The Black Death and Its Effect on the Change in Medicine

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Historians have argued if the Black Death in the 13th century advanced science and medicine or if it was just a terrible plague that wiped out most of the European population. The Black Death did in fact bring many discoveries to most of Europe. The aftermath of the plague led to advancements of medications and swayed everyone from their hardcore beliefs.

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Medical practices went from being theoretical, based on their theories of the human body, to being more based on evidence which was gained through experience from prior patients. The questions I want to answer in this paper are: why did it took so long to find a cure for the plague? Was the disease difficult to understand in general? Lastly, did other theories hold up to Galen’s?

It all started in 1347, the time of the century where the people of Europe could not think it could be any worse. Slightly before this time, in 1316-1317, the people were already suffering from a famine due to volcanic eruptions which blocked out the sun. Later, came the cooling process as it rained too much for crops to grow. Families have doubled size roughly between 1000 and 1300’s and there simply was not enough food to feed the people of Europe. It wasn’t until 1347 when the Black Death, also known as the bubonic plague, was brought back by ship from Kaffa to the islands of Sicily.

Kaffa was a Genoese trading center along the Black Sea, but, in 1346, the Huns were trying to take over the trade routes. This however, had allowed the Huns to become the victim of the plague. This caused at least 5 million deaths in China which caused the Huns to dump the bodies into Kaffa. This lead them into thinking it would cause the end of the plague but, unfortunately, the infected fleas will jump to different host bodies after the death of their original host body. This plague was then also brought to other European countries and it spread north.

Everyone was equally harmed by this disease meaning, not only did this disease affect those who were poor, but also those who were rich. At this point, the people have been forgetting the proper burial and would be thrown into a mass grave. By 1350, with an exception to few, all of Europe’s trading routes were devastated by the disease (Sayre 443). Not only did the Black Death plague break out once, but also again in 1363, 1388-90, and 1400.

Keep in mind these people were already suffering from lack of a supplementary food supply and their bodies were already severely weakened. The European people and those around them had not experienced a pandemic to the level of the Black Death in a quincentenary,

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