the black death and the transformation of the west pdf

The Black Death And The Transformation Of The West Pdf

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Explanations have tended to invoke the effects of climate change increasing aridity , political transformations, and religious conversion.

Introduction: The Black Death in History

Cohn, Jr, L. Black Death and AIDS are global pandemics that have captured the popular imagination, both attracting extravagant hypotheses to account for their origins and geographical distributions. Medical scientists have recently attempted to connect these two great pandemics. Some argue that the Black Death of —52 was responsible for a genetic shift that conferred a degree of resistance to HIV 1 infection, that this shift was almost unique to European descendents, and that it mirrors the intensity of Black Death mortality within Europe.

Such a hypothesis is not supported by the historical evidence: the Black Death did not strike Europe alone but spread from the east, devastating regions such as China, North Africa, and the Middle East as much or even more than Europe. Further, in Europe its levels of mortality do not correspond with the geographic distribution of the proportion of descendents with this CCR5 gene. If anything, the gradient of Black Death mortality sloped in the opposite direction from that of present-day genotypes: the heaviest casualties were in the Mediterranean, the very regions whose descendents account for the lowest incidences of the HIV-1 resistant allele.

We argue that closer collaboration between historians and scientists is needed to understand the selective pressures on genetic mutation, and the possible triggers for changes in genetic spatial frequencies over the past millennia.

This requires care and respect for each other's methods of evaluating data. In an attempt to explain these findings, it has been suggested that the Black Death may have caused the genetic mutation that conferred protection to Europeans against AIDS.

A later study showed the same pattern from 71 locations, apparently with distinctions for eastern Europe and northern Asia, but did not tabulate gene frequencies. More recently, the genetic mutation has been attributed to smallpox, 2, 6 or to a haemorrhagic disease such as Ebola, with the suggestion that the mutation did not result from a single disease strike, but from recurrence over several centuries. Making such connections between epidemics of the past and present, and in particular the Black Death's spread, its character, and its possible association with a specifically European genotype around the fourteenth century, demands careful scrutiny of the historical evidence.

In hypothesizing that the Black Death of was the crucial epidemic that caused the genetic shift, Stephens et al. But bubonic plague is not a temperate or European disease; rather it flourishes in the subtropics. As a number of historians and biologists now argue, the epidemiology of medieval and recent waves of plague had little in common. Their modes and rates of transmission, cycles of infection, seasonality, and relationship between host and pathogen were strikingly different.

In short, Y. For Y. After the pathogen has decimated the rodent population, hungry rat fleas seek other warm-blooded creatures to satisfy their thirst for blood and may turn to man. The transmission is hardly efficient as diseases go. Further, Y. Moreover, early in the twentieth century, public health workers were able to predict the outbreak of plague in India through its correspondence with the fertility cycle of rat fleas primarily X.

It could strike and peak at any time of year. Yet in Mediterranean areas such as Florence, Rome, Bologna, Barcelona and parts of southern France from the mid-fourteenth to the early eighteenth century, the Black Death consistently reached its highest mortality rates in mid-summer, at the warmest and driest time of the year, when the fertility cycle of the rat flea both X.

Because of its complex mechanism of transmission, Y. The Manchurian plagues of and are the only ones to have reached epidemic proportions, and neither killed more than 0.

There is little evidence to suggest that Y. The worst incidents of this plague were at the beginning of the twentieth century in ports such as Glasgow, Hamburg and Lisbon. Despite great fears that the Black Death had returned, none of these cities lost more than a hundred people.

Descriptions of diseases, with boils that first struck rats and then spread to humans, fill chronicles and travel reports back to at least the fourteenth century in India, and are widespread in the reports of Western doctors in China in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Yet no one to date has uncovered a contemporary source from medieval or early modern Europe that describes a disease of buboes preceded or accompanied by the death of rats or any other rodent.

Based on data from Stephens et al. The Black Death arose outside Europe, and certainly devastated non-European populations as much if not more than European ones. Descriptions of buboes, numbers killed, and mass destruction from Egypt across the Steppes to present-day Uzbekistan, led a historian of plague in the Middle East to surmise that the Black Death and its successive strikes in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries devastated northern Africa and Asia Minor more severely than Europe.

Those scientists who believe that the Black Death was Y. Although plague reached Norway and Sweden, 29—32 no evidence textual, archaeological, or from changes in cultivation shows the plague invading Finland until , and thereafter it returned only four times, 29 compared with thirty or more strikes for individual towns across much of Italy.

