ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Fundamental Effect of the Black Death

Updated on December 16, 2017
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

When the Black Death reached its climax and swept through Europe, it left no area of society untouched. There were effects everywhere including cities, rural areas, every social structure, and religious and non-religious areas. Nothing was protected from the deadly disease that bombed the Middle Ages.

This was a disease that didn't care who its victims were. The poor and royalty were attacked. The ones in the city and in the country faced death. It did not discriminate.

Source

What Was the Black Death?

The Black Death is also known as the Plague. It was a disease that spread throughout Europe like nothing ever before or since. Variations of the disease were not uncommon but mostly was found in small pockets. A few larger epidemics were recorded, but the Black Death was the worst Europe ever saw.

No one was immune from its reaches. No walls could block its entrance. It was a bacteria carried by the fleas of rats that infested all of Europe. These rats had access to every inch of the land and all the buildings within. Fleas jumped from animal to person to person.

In less than a week, someone exposed to the virus came down with the deadly symptoms. The first signs were nothing to be extremely worried about though during that time what we dismiss as nothing much as something big: headache, fever, weakness, stomach pains. The skin would turn black as it died, thus giving it the name of Black Death. Death soon followed.


Source

So Much Death

About “a third of Europe’s population in twenty years” was eliminated. (1) To have one out of three people die, left no family untouched. The dead were heaped up as there were no room in the graveyards.

This sudden decrease in population meant that the church felt 30% of their members go to the hereafter. Money and works were found to be missing.

All of the labor forces lost 30% of their workers that produced the products that brought prosperity to the areas. There was already an economic depression throughout Europe that the Black Death intensified. (2)

Memorial to the Black Death
Memorial to the Black Death | Source

Economical Impact

Morale from economic bad times is low enough. Every society goes through them and suffer through it until the economy rebounds. The Black Death brought the morale even lower than a normal bad economy. Fear filled Europe as people shied from the horror of potential “contamination by the putrefying bodies.” (3) No war or Papal edict would be able to affect the masses as the Black Death. No person or decree could create such fear.

The Black Death brought the economy down further, changed the economic map of Europe, cleared out towns and farms, depleted work forces, and even killed off many of the domesticated animals that Europe depended on to survive. (4) In some areas, work came to a complete stop due to the lack of labor. Food was not harvested timely. The world was trying to grind to a stop as death marched on.

While few could function in making a living, landlords still demanded their rent...if they were still alive. Finding food and security was hard to come by especially if you were low on funds and unable to acquire any.

Source

Religious

The Church nearly looked like it was dying. Attendance was low. Even the devout feared going among others in case of catching the disease. That also meant the coffers were low. This was a big impact within the religious community and the economy as the Church was a major player in it.

The Plague hit most people one of two ways. Either they turned more to their faith to get them through the terrible times or they turned away from a God they believe to have deserted them. The Church was to see a large impact on all aspects of its organization.

In the end, the Black Death affected more of the morale of Europe than it affected anything else. Seeing loved ones die with no help coming from anywhere including the Church, watching the young and the old give into the disease, and knowing that the world that they knew would change completely did more to the masses than anything else. The most fundamental effect was the low morale that touched the Pope down to the lowest peasant.


Sources:

(1) Norman F. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, (New York: Harper Perennial, 1994), 477.

(2) Ibid, 477.

(3) Boccaccio, “The Decameron – Introduction”, Medieval Sourcebook, accessed March 23, 2011, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/boccacio2.html.

(4) Cantor, 478.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • talkmary50 profile image

      Mary Guimont 

      11 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Excellent Hub!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)