16 Dreadful Details about the Black Plague
16 Dreadful Details about the Black Plague

16 Dreadful Details about the Black Plague

Shaina Lucas - September 18, 2018

16 Dreadful Details about the Black Plague
Bubonic Plague Drawing. Fact Retriever.

14. Music And The Arts Reflected The Misery

Before the Black Death, life was happy, abundant, and great all around. Think of it as the Roaring 20s before the Great Depression. Music was plentiful and happy, and the art was beautiful. Artists were respected professionals who often interacted with princes and the Pope. During the Black Death, things changed for the worst. Music became rare and grim. People would hear the grim church bells chime day and night constantly due to increasing deaths. Eventually, people had enough of the bells, and they stopped chiming with every death since the toll was too great.

Paintings took a darker turn during this period. They were overflowed with tortured souls, death, dying, fire, brimstone, and all around darkness. Thousands of craftsmen, artists, painters, writers, and art patrons perished from the plague. Many artists began painting the Grim Reaper, Hell, and Satan due to the insecurity of survival. Others stopped creating art altogether because they believed it was hopeless to create beauty in a world full of death and destruction. So not only was the world a mess, music, and art didn’t help to ease the hopelessness.

16 Dreadful Details about the Black Plague
Richard II meeting the rebels during the Peasants Revolt of 1381, Photo: Black Death Info

15. The Plague Created Peasant Uprisings and Urban Worker Revolts

When the plague hit, it created a massive labor shortage, especially in cities where 70% of the population died. Workers started demanding higher wages which is something nobles and guild masters strongly opposed. The Black Death also severely depleted the tax base. This caused kings to raise taxes drastically to meet expenses coming from the warfare of the time, mainly the Hundred Year’s War between France and England. Thwarted demands and high taxes caused revolts among the people.

These uprisings would take authorities by surprise who were already dealing with death and issues of fornication and playing the blame game. Authorities would either be killed or flee to the safety of local castles and towns. Rebellions would sweep like wildfire but eventually would be squashed due to poor planning. Rebels were poorly armed, untrained, and highly unorganized. Authorities would gather forces and leave more death in their wake with massacres and executions as a warning to quell other rebellions.

16 Dreadful Details about the Black Plague
Medieval animal drawing. The Medieval Bestiary.

16. The Black Death Didn’t Affect Just Humans

We know that rats and humans were affected by the plague, but were other animals immune? Nope. Chickens, sheep, pig, and cows were all susceptible to the plague. At one point, sheep were dying off so quickly that it was dubbed the “European Wool Shortage.” Funnily enough, a ship from England carrying wool made it’s way to Bergen, Norway in 1349. The ship carried the plague with it and made its way throughout Norway. Within days the ship’s crew was dead.

Eating the dead animals probably wasn’t a good idea either. Even with cooking, you could still become infected with the plague. Other wild animals would often eat the dead ones that were waiting to be buried, and they too would contract the plague since it could be passed through blood. The massive death toll of animals created a shortage of food for people, so if they didn’t die of pestilence, they could die of starvation or some other disease/infection.

 

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Butler, Chris. “The Black Death and its Impact (c.1300-1450).” Flow of History.

Famous People Who Died of Bubonic Plague.” Ranker.

Lehnardt, Karin. “41 Catastrophic Facts about the Black Death.” Fact Retriever.

Mulch, Millard. “The Effect of Black Death on Art and Artists in the Medieval Period.” History of Painters.

Perry, Kellen. “Orgies, Homosexuality, and Prostitutes: What Sex Was Like During the Black Death.”Ranker.

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