The Black Death according to many historians does not narrow down to one cause. There have been several interpretations of what has caused the plague. But there have not been different opinions on the effects of the Black Death. The plague has caused a decrease in population; drop in food prices, religious conflicts, and land lost. Historians can conclude with the aftermath of the plague that it was a significant event in which many people were affected.
Besides the fact that the Black Death devastated Europe in the medieval times, it also had a powerful impact on population, culture, religion, and economy. The population decreased due to the thousands of deaths caused by The Black Death. The population “did not recover from the plague, did not resume the skyrocketing demographic curve of the late 13th century” (Cantor 88). It seemed to be estimated that almost 35 million Europeans died from the plague.
Late marriages were also a factor that caused the populations not to bounce back from adversity due to the long periods of bachelorhood. Therefore, childbirth was at a smaller percent and if a woman were to be pregnant she would die due to old age. Also, some of the people who were affected by the plague thought it was God punishing them for their sins and how they deserved it. Culture was another aspect of the plague.
Many cultures had changed and land was lost. The plague had affected people’s land because of the spread of the disease was already onto the animals. Farmers could not cultivate their farmland or animals because they were dying and then the plague had spread to the landowners. Religion, people viewed the plague as an evil deep inside themselves.
They viewed it as God punishing them for their sins so they must ask for forgiveness, donate to the church, and live better lives. Those who were punished by God “turned to better things in their minds. They abstained from all vice during that time and they lived virtuously; many divided their property among the poor, even before they were attacked by disease (Cantor 247).
Flagellants whipped themselves and scourged themselves as penance for their and society’s sins in the belief that the Black Death was God’s way of punishing them. Another thought came across that the Jews had poisoned Christian community wells badly to persecute Jews. This did not help Europe bolster their community back to normal.
The economy; due to the shortage of land and people, people were out of pay and prices of food went up. Due to many deaths, there were shortages of goods and then a rise in prices. The prices on wheat, cheese, and meat went up. Majority of farmland was left with no farmer so the food was there to rot.
Due to that, people could not provide food for themselves and they had to buy food even though the prices went up; the consumption of meat went up as well. The plague affected Europe’s community so much that people were living different lifestyles, from growing there own food to surviving on high priced food while sick.
Cantor writes from a Political history view as well as a Cultural historical view. Political History is “the narrative and analysis of political events, ideas, movements, and leaders. It is distinct from, but related to, other fields of history such as Diplomatic history, social history, economic history, and military history, as well as constitutional history and public history” (Wikipedia n.p.). Cantor writes from a political history view because he focuses on the impact the Black Death had on Europe.
Cantor also writes from a Cultural history view; Cultural History is building on materialism but focuses on language as a historical view and borrows from anthropology and linguistics of people in the past. Cantor writes from this view partially because he analyzes the people that deeply impacted the Black Death and how the cultural world was affected by it.
But his main focus was to convey the difference in cultural backgrounds and how they affected the Black Death. It was believed/said that the cause of The Black Death and majority of the plagues that struck Europe were epidemics of the bubonic plague. (CJ Duncan, Scott S).
One historian believes that “the disease was a viral haemorrhagic fever, characterized by long incubation period of 32 days, which allowed it to be spread widely even with the limited transport of the Middle Ages.” It was spread by being emerged from its “animal host” and then attacked Europe/Asia communities over and over. The Black Plague spread quickly, believed to being spread by animal host, because fleas and rats would transfer it to other animals. Another prediction was that a fleabite would an infected rat; Yersinia Pestis grows in its gut.
The Black Death is believed to have started to spread from the human to human with no rats and or fleas involved because places where the plague hit there were no rats. In conclusion to The Black Death and how Cantor wrote in his perspective, it is hard to say what is the deciding factor in what caused the plague all together. Since the plague has many reasons as to what caused the spread they all eventually lead to what happened after, tragedy.
The plague affected how people lived their lifestyles, farms were lost and lots of people died. As well as food prices going up because many animals got infected with the plague causing them to die; the farmers weren’t able to provide for themselves or families. Cantor wrote his book with historical facts and key people who set the tone for the book. Other historians did the same but had a different opinion on what caused it. Concluding this The Black Death left the world with open eyes to show how a sickness will affect not only people but religion and money too.
1. “Black Death.”