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Black Death

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The Black Plague is one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. The Plague Struck and killed with terrible speed leaving the few who still remained alive in shock and utter confusion. People became desperate and turned to religion for hope and an explanation for this deadly event. Despite the Black Plague Striking World Wide, the Christian and Muslim reactions where quite different. These disparate reactions grew as the mortality rate due to the Black Death grew. The Background of the Black Plague is as intriguing as the variant reactions themselves and vital for fully understanding the differences in the response these two religions had towards the Black Plague. The Christian reaction was to blame the Jews and was fueled by the fear. On the Contrary the Muslims reacted in a more religious manner than blaming. The cause of all of this of course all come from general trade routes near the Mediterranean that spread the plague like a wild fire. In 1346 European traders began hearing reports about a plague faraway in China (Document 1). The plague theses traders herd of destructively followed their routes to the middle east, North Africa, and Europe (Document 1). In Five years the Plague killed between 25%and 45% of the populations it touched (Document 4). A gush of blood from the nose, A swelling behind the armpits and groin where the sure sigh that inevitable death was to come (Document 6). The black plague was really three separate plagues; the bubonic was the most common, the pneumonic was less common but more deadly and the septicemic which killed all of its victims (Document 1). Medical Knowledge was next to nothing in the mid-thirteen hundreds, theories of prevention were illogical. In Europe there practices of prevention included cleaning the impure air by building fires, residing in a house facing north to avoid southerly winds, covering windows with wax cloth, filling houses with sweet smelling plants, avoiding sleep on the back and Breathing in Latrine Vapors (Document 5). In the east there theories of prevention included consuming pickled onions, pumpkin seeds and sour juices. They would also build fires to fumigate, stay indoors, use letter magic, and avoid sad talk (Document 5). In both Regions one method of prevention was to drink liquefied Armenian Clay (Document 5). The Background of the Black Death is important knowledge when looking at the responses from a religious standpoint, like the Christian reaction. The Black Death arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean in 1348. Most European where Christian at this time and the Catholic Church was very powerful. When the Plague hit the Catholic Church preached to the European Christians about how it was the wrath of God, “The Almighty strikes repeatedly, to greater and greater effect “ (Document 7). Christians believed it was there sins causing the plague and embraced acts of penance (Document 7), in order to prevent the swelling in the lymph nodes which was the telltale sign of certain death (Document 6). Christians reacted in another curious way by blaming the Jewish people. Christians accused the Jews of poisoning wells and other outlandish accusations were made (Document 10). Jewish communities were destroyed and Jewish massacres where common. Many Jews were often burned to death in a lieu in order to stop the pestilence (Document 9). The black Plague was a dark time in our history and Christians responded darkly. This reaction to the plague contrast greatly with the Muslim reaction.

Muslims reacted to the plague in a more commendable way then persecuting the Jews. Muslims thought that the Plague was a blessing from god and should be accepted as a divine act (Document 7). As a result of the plague the Muslim people would fast for three whole days then gather together in the Great Mosque to pray (Document 11). The Muslims went about the plague in a very mild manner (Document 7). The Muslims did not blame anyone for the plague (Document 12) and even welcomed the Jews and Christians to pray with them during the epidemic (Document 11). It can be said that the Muslim reacted in a more religious manner when compared to the contrasting Christian reaction to the same Plague that killed thousands of people and left the world in consternation, the Black Plague. The Black Plague brought the same effects everywhere it went but there are very different reactions between Christians and Muslims to this same horrific event. Understanding the background of the plague is key to knowing just how differing the two religions reactions where towards the black plague. Christians took a more cruel and fear filled approach while the Muslims where more composed in their reaction, looking at it from a more optimistic approach. On ether side of the spectrum The Black Plague was the single most destructive phenomenon in the history of the world (Document 1) and looking at how Christians and Muslims reacted to it is engrossing.

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