There is good evidence, for example, to suggest that the plague did not strike the textile town of Douai in northern France until , and through the later Middle Ages it killed fewer in the Low Countries and especially Holland than in most other places in Europe. On the other hand, narrative sources and quantitative analysis show that the plague hit the south of Europe hardest. Towns such as Trapani in Sicily were completely deserted after , and from tax and burial records, Tuscany lost the majority of its population in alone.

Finally, Novembre, Galvani and Slatkin 2, 6 have asserted that smallpox was the disease that provoked Europe's genetic shift, and maintained its near-unique selective advantage in resisting HIV. But like others who have failed to review the global history of diseases, they neglect the fact that smallpox originated outside Europe, and that there is no evidence that Europe suffered more from it than other parts of the world in medieval, early modern or modern history.

Quite the contrary, the New World from the sixteenth century on when Galvani and Slatkin assume that smallpox was exerting its selective pressure on European populations 6 suffered far more. They must be clear and confident of their respective data, and when seeking geographic and demographic associations must be able to define with precision the disease genotypes and phenotypes at different times and places.

Molecular methods may be powerful, if properly used. They can be applied to past generations as well as to present-day populations. There are, of course, many examples of one disease conferring protection or vulnerability to another. Sickle-cell anaemia and malaria is a classical instance of two diseases sharing the same geographical distribution, leading to hypotheses to explain their coincidence.

Considering Africa as a single zone, as is presently the case with CCR5 studies, constitutes a blunt instrument as crude, if not more so, as considering Europe as a single homogenous genetic entity. The exciting correlations discovered by geneticists and epidemiologists between present-day genotypes in human populations, and varying levels of resistance to diseases, now demand a new cooperation between scientists and historians.

Together, they can explore the connections between events, environment, biological change, and possible selective pressures that have occurred in the historical and not just the pre-historical past. While the methods and data used by these scholarly communities differ, care and respect for each other's analytical traditions, methods of evaluating data, and sources cannot be neglected by either. Google Scholar. Google Preview. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.

It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Search Menu. Skip Nav Destination Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents Abstract. Historical evidence.

Yersinia pestis in Europe. A historical and scientific synthesis. Article Navigation. Cohn, Jr , S. Cohn, Jr. Address correspondence to Professor S. Oxford Academic. Cite Cite S. Select Format Select format. Permissions Icon Permissions. Abstract Black Death and AIDS are global pandemics that have captured the popular imagination, both attracting extravagant hypotheses to account for their origins and geographical distributions.

Figure 1. Open in new tab Download slide. Google Scholar Crossref. Search ADS. Absence of Yersinia pestis -specific DNA in human teeth from five European excavations of putative plague victims.

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Inverse relationship between gastric colonization of Helicobacter pylori and diarrheal illnesses in children: results of a population-based cross-sectional study. Genetic signatures of strong recent positive selection at the lactase gene. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals. Issue Section:. Download all slides.

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By David Herlihy. Edited by Samuel K. Cohn, Jr. Harvard Univ. As a teacher, the Brown University historian David Herlihy was a model medievalist, an unassuming man adept at unraveling technical details of demography and society, and equally able to provoke students with the big questions. His last and posthumous work he died in , though brief, is a splendid memorial.

It is widely thought to have been an outbreak of plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, an argument supported by The Black Death of was one of the great and possibly understated event in Western History. The second and largest outbreak was the medieval Black Death, the subject of this book. Author: American Historical Association. I found that the professor in the course, in fact, used significant material from Zeigler's work. The Black Death gives the reader a collection of primary sources written by various authors detailing everything to do with the plague. A fascinating work of detective history, The Black Death traces the causes and far-reaching consequences of this infamous outbreak of plague that spread across the continent of Europe from to

Consequences of the Black Death

Institution Western Illinois University. Alma mater University of Colorado, Boulder. These review boards are quickly getting filled by a vocal group who appear to feel their sacred cows… Show Full Review This action will open a modal dialog. Not sure where the blame should b… Show Full Review This action will open a modal dialog. This is a survey course, Prof McNabb painting on a very broad canvas all aspects of renaissance life, politics to art and then some.

The Black Death of the fourteenth caused massive devastation on three continents, and in a sixty year period from to it killed over a million people each year.

Tags: The Black Death: A Personal History by John Hatcher Free download, epub, docs, New York Times, ppt, audio books, Bloomberg, NYT, books to read, good books to read, cheap books, good books, online books, books online, bookreviews, read books online, books to read online, online library, greatbooks to read, best books to read, top books to read The Black Death: A Personal History by John Hatcher books to read online. Search this site. In this fresh approach to the history of the Black Death, John Hatcher, a world-renowned scholar of the Middle Ages, recreates everyday life in a mid-fourteenth century rural English village.

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The Global Impact of the Black Death


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