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The Tragedy Of The Black Death
yourself alone on a street corner, coughing up bloody mucous each time you
exhale. You are gasping for a full breath of air, but realizing that is not
possible, you give up your fight to stay alive. You're thinking, why is this
happening to me? That is how the victims of the Black Death felt. The Black
Death had many different effects on the people of the Middle Ages. To understand
the severity of this tragic epidemic you must realize a few things about the
plague. You should know what the Black Death is, the cause of the plague,
the symptoms, the different effects it had on the people, and the preventions
and cures for the plague.
The Black Death, also known as the Black Plague
or the Bubonic Plague, which struck in 1349, and again in 1361-62, ravaged
all of Europe to the extent of bringing gruesome death to many people of the
Middle Ages. The Black Death struck in 1349, and again in 1361-62, but was
restricted just to Europe (Rowse 29). It was a combination of bubonic, septicaemic,
and pneumonic plague strains (Gottfried xiii) that started in the east and
worked its way west, but never left its native home. One of the things that
made the plague one of the worst was that there were outbreaks almost every
ten years (Rowse 29), but still restricted to Europe. It is thought that one
third to one half could have possibly died by the plague (Strayer and Munro
462), with some towns of a death rate of up to 30 or 40 percent (Strayer and
Munro 462). Very few who were infected with the plague actually survived more
than one month after receiving the disease (Strayer and Munro 462). The Black
Death was an incredible event that effecte
d everyone on either a physical
or emotional level, or both. The Black Death was more terrible, and killed
more people than any war in history (Strayer and Munro 462). The plague was
so horrible and terrifying that people said it made all other disasters in
the Middle Ages seems mild when comparing it to the Black Death (Gies 191).
have been many disputes over what caused the Black Death, but only one is supported
with the most evidence. It is thought that on October of 1347, a Genoese fleet
made its way into a harbor in northeast Sicily with a crew that had "sickness
clinging to their very bones" (Gottfried xiii). The sickness this crew had
was not brought by men, but the rats and fleas aboard the ship. The harbor
tried to control the sickness by attempting to quarantine the fleet, but it
was too late (Gottfried xiii). Within six months of the docking of that very
fleet, half of the region had either fled the country, or died. That fleet,
along with many other fleets along the Mediterranean Sea brought the greatest
natural disaster to the world (Gottfried xiii).
The infested rat, called
the black ship rat, was carried in the baggage of merchants on board the ships
traveling all over the Mediterranean (Norwich 30). They didn't know it, but
it was the people that actually spread the disease across the land. The plague
spread in a great arc across Europe, starting in the east in the Mediterranean
Sea, and ending up in northwest Germany (Strayer and Munro 462). It is incredible
that the plague hit Europe several times, but still no one understood neither
the causes nor the treatments of the epidemic (Strayer and Munro 462).
was another cause that some people strongly believed brought the disease into
their world. Doctors at the University of Paris claimed that on March 20,
1345, at one o'clock in the afternoon, a conjunction of three higher planets
Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars caused a corruption of the surrounding air, which
made the air become poisonous or toxic (Gottfried 110). This is a highly unlikely
theory unless you are coming from a basis of Astrology. Another explanation
of the plague that scientists gave was environmental factors. These scientists
thought that there were many earthquakes that caused toxic fumes to come from
the center of the earth (Gottfried 110), which, again, brought contaminated
air for the people. Certain historians have wondered if the plague could
have been caused by overpopulation of the continent, but they are not completely
convinced (Hoyt and Chodorow 632). Some people, possibly out of desperation,
turned their violence on the Jews and blamed them for the cause of the plague
rayer ... more
Find essay on Religiously Place Part Of
Absolute monarchy or absolutism meant that the sovereign power or ultimate authority in the state rested in the hands of a king who claimed to rule by divine right. But what did sovereignty mean? Late sixteenth century political theorists believed that sovereign power consisted of the authority to make laws, tax, administer justice, control the state's administrative system, and determine foreign policy. These powers made a ruler sovereign.
One of the chief theorists of divine-right monarchy in the seventeenth century was the French theologian and court preacher Bishop Jacques Bossuet (1627-1704), who expressed his ideas in a book entitled Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Holy Scripture. Bossuet argued first that govemment was divinely ordained so that humans could live in an organized society. Of all forms of gov ernment, monarchy, he averred, was the most general, most ancient, most natural, and the best, since God established kings and through them reigned over all the peoples of the world. Since kings received their power from God, their authority was absolute. They were re sponsible to no one (including parliaments) except God. Nevertheless, Bossuet cautioned, although a king's au thority was absolute, his power was not since he was limited by the law of God. Bossuet believed there was a difference between absolute monarchy and arbitrary monarchy. The latter contradicted the rule of law and the sanctity of property and was simply lawless tyranny. Bossuet's distinction between absolute and arbitrary gov emment was not always easy to maintain. There was also a large gulf between the theory of absolutism as ex pressed by Bossuet and the practice of absolutism. As we shall see in our survey of seventeenth-century states, a monarch's absolute power was often very limited by practical realities. ...
The day after Cardinal Mazarin's death, Louis XIV, at the age of twenty three, expressed his deterrnination to be a real king and the sole ruler of France:
Up to this moment I have been pleased to entrust the gov emment of my affairs to the late Cardinal. It is now time that I govem them myself. You [secretaries and ministers of state] will assist me with your counsels when I ask for them. I request and order you to seal no orders except by my com mand, . . . I order you not to sign anything, not even a passport . . . without my command; to render account to me personally each day and to favor no one.
His mother, who was well aware of Louis's proclivity for fun and games and getting into the beds of the maids in the royal palace, laughed aloud at these words. But Louis was quite serious.
Louis proved willing to pay the price of being a strong ruler . He established a consci entious routine from which he seldom deviated, but he did not look upon his duties as drudgery since he judged his royal profession to be "grand, noble, and delightful." Eager for glory, Louis created a grand and majestic spec tacle at the court of Versailles (see Daily Life at the Court of Versailles later in the chapter). Consequently, Louis and his court came to set the standard for monar chies and aristocracies all over Europe. Less than fifty years after his death, the great French writer Voltaire used the title "Age of Louis XIV" to describe his history of Europe from 1661 to 1715. Historians have tended to use it ever since....
Although Louis may have believed in the theory of absolute monarchy and consciously fostered the myth of himself as the Sun King, the source of light for all of his people, historians are quick to point out that the reali ties fell far short of the aspirations. Despite the central izing efforts of Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, France still possessed a bewildering system of overlapping au thorities in the seventeenth century. Provinces had their own regional parlements, their own local Estates, their own sets of laws. Members of the high nobility with their huge estates and clients among the lesser nobility still exercised much authority. Both towns and provinces possessed privileges and powers seemingly from time im memorial that they would not easily relinquish. Much ... more
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