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The Black Death and its aftermath - Essay Example

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The medieval plague was the most severe social phenomenon in Western history. The plague was an epidemic disease that constantly affected people and killed almost forty percent of Europe's population…
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The Black Death and its aftermath
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Download file to see previous pages The religious view argued that the "Black Death" was created by the Jews so that they could eliminate all the Christians from this world. They believed that the Jews had poisoned all the wells and springs. Therefore, they persecuted the Jews demanding them to confess their evil schemes. Many of the Jews confessed that they obtained this lethal poison from a foreign land but it was done without the knowledge of the Jewish community. Many communities had to pray hard for rain so that their people could have pure water to drink and cook. Some of the regions that were severely affected by this disease believed that God would want the Jews to be punished for this act.

So they began to burn the Jews for poisoning all the wells and springs. As a result of the torture, many Jews were adopted to the Christian faith through baptism in order to avoid undeserved punishment 2 (Horrox, 1994).

The religious view also argued that the plague was a punishment from God. They believed that the human race deserved to be punished because of their disobedience to God. People lived lifestyles that were sinful, unrighteous and not pleasing to him. Because of this, God had to demonstrate his sovereign power by allowing humanity to suffer. People could be cured from this disease but in order to be healed they had to humble themselves and totally submit to His authority. In comparison, the practitioners from Egyptian and Mesopotamian nations had 'medicine' to make peace with the gods. They believed that performing certain rituals and incantations before the sick person would cause him to be delivered from the demon spirit, for they all believed that diseases were caused by demons 3 (Horrox, 1994; & Longrigg, 1998).
The medical theory presented two main explanations on the plague. Firstly, they believed that the cause of 'Black Death' was associated with "miasma" which means "bad air". They said that when a person inhales 'bad air' it goes directly into their lungs before it gets transmitted into their blood stream. Therefore, it starts to affect the patient's body by generating various symptoms such as headaches, coughing up blood, and a rain increase in the pulse rate. 2
The disease also would spread quickly into the air when the afflicted patient exhaled. This medical theory supported the fact that the air was not the main cause of the plague; instead, the plague was a direct result of the pollution or bacteria in the air that which was the cause for the disease. So when a normal individual contracted the disease through an afflicted person, they were both required to immediately leave the town before they passed it on to more people4 (Horrox, 1994).
The medical theory also claimed that the plague was caused by an imbalance in the individuals' diet. For instance, individuals with inadequate nourishment were more vulnerable to the plague than people with malnutrition. People who consume an adequate amount of water were less susceptible to the disease. This indicated that the socioeconomic status was a significant factor in determining the rate at which the disease spread. Therefore, people from low class families were mainly blamed for the elevation of 'Black Death'. The medical view ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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