inexplicable that such a mild fever should cause such great distress. As lo Principo says, there are times when such a fever occurs that neither the doctor nor the patient considers it high enough to be a problem, and likewise the pulse does not appear...

Index

Abandonment of family, 3, 74, 111, 137 of hearths, 59 of land, 8, 63, 64, 105, 106 of work, 69 of villages, 107, 115. See also under flight Aberdeen, 22 Adriatic Sea, 7 Afonso, Diogo, 51 Agnolo di Tura, 58 agriculture, 62, 63, 64 air contraction of disease via, 20, 45 corruption of (miasma), as cause of Plague, 2, 15, 16, 4244, 48, 105, 137, 155-58 corruption of, due to earthquakes, 33, 43 corruption of, due to Jews, 82 corruption of, due to planets, 41, 43 corruption of, due to sin, 39, 46...

Abu Abdullah ibn Battuta 130468 Moroccan Legal Scholar and Traveler

At the end of his twenty-four years of travel from Tangier, Morocco, to the farthest reaches of the Islamic world, Ibn Battuta returned home through the Near East and North Africa, which had been ravaged by the Black Death, and recorded his observations in his Rihla (Book of Travels). Born into a family of Islamic legal scholars in Tangier in 1304, Ibn Battuta received what education in the Muslim religious law (Sharia) that he could. When he was twenty he set out eastward to perform the...

Contents

Overview Plague in the Middle Ages 1 Chapter 2. The Black Death and Modern Medicine 15 Chapter 3. The Black Death and Medieval Medicine 33 Chapter 4. Effects of the Black Death on European Society 57 Chapter 5. Psychosocial Reactions to the Black Death 73 Chapter 6. European Art and the Black Death 89 Chapter 7. Individual and Civic Responses in Cairo and Chapter 8. Epilogue The End of the Black Death and Its Francesco di Marco Datini da Prato 137 Alexandre Emile John Yersin 147 1....

Death

The creation of art in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was a process that intimately involved patron and artist working within a cultural framework. This framework dictated the acceptable subject matter, style, and uses of artworks it was shaped by the Church, political and economic elites, and traditions of artistic practice. For the student of the Black Death, art serves as a window into the past. Some works record the scenes of daily life as affected by the pestilence the burial of...

Document 12 A Florentine Diary December 1496 to February 1499 Luca Landucci

5 December 1496 A case of plague was discovered, after there had not been one for some months. At this time the complaint of French boils venereal disease had spread all through Florence and the country round, and also to every city in Italy, and it lasted a long time. 1 June 1497 Many people died of fever after being ill only a few days, some in eight days and some in ten and there was one man who died in four days. It was said that during these last days of the waning moon there were 120...

Documents

The Black Death in Constantinople (1347) The Plague hit the Byzantine Empire with no less ferocity than it did the West. The emperor John VI Cantacuzenos retired in 1355 to a monastery in which he wrote a history of the empire over the years 132056. His description of the Plague episode of 1347 discusses a range of issues its origins and spread, its symptoms and course, and people's reactions to it. Though no physician, his eye for medical detail is quite sharp, as is his observation of popular...

European Society

The Black Death and its recurrences during the later fourteenth and fifteenth centuries shook but did not shatter medieval Western societies. The most obvious effect was the tremendous and sudden drop in population. Of course this affected families and loved ones, but it also shocked the economic and social patterns that Europeans had been developing for over 300 years. The balance between those who supplied goods and services and those who required them was upset and took decades to readjust....

Foreword

The Middle Ages are no longer considered the Dark Ages (as Petrarch termed them), sandwiched between the two enlightened periods of classical antiquity and the Renaissance. Often defined as a historical period lasting, roughly, from 500 to 1500 c.E., the Middle Ages span an enormous amount of time (if we consider the way other time periods have been constructed by historians) as well as an astonishing range of countries and regions very different from one another. That is, we call the Middle...

