Black Death Paper


The Black Death was a devastating epidemic that occurred in Europe during the fourteenth century, killing approximately 25 million people. It traveled swiftly from place to place, and destroyed all who encountered it. The healthy were so apt to catch it that social conventions quickly dwindled, as afflicted friends and family members were ignored and avoided. Few dared to help tend to the dying, or even to take proper care to dead bodies. It had many effects on Western civilization for years to come. Although the bubonic thesis has been the accepted theory, it has been challenged throughout the years.

The first sign of the Black Death was tumors in the groin or armpits, which ranged in size from an egg to an apple. Soon, these tumors would be found all over the body, and were accompanied by black or purplish spots. Then the sick began vomiting or coughing up blood, while pus and blood emerged from sores. Other reported symptoms include terrible odors, delirium, and stupor. The sick died within days, sometimes even hours, of contacting this disease. No one knew what caused the Black Death, and doctors had no way to treat the dying.

Entire families were consumed, including parents, children, and servants. Anyone who tended to a sick person also became sick themselves. Even touching the body or belongings of a dead person caused another to catch the Black Death. At the height of the plague, more than 200 people were buried in one cemetery in London each day during a two month period. In addition to that, were those dying each day in all the other towns and being buried in other cemeteries within London. Priests did not know what to do with so many bodies. They stopped holding individual funerals, as well as burying the dead in the cemeteries and plots of their choice. City officials began digging large pits, and burying the dead five deep.

Many have theorized that the Black Death was the bubonic plague. In 1894, another epidemic,...