Originating out of East, the Black Death arrived in to the shores of Italy during the spring of 1348 and unleashed death rampage all through the Europe unprecedented in history records. By the time till the epidemic spread three years later, it was estimated around 25% to 50% of the European population has fallen victim to it. The epidemic arrived itself in three forms. The most common obtained its name from swellings which appeared on the neck of victims, groins or armpits.
The tumours ranged in size from egg to the size of apple. Even though some survived the sore suffering, the manifestation of such lesions generally signalled that the victim would only have the life expectation of a week. Infected fleas which attached to rats and then spreading among humans were of bubonic type of plague. The second variation was known as pneumonic plague that attacked the respiratory system and was spread by simply breathing the exhaled air of the victim. The life expectancy was anticipated to be around one or two days only. Lastly, the septicemic version of disease attacked the blood system. With no defence and understanding regarding the root cause of diseases the pestilence, men, women and children fell in the onslaught and were ultimately devastated.
The symptoms were not in East, where a flow of blood from the nose was the simple sign of unavoidable death however, it started both in men and women with definite swellings in groin or under the armpit. These swellings grew in size of small egg or apple and were improperly known as tumours. Within the short time period these tumours spread from two parts namely all over the body. As soon as this symptom changed and black or purple spots appeared on the arms or thighs or any other body parts, at times there were few large ones and sometimes many little ones. These were the spots of death, just when the original tumour had been or still remained.
Neither any doctor’s advice nor any medicine could overcome the diseases. A large number of ill-informed men and women set up as the doctors along with those that were trained. Moreover, either the disease was such that it did not had any kind of treatment or the doctors were very much ignorant which hardly knew the reason behind the cause of such epidemic and consequently they were unable to administer any kind of sufficient remedy. Only few recovered from the disease but majority who were infected died inside three days of the appearance of tumours while most of them died without any kind of symptoms or fever.
The violence of the disease was in such a manner that sick communicated it to healthy that came near them similar to where fire catches to anything dry or oily near it. To speak with or go near the sick, it bought infection and commonly death to living and moreover to touch the clothes or anything which the sick had touched or worn gave the disease to those that touches it.
Some believed that sensible living and avoidance of all indulgence would help in staying away from epidemic. They all formed small communities, living completely separate from the others. They closed themselves into the houses where there were no infected people. They eat the finest food and drank the best wine very moderately and avoided all kinds of access to outside contact. They did not allow any news or discussion regarding the death and sickness. They passed time in music and pleasures. While others simply thought opposite. They believed that the definite cure from plague was to drink and celebrate, go singing and amuse themselves by satisfying their appetite, laughing and joking whatever had happened. They put their words in practice, spent their days and night from tavern to tavern, drinking immoderately or went to other house of peoples and did those things that pleased them. They could easily do this because everyone felt doomed and had abandoned the property since majority of the houses became common property. Any stranger that went in used the property as if they owned it and with this kind of behaviour they avoided sick as much as possible.
Under such sufferings and misery within the city, the authority of human and divine laws simply disappeared like other men. All the ministers, executors of laws were all dead or sick or shut themselves in house with their family where no duties were carried out. Everyman was able to do what pleased them. Majority of them avoided the course of life in the halfway between the two that is described above. They hardly restricted their victuals and did not allowed themselves to be drunken and dissolute like the others however satisfied their appetite judiciously. They hardly shut themselves into the house and roamed about, carrying flowers, scented herbs or perfumes in their hands. They believed that this is the most excellent way of keeping the brain in comfort for the entire air that was infected with the smell of deceased bodies, sick persons and medicines.
The plight of lower and middle class peoples was even pitiful to hold. Majority of them remained inside the either through poverty or in the anticipation of safety and fell sick by thousands. As they did not receive any care and attention, majority of them died. Several of them ended their life in streets both at night or day while other died in houses were only known to have died due to the smell of neighbours decaying body. Dead bodies occupied each corner. Such was the extent of corpses that they were brought to churches every day and each hour. As a result, there was no space to give these bodies burial in their family grave. Even though the cemeteries were full they were forced to dig large trenches where hundreds of bodies were buried until the entire trench was full.
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