The plague that wiped out one-third of the population of Western Europe in the 14th century was nondiscriminatory. Many reasons contributed to the large number of deaths. The plague was a turning point in Europe socially, economically and culturally. There were several ways in which the plague affected Europe. One of the reasons the plague affected Europe was socially. This was the by-product of a single flea bite. Erasmus of Rotterdam states, “The plague and sickness in England is due to the filth in the streets and the sputum and dogs’ urine…” which could be close to the correct answer because the fleas infected the rats and then the rats infected other animals which then infected the humans. Giovan Flippo a physician seemed to think people in higher positions would try to take power from some and frighten others. With so many deaths, Europe was socially devastated. Economy was another reason why the plague affected the people of Europe.
“Since the rich fled, death was principally directed towards the poor…” explains French author Nicolas Versoris. This means the poor were left to die and infect more of the poor people while the rich were able to flee. According to M. Bertrand, physician at Marseilles argues “The plague must be considered a particular chastisement exercised by an angry god…”. Meaning that it was god’s way of showing his anger by taking the lives of people. Again, the plague took the lives from all walks of life, whether rich or poor. So many people died that there weren’t enough people to do jobs therefore a labor shortage occurred. Finally culture played another significant role.
Cultural beliefs play an important part in the decision making process for people. “…sent me a little piece of bread that had touched the body of St. Domenica. I fed it to my husband and suddenly the fever broke”, mentioned Lisabetta Centenni, Italian housewife. She believed that her husband was cured by the holy piece of bread because it touched the body of St. Domenica. A French physician, H. de Rochas seemed to think that wearing toads around the necks of the infected would draw the venom of the plague out of their bodies.
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