January 26, 2013
The Black Death: How different were Christian and Muslim responses?
It was a deadly disease that was causing destruction throughout the middle Ages. It devastated many people as well as killed many people. It had many names such as the Black Death, the great plague, and even the great pestilence. None of these names can describe the amount of struggle and devastation this disease brought upon the people living during the medieval times. This deadly disease killed about 25 million people in Europe in the Late 1340s. The plague followed trade routes throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Not much knowledge of cleanliness and how sickness was caused was known during the Middle Ages but most believe that the plague was caused by bacterial strains. How was the way the Christian and Muslims’ way of handling the plague different? the meaning of responses mean a way of handling a situation. The first way that Christian and Muslim responses to the Black Death were different was their causes and preventions, which means their beliefs of what caused the plague and also what they believed could prevent it. In Europe people believed cause for the plague (document 5) that had nothing to do with religion were miasma carried by warm southern winds, excessive clothing, march 20 1345, and outrageous fashion. Near East people believed that causes for the plague were miasma due to wind carrying stench of Mongol bodies from Crimea, miasma due to overpopulation causing “evil monsters”, war ovens, demons, sin; alcohol and prostitution. People in Europe believed that some ways to prevent themselves from getting the plague were to build fires to purify contaminated air, reside in a house facing north to avoid southerly winds, fill house with sweet smelling plants, drink liquefied Armenian clay, rose water, peppermint, avoid sleeping on back, and breathe in latrine vapors. Near East people believed that some ways of preventing themselves from getting this disease was to consume pickled
onions, pumpkin seeds, and sour juices, build fires and fumigate, drink in a solution of Armenian clay, pass severe laws against alcohol and prostitution, stay indoors, avoid sad talk, and use letter magic. Causes and preventions points to a difference in Christian and Muslim responses to The Black Death because both religions thought differently about the causes of the black plague and the way they should prevent it. It shows that the two religions had a different way of approaching the plague.
The second way that the Christian and Muslim responses to the Black Death were different was the role of God, which means the part that God took in the lives of both the Christians and Muslims during the black plague epidemic. The plague was described as (document 4) a blessing from God and something that a Muslim should accept as a divine act. However, the Christians say “I am overwhelmed, I can’t go on!” Everywhere one turns there is death and bitterness”. The role of God points to a difference in Christian and Muslim responses to the Black Death because it shows that the Muslims saw the plague as a gift from God while the Christians saw it as overwhelming. This demonstrates that both religions looked at how the plague affected them differently from one another.
The way the Christians and Muslims handled the great plague epidemic were different from each other was their beliefs of what caused and how the plague could be prevented and the role God took in their lived during the spread of the disease. The difference between Christian and Muslim responses to the Black Plague is important because it demonstrates the differences between the ways the two religions decided to go about handling the plague. It is important for u to know these differences today because it shows us how the two religions lived their lives during the time that this disease was a huge part of their lives.