Black Death

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Hundreds of years ago, a plague swept over the known world. The Great Plague, Great Pestilence, and Black Death were a few of the names that it was given. In the Background Essay, it states that, "the plague killed between 25 and 45% of the populations it encountered." It was played a huge role in the history of the 14th century. There were three bacterial strains of the plague; all of them were deadly. According to Document 2, the mortality rate was 31% in Europe, 33% in England, 25-33% in Egypt, and 33% in Syria. About one third of the population in most places was killed or affected by the plague. People reacted differently to the plague. Although Europeans and Middle-Easterners both had similar beliefs, they behaved differently with the plague. Christianity was the predominant faith in Europe. Europeans acted in "depraved" ways and were "more inclined than before to evil and wickedness". (Document 6, William Dene) The people of Europe saw the plague as the end of the world and did not care for what they did. Document 6 explains that workers rebelled and abandoned their work, priests looked for benefices where they could receive larger stipends leaving places unserved, and the people were "not thinking of death nor of the past plague nor of their own salvation..." Europeans didn't pay much attention to authority or to the law. In Strasbourg, citizens accused the Jewish population of poisoning the wells. Even though the town council of Strasbourg attempted to protect the Jews from the people, the townspeople burned many Jews alive after they (the Jews) had confessed to the sin. In Document 7, it says, "The Jews were guilty of this crime as all around was said, by poisoning wells at this same time." Gabrielle De Mussis, a "chronicler" who lived during this time period, says in Document 4, "We know that whatever we suffer is the just reward of our sins." He believed that the disease was a curse from God due to the wickedness of the people; he thought that the...
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