“The Black Death and the Transformation of the West”
I chose this book because I was intrigued to find out what were the effects the Black Death brought upon the West as suggested inits title. David Herlihy, author of the book, characterized the Black Death as the most devastating disease and “ecological disaster” that Middle Age Europe and even the present world has everexperienced (16). This ignited my curiosity and prompted me to analyze the consequences and adaptations this vile and morbid plague forced the citizens from the affected countries to live through. I wasable to notice its impact not only on the economy but also on the social and cultural life of Europe.
One main aspect particularly important in the dissemination of the plague was its origination. Somebelieve originated in Asia and was carried by travelers to the West around the first quarter of the fourteenth century. Trade was an important factor for the development of all civilizations;merchants, missionaries as well as typical travelers used a common route known as the Silk Road, which connected Europe with China (25). However the spreading of the plague and the ravage it brought toEurope did not stop trade and expansion; on the contrary, transportation modernized and connected civilizations up to this day.
One of the effects of the plague upon the European economy was the eminentdecrease of workers as well as their productive age span. The high mortality rates shortened life expectancies from 40 to 20 years old (43), resulting in rapid turnover in the work force and thus alesser quality in products and services provided.
The plague caused a major change in the customary ways by which the members of the society handled or dealt with the burying rituals of the deceased.Long before the plague stroke the Church had established a set of rituals that would mainly honor the body and soul of the deceased, thus aiding in the comfort of those losing a family member with...
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