Notes

Jon Steffensen, Plague in Iceland, Nordisk medicinhistorisk rsbok (1974) pp. 41-42. 2. Tom B. James, The Black Death in Hampshire (Winchester, England Hampshire County Council, 1999), p. 1. 3. J. F. Shrewsbury, History of Bubonic Plague in the British Isles (New York Cambridge University Press, 1970), p. 37. 4. Michael Dols, The Black Death in the Middle East (Princeton Princeton University Press, 1977), p. 236, n. 2. 5. Christopher Wills, Plagues Their Origin, History, and Future (London...

Second Chapter On Exercise and Bathing

On exercise and bathing, there are two things to consider. First of all, with regard to exercise, those not used to it should not start in times of epidemic. As long as the air is calm, those who are in the habit of exercising should do a little less than normal so that they do not intensify the need to breathe. However, if the air is not calm, but troubled and infected, do not go out of the lodging, but do a little exercise in the room or in the court. Some authors prescribe exercise, but one...

The Plague And The Human Body

In Book IV of his Canon, Avicenna described how, specifically, the bad air affected the human body When the air that has undergone such putrefaction arrives at the heart, it rots the complexion of its spirit and then, after surrounding the heart, rots it. An unnatural warmth then spreads all around the body, as a result of which a pestilential fever will appear. It will spread to any human who is susceptible to it.23 Gentile noted that the bad air enters the body through the lungs or skin...

Was The Second Pandemic Bubonic Plague

Unless Y. pestis changed radically between the Second and Third Pandemics, the essential epidemiology of the two outbreaks of the disease should be very similar if the Black Death was indeed bubonic plague. The information that survives about the medieval Plague is far more limited and far less informed than what researchers have developed during the modern era. Apart from some archeological evidence, all that survive are written descriptions of the Plague and its effects and some pictorial...

Document 11 The Jews of Strassburg February 1349 From the Strassburg Chronicle

In the year 1349 there occurred the greatest epidemic that ever happened. Death went from one end of the earth to the other, on that side and this side of the sea, and it was greater among the Saracens than among the Christians. In some lands everyone died so that no one was left. Ships were also found on the sea laden with wares the crew had all died and no one guided the ship. The Bishop of Marseille and priests and monks and more than half of all the people there died with them. In other...

Gentile da Foligno c 12751348 Italian Physician and Medical School Professor

Gentile was one of the fourteenth century's most famous physicians and medical writers. His early tract on the Plague had a major influence on subsequent works. He was born in either Perugia or Foligno, Italy, around 1275, to Gentile, who was probably also a physician. Young Gentile junior married Iacoba Bonimani, and they had four sons, two of whom became physicians. He was probably educated at the University of Bologna, and probably studied under Taddeo Alderotti, the era's greatest medical...

Annotated Bibliography

General Studies of Disease in History Cartwright, Frederick F. Disease and History. New York Dorset Press, 1972. This medical historian presents a broad overview with attention to social, cultural, and economic results of major events and is highly critical of the role of the Church in its hindering advancement of medical knowledge in the medieval world. Giblin, James Cross. When Plague Strikes The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS. New York Harper, 1996. Written for young readers, it presents the...

The Attacks On Jewish Communities

Jews constituted about 1 percent of late medieval Europe's population and lived among the Christian majority of Europe in an often tense state of toleration. Officially, the Church protected them and sanctioned their communities, but just under the surface popular Christianity stigmatized Jews as Christ-killers, those who refused to see the truth of the Gospel, and allies of Christianity's enemies, especially Islam. During the First Crusade dozens of Jewish communities in Germany were at tacked...

The Art Of Intercession

The medieval Christian believed that all people sin and that all sinful people are unworthy of any gift from God. Rather, because of sin and disobedience, they are justly deserving of any punishment God deems appropriate, including the Black Death. Only those who had pleased God and received his mercy could effectively intercede with God, invoking his boundless divine mercy to temper his justice on behalf of humanity. These men and women, who had left this world, lived with God in Heaven as his...

1771 Baltic Peasants Revolt

I would like to express my gratitude to Marshall Poe and the National Endowment for the Humanities for providing me with the opportunity to utilize the resources of the libraries of Harvard University and to find stimulating fellowship in the 2002 Summer Institute. I would also like to thank Paige Carter and the library staff at Belmont University for their tireless assistance and encouragement in obtaining additional source materials. Special thanks to Maggie Monteverde, Patrick Gann, Jeff...

