The Black Death – Jess Conlon 8A

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DIORAMA EXPLANATION

The diorama I created is showing the filthy streets where the plague hit. As you can see it is extremely dirty, which attracts rats infected with the plague. My creation also shows a victim of the plague, who, after dying, was just dumped on the streets. This actually happened! The strange figure that looks like a giant crow in a hat is a doctor! The reason doctors had beaks was so they could put in pleasant smelling substances such as herbs as they believed bad smell was a cause of the disease. The doctor also has a rod which would most commonly be used for pushing away desperate victims or clearing the pathway in front of him to walk. You can read more about doctors of the Black Death on Erin Gridley’s blog, where she explains the reasons of their outfit!

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q1: WHAT WERE THE BLACK DEATH’S EFFECTS?

The Black Death (bubonic plague) affected so many people in many different ways. The people who were infected by the disease had many horrifying symptoms. The early effects of the plague included having a headache, fever, chills, vomiting and a white tongue-a lot like have a very bad flu. Within a short period of time, the lymph glands in the groin, armpit and neck swell up into big blue-black lumps that excrete pus and blood and leave a terrible smell. Within a day or so, all these pussy, bloody and smelly lumps start to cover the whole body, leaving the victim in complete agony. The victim’s heart then begins to beat rapidly and their speech becomes unable to understand. Their victims would often stagger around, looking like they are drunk, now called ‘Dance of Death’. After living with these terrible effects of the plague, the infected person would die within days. How long before the person died could often be based on how strong or weak they were, the weaker ones would die quicker and the stronger would take longer to die.

Q2: WHY DID THE BLACK DEATH COME TO AN END, ONLY TO REAPPEAR FROM TIME TO TIME AGAIN IN LATER YEAR?

Although nobody knows the exact reason of why the Black Plague died out it is thought that the most possible reason was that the people in the town finally learnt about bad hygiene and sanitation. After all, it was their poor knowledge of bacteria and filthy streets that cause the rats holding with fleas which are the carriers of this deadly plague to fill up the narrow town streets. After cleaning up the streets, learning about germs and also making the town streets less narrow, the plague became rarer and rarer. Medical knowledge became stronger; unlike it was when the plague first hit. The plague would have reappeared time to time as sanitation can never be perfect and in poorer areas people do not care or have knowledge about good hygiene. Obviously, the dirty streets and bacteria would attract rats that would be infested with fleas which were carrying the plague, causing the plague to reappear. Even nowadays people in extremely poor, third world countries can be diagnosed with this plague and even die because of it. Until the whole world is clean and sanitary the Black Plague can always reappear.

Q3 (bonus question): WHAT IMPACT DID THE BLACK DEATH HAVE ON THE FEUDAL SYSTEM AND EVERYDAY LIFE?

Because of the raging plague and massive loss of life from it, landowners would have been experiencing major labour shortages. Many townspeople and peasants had fled, leaving their houses empty, their animals wandering around by themselves and crops left to rot. Because of this, the town suffered starvation. The reason feudalism ended was the fact that, because of the massive loss of peasants and labourers, peasants began to demand payment for their crops from their lords for whom they were working. If the lords failed to pay them the peasants could then move on to a new lord. There is no doubt the Black Death sped up the end of feudalism by reducing the amount of peasants and labourers.

Thank you very  much for taking the time to read this and I hope you have learnt something from it! Below are the websites that helped me to answer these questions. 🙂

BIBLIOGRAPHY

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/black_death_of_1348_to_1350.htm

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_did_the_plague_help_to_end_the_feudal_system

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/black_impact_01.shtml

http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080503210555AATuhPA


 

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