Paul Halsall

Introduction to the Medieval World

Class 25: Catastrophe? The Black Death and its Results

Assigned Reading:


I. Introduction The Late Middle Ages: Periodization and Concept In Italy - Renaissance II. Overview A. Economy Population Disease B. Culture Emotionalism Particularism C. Politics Near Collapse of several states France England Total Collapse of Germany and Italy Emergence of New Stronger states in 16th century building on older traditions England France Spain Nation (?. states replace religion III. The Late Medieval Economic Crisis before the Black Death Population growth and resources Malthus - population grows geometrically, supplies arithmetically Famines in early 14th century - 1315-17 Population peaks - evidence of town walls This may be evidence of an already weakened population IV. The Black Death A. Epidemics, Endemics and Pandemics Disease in general Problems of definition of ancient disease Diseases can change - e.g. Syphilis -weaker strains are more successful Continuous other diseases - measles, TB, Never mind cancer and heart disease. endemics - local low level levels of disease. Equilibrium epidemics - Collapse of equilibrium raging disease. Kills off many people Pandemics - repeated epidemics B. The Disease Yersina Pestis - as bacillus an enzootic disease of rodents Spreads after and epizootic Bubonic - buboes - recovery possible Pneumonic - affects lungs - kills up to 90% Septicemic - illness develops and kills within 2 hours Enteric - not present in MA Ecology: Rats - Fleas - bacillus lives in fleas stomach Rats = rattus rattus, Flea + Xenopsylla Cheopis Bubonic: Bacillus blocks flea. flea vomits into rat, Rat gets infected and dies. Fleas jump to other rats and humans. Pneumonic: humans sneeze. Depends on certain temperature levels for type of plague. Fleas only active at certain temps - 68-70 degs. Disputes on coexistence. C. Why in 14th century. Some climatic effects in central Asia? D. Global Biological Unification In general - populations not resistant to new diseases e.g. small pox in America Plague - Ethiopian origin in 6th century Late medieval epidemic - Chinese origin Mongol unification of Asia E. Course 1347-50 -China in 1333 -[1346- in Mesopotamia and Syria] -Crimea - story of bodies being catapulted over walls of Caffa [but its spread by Rats] -Spread is a result of trade. -1347 Fall - Byzantium Read John Cantacuzenus description Explain his use of Thucydides -1347 Sept - Sicily - Messina -1348 Jan - France Marseilles -1348 - England, Spain -1349 - Eastern Europe, Iceland, -1350 - Wipes out Greenland F. The Pandemic -Repetitions up until 1720s -Spread by same trade routes -1361-62, 1369, 74-75, 79,90, 1407 -Pesta secunda - the children's plague V. Effects of Black Death Not every effect is due to the plague. Some trends happening earlier. A. Population Effects Death rates in each epidemic Up to 50% in some towns - less with bubonic plague -Bohemia 10% of pop - got off lightly -Siena 40-50% -Orvieto 50% -Florence - 45-70% -England 40-50% (e.g. clerical mortality - 40-50%. Effects of repeated epidemics - on women and children. 1361- 25% of pop dies. Population declines for 150 years. B. Economic Effects -No shortage of supply -shortage of Labor -Price of Labor rises - peasant revolts when control attempted. Statute of Laborers 1351 England Revolt 1381 (plus other causes. -Golden age of the Laborer? -Increased prominence of cities over the countryside. -Commerce revived after 1460. C. Cultural Effects -Denial, Acceptance, Lack of restraint 1. Art Images of Death Realism Flamboyant architecture 2. Flagellants - Before the plague hit 3. Dance of Death 4. Chivalry - Medieval Burgundy VI. Late Medieval Religion A. Official Religion High Middle ages from Gregory VII, through Innocent III, to Boniface VIII saw the zenith of the Medieval papacy. Ideal of a respublica christiana under the pope. But real problems for Papacy in the later middle ages. Due to its own problems and the rising power of states. 1. The Great Schism Avignon 1306-1376 (Babylonian Captivity to the Italians. In fact a series of effective good popes. In administrative if not spiritual terms, e.g. John XXII 1316-34 1376 - Gregory XI moved papacy back to Rome at urgings of a woman - Catharine of Siena. 1378 - Cardinals forced by mob to elect an Italian Urban VI But they left city and elected another French Pope Clement who went to live in Avignon 37 years of schism Weakened the Papacy - and made in seem ridiculous. 2. Conciliarism 1409 - both popes deposed. 3rd elected (Benedict. Now three popes Sigismund, HRE arranged a new Council -Constance 1415-18 -Martin V (1417-31. elected Theory of Conciliarism - Nicholas of Cusa Councils every five-ten years 1423, 1431 Martin V worked against this 1431-49 - Council of Basle - drifted into open schism with the papacy. Papacy then got involved in turbulent politics of Renaissance Italy E.g. Alexander VI 1492-1503, promoted Cesare Borgia! 3. Government Control of Church Philip IV in France - able to overcome Boniface VIII In England - Statute of Mortmain - Cases to Rome Ecclesia Gallicana/Anglicana B. Popular Religion As official church struggled, popular religion in no way weakened. 1. Lay Piety - outside church control -Devotio Moderna - Thomas A Kempis - d. 1471 -More impressive is female mysticism - Beguines Jesus as Mother .- Julian of Norwich -Use of food to control body 2. Indulgences - Growth and Spread 3. Elaboration - Rosaries of 150 decades Detail - see work of Jan van Eyck 4. Images of Death - Change after the Black death C. New Heresies[?] 1. Wycliffe and Lollards -John Wycliffe d. 1384 -Rejection of Church authority -Emphasis on the Bible -Rejections of sacramentalism -Idea of English Bible -Built on Devotio Moderna emphasis on individual approach to God Lollardy (in areas of later reformation spread ?). Popular outgrowth of intellectual heresy. 1401 - Statute of Burning of Heretics. 2. Jan Hus d. 1415 (At Stake in Constance. Anti Clericalism Czech nationalism Both kinds in the Eucharist Morning Star of the Reformation?

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© Paul Halsall, 1996.

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