After 1355 Emperor John VI Cantacuzenos

Upon arrival in Byzantium the Empress found Andronikos, the youngest born, dead from the invading plague, which, starting first from the Hyperborean Scythians of southern Russia , attacked almost all the sea coasts of the world and killed most of their people. For it swept not only through Pontus, Thrace and Macedonia, but even Greece, Italy and all the islands, Egypt, Libya, Judea, and Syria, and spread throughout almost the entire world. So incurable was the evil, that neither any regularity...

In The Wake Of The Black Death

Chapter 4 of this book outlines what scholars believe to be the major demographic, economic, and political effects of the Black Death in Europe, down to about 1500. Death on the scale that the Plague pre-sented perhaps a third of the entire population destroyed a good deal of the European human resource base. Knowledge, skills, experience, relationships, and raw person-power were all lost at a throw, in many ways crippling a generation and more. Despite some official efforts to increase...

The Black Death And The Western Imagination

Six hundred and fifty years after the first chroniclers and physicians recorded the opening stages of the Second Pandemic, Western society retains an uneasy fascination with the Black Death. Though living in the shadow of the man-made Holocaust and the development and use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction, we still reel at the thought of Nature's destructive capability. That people might unleash something as terrible as the Black Death on other people seems both...

Explaining The Plagues Causes

Christian and Muslim physicians alike shared the same basic notions of what caused the Plague and how to deal with it for two reasons the circulation of the Plague tracts and the common inheritance of Greco-Muslim medical thought. One of Aristotle's most important contributions to medieval science or natural philosophy was his notion of causation. For example, for a chair to exist there must be four causes at work a maker, a plan or blueprint of the form, some material, and a reason for making...

The Effects On Population

We are faced with the evidence of an almost unimaginable catastrophe. The Black Death on a global scale exceeded in mortality any other known disaster.1 At the end of the first epidemic Pope Clement VI (see biography) was informed that 28,840,000 people had died, or about 31 percent of the population of 75 million.2 All three of these numbers are fictions, however. No one will ever know with any certainty how many people died of pestilence in Europe from 1347 to 1352. No one knows how many...

Prevention And Treatment In The Consilia

Despite their continued reliance on an incorrect model, the physicians of fourteenth-century Europe and the Mediterranean were rational men who sought to link prevention and treatment with the causes and nature of the disease. They believed in the accuracy of their analysis, and were truly overwhelmed by their failures. However odd, most of their preventive and curative recipes and suggestions were founded on this analysis, though some reflected the logic of the disease itself as they observed...

The Effects Of The Black Death On The Church And Education

The economic forces of supply and demand unleashed by the pestilence affected the Church and clergy as well as everyone else. Priests supplied the necessary sacraments and religious ceremony during Plague-time, and people were willing and able to bid prices up by offering more and more in fees as the clergy itself fell to the pestilence. Clerical death tolls tended to be at least as high as among the rest of society during the first epidemic over half of the Dominicans in Florence died (77 of...

Florence Italy

The Florentines were a proud some would say arrogant people who held their civic destiny in their own hands. From the late eleventh century they had negotiated and wrested the power to manage their own civic affairs away from the Holy Roman Emperor and his feudal lords in Italy. By the fourteenth century, for all intents and purposes, Florence was the center of a self-governing city-state that minted its own coins, levied its own taxes, conducted its own foreign policy, and controlled the...

The Medieval Physician And The Plague

The Black Death played havoc with the medieval medical profession. While some, like Gentile, died at his post, probably of exhaustion, many others were criticized for following their own best advice and fleeing. Critics charged physicians with cowardice and greed and, of course, the inability to prevent or cure the Plague. The Florentine Marchionne di Coppo Stefani wrote of the doctors of 1348 Those available wanted an exorbitant sum in hand before entering the patient's house, and once inside...

The Flagellants

In the course of the High Middle Ages, in towns and cities across western Europe, lay men, and sometimes women, from all walks of life organized themselves into religious confraternities, or brotherhoods. In some ways these echoed the earlier Crusaders' combining of the secular life with religious duties and purpose. By the later fourteenth century confraternities tended to be associated with specific parishes or churches, and had chaplains drawn from the local clergy. They tended to be of one...

