Essay on Religious Effects From The Black Death

Submitted By dakotalw
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Pages: 9

Religious Effects from the Black Death

Dakota Walters th March 26
, 2015
Mr. Reschly The Black Plague, or Black Death, ran rampant throughout Europe starting predominantly in 1348, after reaching Europe through Asia by way of trading ships and the Silk Road. Fleas on rats that traveled on cargo ships would carry the bubonic plague with them. The disease first reached Europe in October of 1347 in Sicily, an island country south of Italy. From there the disease spread through Italy into middle Europe eventually engulfing all of Europe with the disease. The disease was high infection and ended up wiping out about two­thirds of the total population of Europe. The plague created a large amount of panic amongst those in Europe as no one could be sure as to what was causing the plague and the symptoms the plague caused. Some historians today still argue over what the Black Plague exactly was. Religion was the biggest aspect of medieval life prior to the Black Death. The plague ended up making many people turn their life in a new direction as a loss of faith occurred within the people of
Europe. The plague affected many aspects of religion such as level of faith, sects, and feelings towards other religious groups. th Religion dominated the lives of many of the people of the 14 century. Their normal days revolved around a lot of religious activities as the church held most of the power in a normal society in Medieval Europe. Everything ran through the church as it was the most powerful institution during the middle ages. Every king, queen, knight, serf, and soldier in each of the lands embraced the Catholic faith. The Catholic believed centered its power on the church, at least that’s how the church wanted it to be perceived.
Salvation, at least it was the belief at the time, came only through the church. The average person was not capable of reaching salvation on their own, but instead, only through the institution of the church. The church and the state acted as if almost the same. Whichever political authority was in control, they tried to have close relations with the church, which derived most of its power in the Pope, residing in Rome, Italy. The church, in return, would attempt to boost the sovereignty of the authority figure. As most people in a normal Medieval society could not read, write, or do anything else involving much literacy, the church gained even more control over the people’s lives. The people had to rely on the church to get there intake of faith as they were not able to read the
Holy Bible. This gave the church even more power in the lives of the people. During past centuries before the Black Plague, death was embraced as a sister and friend.
People saw it as the bridge to eternal rest. A priest would administer the Sacrament of
Extreme unction to help prepare the traveler for his journey. This shows the relationship between the church and commoners, even at sensitive times such as death. The position of the church changed when the Black Plague began ravishing through Europe, starting in Sicily in October of 1347. The Black Plague began in Sicily and made its way up from Southern Europe into
Northern Europe during late 1347 and 1348. As they had many times before, for an arsenal of different reasons, the public looked to the church when the Plague began to

take its victims. The people thought that if God had sent the plague upon the earth, than by being “good” Christians and putting all their faith into the church, they would not find harm with the plague. They were in for a rude awakening. The plague, in total, wiped out about two­thirds of Europe. The plague did not only affect commoners though, it also hit the clergy hard. The mortality rate for the clergy during the Black Plague ranged from about forty­two percent to forty­five percent. This number was higher than the mortality rate for the general population