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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Historical Wednesdays Halloween Countdown - The Black Death

Don't look up "black death" in an image search unless you have a strong stomach.
What could be scarier than the plague that overran the entire known world, attacking with bubonic, pneumonic and septicemic strains, and obliterating one quarter to one half the population?
These victims were lucky to get coffins. 
No satisfactory explanation and no useful advice about avoidance or treatment were available. It struck you, or it didn't. Some people refused to have anything to do with the sick, sometimes saving themselves but creating chaos in the social order that had lasting effects into the modern age.
Some people today make predictions about super-diseases that will be spread even faster by transportation technology, and it's a great premise for horror/thriller movies. The Black Death is one reason I prefer to study the European Middle Ages before 1348. Before, optimism, color, and a sense that all was right with the world abounded. Afterward, things got truly scary.