Bubonic Plague

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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The Social Effects of the Bubonic Plague The Bubonic Plague was a disease where the victim has swollen lymph nodes, called buboes. These swollen lymph nodes are often first found in the groin area, which is "boubon" in Latin. This disease became associated with the term "plague" because of its widespread fatality throughout history. Bubonic plague was also known as the "Black Death" in medieval times. This is because the dried blood under the skin turns black. Although it had very severe physical side effects, it also had a very critical impact on society in Middle Age Europe. It changed the way of life for many people and constituted how we live today. It created a shortage of food, had a negative effect on art, sharpened the social classes and gave the poor a little more freedom, and induced a general pessimistic view of life, but the two biggest effects it had were on the Catholic Church and on education.

The plague caused a severe food shortage for many reasons. Farmers left their farms to avoid the plague causing not enough food production, which, in turn, caused a rise in the price of food. Ironically, some people in urban areas died of starvation, not the plague. Because of the lack of workers and the lowered population, many lands went from wheat growing to pasture land.

The Black Death had an amazing effect on the art of the period. It created a certain tone of despair that emerged distinctly in the late 1300's. One example of this is the tomb sculptures. The sarcophagus usually depicted religious scenes but the lid of the tomb more often than not was the likeness of the one entombed. Previously these likenesses would be the deceased in full health and dressed in their finest...