The Black Death and Medieval Medicine

When the Plague struck the West in the middle years of the fourteenth century, no one really knew how to prevent or treat the disease. Many thought they did, but no diet or bloodletting or prayers or concoctions proved successful. The culture's intellectual framework for dealing with illness was deeply flawed, and therefore the various guesses people made based upon it were flawed. From 1348 to 1500 many physicians, Muslim and Christian, wrote treatises on the Plague, and scores of these...

The Plague Of Justinian 541c 760

The First Pandemic refers to a series of outbreaks of what was probably bubonic plague in the Mediterranean basin, and probably western Europe, from 541 to around 760. Because it broke out while Justinian I was the Byzantine emperor, and most famously ravaged his empire, his name is often linked to the First Pandemic. Contemporary sources agree that it began in Egypt, or further south in Abyssinia or the Sudan,5 and spread by ship to Constantinople, the Near East, Italy, and Southern France. In...

The Churchs Prescriptions And Popular Practices

The Catholic Church had long sought to harness the individual's conscience, and by extension his or her behavior, in order to bring it in line with the divine will. This would ensure both an individual's salvation from damnation to Hell and the well-being of the community. Sins, and the penances specific acts such as prayer, charity, or pilgrimage that reflected a contrite spirit that were necessary to reconcile oneself with God were defined in great detail and with an authoritative clarity by...

Document 3 Plague Tract 1348 Ibn Khatimah

Understand that the immediate cause is usually the corruption of the air, which surrounds people and which people inhale. This corruption can be either partial or total. Partial corruption results from the degradation of all or some of the air's accidental characteristics, without changing or spoiling the element air itself. This can take place by adding to or reducing the number of the air's accidental characteristics changing its natural condition or by mixing and combining it with foreign...

Document 7 Last Testament of Marco Datini of Prato Italy June 1 1348

Marco, son of the late Datino, of the neighborhood Porta Fuia, by the grace of Christ healthy in mind and body, wishing to arrange orally for the disposition of his goods, established this testament in this manner without having written it down himself . Firstly, he chose and willed that his body be buried within the church of San Francesco in Prato. Likewise he left for the sake of his soul for the saying of masses, to the chapter of the church of Santo Stefano Maggiore, in the territory of...

Cairo Egypt

The well-traveled fourteenth-century philosopher and historian Ibn Khaldun described Cairo as the metropolis of the universe, the garden of the world, the anthill of the human species, the portico sheltered porch of Islam, the throne of royalty. To another world traveler, his contemporary, Ibn Battuta (see biography), it seemed that The number of inhabitants is so great that they seem to move in waves, making the city look like a choppy sea.1 Cairo was actually a conglomeration of four urban...

Psychosocial Reactions to the Black Death

The mortality swept away so vast a multitude of both sexes that none could be found to carry the corpses to the grave. Men and women bore their own offspring on their shoulders to the church and cast them into a common pit. From these came such a stench that hardly anyone dared to cross the cemeteries. (England, William of Dene in Rochester Chronicle, 1349) And it was necessary to send corpses to be buried at San Giorgio d'Alega, San Marco Boccalame, San Lionardo di Fossaruola, and Sant'Erasmo...

Charles IV Charles of Luxembourg 131678 Holy Roman Emperor

Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV ruled the empire during the initial outbreak of the Black Death and two successive epidemics. He was born in Prague on May 14, 1316, the son of John of Luxembourg and Elizabeth of Bohemia. Baptized Wenceslas, at age seven he was sent to Paris to be raised at the court of King Charles IV, and took this monarch's name when he was confirmed in the Church. While in Paris he was deeply affected by the preaching of Pierre Roger, who would go on to become Pope Clement VI,...

Clement VI Pierre Roger 129121352 Pope

Clement VI was the Roman Catholic bishop of Rome (and Avignon) and pope (1342-52) during the Black Death. Pierre was the second son born to members of the lower nobility at Maumont in Correze, France. In 1301 he entered Chaise-Dieu Abbey in the Auvergne region, formally becoming a Benedictine monk five years later. Shortly afterward he was sent to study at the University of Paris, where he completed work in the arts, philosophy, theology, and canon law. He taught and preached in Paris, drawing...

