The Black Death And Its Impact On Europe’s Medieval Society

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Everyone in their childhood once remembers the classic nursery rhyme “Ring-Around-The-Rosy” however people still hinge as they realise this playful tune was based on something as atrocious as “The Black Death”. Emerging from the Black Sea, The Bubonic Plague reached the shores of Italy in the spring of 1348. It spread through Europe in a The abomination of the black death in Medieval Europe was a horrific package that brought with it an array of significant long and short term effects on its society, the most controversial include, population, economic and religion.

Primarily, One distinguishable effect included the population impact. As between its most prominent years of spreading through Europe (1348-1351) “The Bubonic Plague” brutally clutched over 50 million innocent lives in just the context of Europe’s Medieval society, this translates to 60% of europe’s population falling into an eternal slumber in just 3 years. Therefore it is referred by historians as the one of the most brutal and significant diseases in both Europe and the world’s history, for example, As seen in a graph provided by Source B, it is clearly noticeable the drop of World Population during the years of the black death hence concluding that Europe was not just the one affected however the deadly disease also nearly created one of the largest drops of humanity’s population in history.

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In addition, Another detectable effect included the economic impact. The economic effect of the plague was significant, As by reading into Source E; “Sheep and cattle went wandering … and there was no one to go and drive or gather them … many crops perished in the fields for want of someone to gather them” and “the peasants were so lifted up and obstinate that they would not listen to the king’s command, but if anyone wished to have them he had to give them what they wanted, and either lose his fruit and crops, or satisfy the wishes of the workmen” It is easily concluded that due to the high amount of population loss of peasants agricultural prices decreased almost immediately, thus endangering the fortunes and power of the aristocracy, whose wealth and dominance were based on land. At the same time, because large numbers of peasants died from the Black Death rents are no longer paid, there is a shortage of labour. As a result of the labour shortages caused by the Black Death the landed aristocracy began to lose much of their power and status and instead now the peasants were gaining wealth, for example, in Source F wages have increased heavily through the years after the bubonic plague. Although this than lead to 1353, where according to both Source D and Source G; It is informed that the King of England established a rule in which the peasants were only given a certain amount of wage no matter the amount of labour. However during 13581, an uneducated clergy named John Ball lead the Peasants Revolt which soon became the reason for many other peasant deaths, after arguments took on a feeling of rage across the King (which forced him to start a war). However due to this rule was “overruled” and thus resulting in Europe’s Medieval society having a sense of democracy, where everyone is paid equally for equal amount of labour.

Furthermore, there are other various ways “The Black Death” affected Europe’s Medieval society, however the most affected is religion. Primarily, During the era of the time in which “The Black Death” was most prominent in Europe, many families (most promptly peasant families) with dying relatives seeked out to the church and God as for them it symbolizes purity, healing and a place of protection; thus this lead to many individuals spending more than could afford to perform “Blessing ceremonies”. Blessing Ceremonies are described when a cluster of high ranked people of the church bless one’s soul in the name of god therefore making him more “aware” of you. These families were also told that the ceremony would make the dreadful sickness that was in a relative’s body to be overruled by “the blessings” given; however as predicted the ceremonies did absolutely nothing to save the victim from dying but gave the families a sense of false hope. Therefore many in Europe’s Medieval society grew disbelief of God and the church as people realized that religion could do nothing to stop the spread of the disease and their family’s suffering. So the Church’s services in many areas simply ceased.

Overall, The Black Death was a nightmare in appearance but a blessing in soul. It radically altered many aspects of Europe’s Medieval society. It impacted the population to such a drastic extent that it took decades to recover from. It impacted the structure of society by shaking the feudal system at its roots. It also impacted a corner of Medieval life, the church and its practices. However without this change European society as we know today would not have a democracy but still be led by the rigorous feudal system.     


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