Francesco Petrarch 130474 Italian Poet

Petrarch, often considered the first modern Man, lived through three episodes of the Plague in Italy, lost many loved ones, and through his intensely personal poetry embodied the anxieties and grief of the time. Born in Arezzo, near Florence, in 1304 to Ser Petracco, a notary and friend of Dante, young Francesco was exposed to classical Latin literature, which shaped his future life as a humanist scholar. In 1313 his family moved to Avignon, then the seat of the papacy, and eventually to nearby...

Lisadad Din ibn alKhatib 131375 Andalusian Physician and Bureaucrat

Along with Abi Gafar Ahmed ibn Khatimah, al-Khatib was one of the two major authors of Plague tracts to come from Andalusia (Muslim Spain). His ancestors had migrated from Syria to Andalusia shortly after the Arab invasion in 711. Al-Khatib studied medicine in Muslim Granada and there entered the service of the ruler Yusuf I around 1341. He served as a secretary under the vizier, or chief minister, Ali bin al-Djayyab, and when the vizier died of the Plague in 1349, al-Khatib replaced him as...

Comparing Cairo And Florence

The reader may have noticed that the section on Florence in this chapter is rather longer than that on Cairo. In part this is because the documentary record on Florence is richer, but it is also because the range of responses made by Florentines over the years was wider. Muslims and Christians alike relied upon flight and medicines, both groups prayed privately and en masse for divine mercy, and both suffered deeply the pangs of loss and the terrible fear of sudden illness and death. In neither...

The Medieval Plague Tract Or Consilium

The medical consilium was a formal written communication, usually in the form of explanation and advice, sent by a physician to someone who requested it. It could be short and to the point or long and complex, but it was written for a specific nonacademic audience to address a specific, therapeutic purpose. The Black Death elicited many of these, and they are important windows into medieval medical theory and practice. Between 1910 and 1925 the German medical historian Karl Sudhoff collected...

The Origins Arrival And Spread Of The Black Death

The debate over what disease or diseases constituted the Black Death is properly part of Chapter 2. Suffice it for now to say that historians have long assumed that it was bubonic plague and its close relative, pneumonic plague (the same germ, settled in the lungs). In addition, historians have long assumed that this was also the disease of the First Pandemic. If the bubonic plague did not become epidemic anywhere in Europe or the Near East between the 760s and 1347, then where did it go, and...

Chapter One On the choice of Air and its Purification

He who wants to protect himself from this epidemic should choose air as clean and pure as possible dry, with no mixtures of corrupting vapors. This suggests two considerations one on the choice of air in the place of habitation, the other on the general nature and substance of the air. When talking about the first point, let's follow the advice of Halys, who expresses himself in these terms The inhabitants should leave any place where and in which the air is mixed with corrupting vapors , if...

Economic Effects Of The Black Death

Economics is essentially the study of how people create, trade, and use goods and services. People need certain things and to have certain things done, and others provide these through their labor, at a price. Those who demand, or need, these goods and services are willing to pay for them, and they pay more for them when their need or desire for them is great or when the supply of them is small. The Black Death killed both those who demanded goods and services and those who supplied them, but...

The Meiss Thesis And Its Reception

In 1951 art historian Millard Meiss published a groundbreaking study of the Black Death and its impact on artistic style and content in the Italian cities of Florence and Siena. As Meiss saw it, the horrors of the pestilence shocked patrons of religious paintings into abandoning a halfcentury of artistic development in favor of an older and perhaps more reverent and spiritually effective style. Pre-1348 painters such as the Florentine Giotto and Siena's Lorenzetti brothers had created both...

Francesco di Marco Datini da Prato c 13351410 Tuscan Merchant

Orphaned in the Black Death of 1348, Francesco Datini went on to live through six additional outbreaks of the Plague, amass a major fortune, and, through his will, establish two foundations for orphaned or abandoned children. Born to an innkeeper and his wife in Prato, about ten miles from Florence, Italy, Francesco received a small but not insignificant inheritance when both his parents died in 1348. At age fifteen he left Prato for Avignon, the center of papal government, in the company of...