Yes, to live in the Dark Ages was to know disease and hunger intimately, to fear the wrath of a vengeful God courtesy of His almighty Churchand to die young or on the battlefield. And yet, among those countless cold winters and violent wars fought for cruel lords, few could argue that was probably the single worst year be alive in pre 20th-century Europe. When the rats and fleas carrying Yersinia pestis surreptitiously hitched a ride down the Silk Road with merchants and soldiers, no one could have predicted the toll this taste for spices and the latest in luxury goods would have on the population of Europe. After decimating tens of millions starting in China, it raced though central Asia and northern India.
Black Death migration The plague disease, caused by Yersinia pestisis enzootic commonly present in populations of fleas carried by ground rodentsincluding marmotsin various areas including Central AsiaKurdistanWestern AsiaNorth India and Uganda. In the s, a large number of natural disasters and plagues led to widespread famine, starting inwith a deadly plague arriving soon after.
After a protracted siege, during which the Mongol army under Jani Beg was suffering from the disease, the army catapulted infected corpses over the city walls of Kaffa to infect the inhabitants. The Genoese traders fled, taking the plague by ship into Sicily and the south of Europe, whence it spread north.
European outbreak The seventh year after it began, it came to England and first began in the towns and ports joining on the seacoasts, in Dorsetshire, where, as in other counties, it made the country quite void of inhabitants so that there were almost none left alive.
But at length it came to Gloucester, yea even to Oxford and to London, and finally it spread over all England and so wasted the people that scarce the tenth person of any sort was left alive.
The plague reached Sicily in Octobercarried by twelve Genoese galleys,  and rapidly spread all over the island. Galleys from Kaffa reached Genoa and Venice in Januarybut it was the outbreak in Pisa a few weeks later that was the entry point to northern Italy.
Towards the end of January, one of the galleys expelled from Italy arrived in Marseille. The plague was somewhat less common in parts of Europe that had smaller trade relations with their neighbours, including the majority of the Basque Countryisolated parts of Belgium and the Netherlands, and isolated alpine villages throughout the continent.
The disease repeatedly wiped out the rodent carriers so that the fleas died out until a new outbreak from Central Asia repeated the process. The outbreaks have been shown to occur roughly 15 years after a warmer and wetter period in areas where plague is endemic in other species such as gerbils.
As infected rodents infected new rodents, the disease spread across the region, entering also from southern Russia. By autumnthe plague reached Alexandria in Egypt, through the port's trade with Constantinopleand ports on the Black Sea.
Duringthe disease travelled eastward to Gazaand north along the eastern coast to cities in LebanonSyria and Palestineincluding AshkelonAcreJerusalemSidonDamascusHomsand Aleppo.
In —, the disease reached Antioch. The city's residents fled to the north, but most of them ended up dying during the journey. During the same year, records show the city of Mawsil Mosul suffered a massive epidemic, and the city of Baghdad experienced a second round of the disease.
Signs and symptoms A hand showing how acral gangrene of the fingers due to bubonic plague causes the skin and flesh to die and turn black An inguinal bubo on the upper thigh of a person infected with bubonic plague. Swollen lymph glands buboes often occur in the neck, armpit and groin inguinal regions of plague victims.
Contemporary accounts of the plague are often varied or imprecise. The most commonly noted symptom was the appearance of buboes or gavocciolos in the groin, the neck and armpits, which oozed pus and bled when opened.
In men and women alike it first betrayed itself by the emergence of certain tumours in the groin or armpits, some of which grew as large as a common apple, others as an egg From the two said parts of the body this deadly gavocciolo soon began to propagate and spread itself in all directions indifferently; after which the form of the malady began to change, black spots or livid making their appearance in many cases on the arm or the thigh or elsewhere, now few and large, now minute and numerous.
As the gavocciolo had been and still was an infallible token of approaching death, such also were these spots on whomsoever they showed themselves.
Most victims died two to seven days after initial infection. Freckle-like spots and rashes,  which could have been caused by flea-biteswere identified as another potential sign of the plague. Some accounts, like that of Lodewijk Heyligenwhose master the Cardinal Colonna died of the plague innoted a distinct form of the disease that infected the lungs and led to respiratory problems  and is identified with pneumonic plague.
It is said that the plague takes three forms. In the first people suffer an infection of the lungs, which leads to breathing difficulties.
Whoever has this corruption or contamination to any extent cannot escape but will die within two days. This species of flea is the primary vector for the transmission of Yersinia pestisthe organism responsible for bubonic plague in most plague epidemics.
Both male and female fleas feed on blood and can transmit the infection.History of Epidemics and Plagues (October ) Introduction. Definitions. Types of Epidemics. (hence the name Black Death which was given in the s). Compared to the Plague of the Middle Ages with its eight to thirteen million dead globally per year, this may have been the most lethal recorded epidemic in human history.
Introduction to the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages is a term often used synonymously with the Middle Ages. It refers to the period of time between the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the. The Black Death, also known as the Great Plague, the Black Plague, or simply the Plague, was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe from to The bacterium Yersinia pestis, which results in several forms of plague, is believed to have been the cause.
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The Black Death By Giovanni Boccaccio - October , international trade was burdened with a deadly disease. Sailors were either dead, or on the brink of dying as 12 Genoese ships docked in Messina after a horrid journey through the Black Sea (barnweddingvt.com).
This in turn set up the worst of the Middle Ages: the Black Death.
The Coming of the Plague. The Black Death, also known as Bubonic plague, appears to have arisen in Central Asia in the early 's. Popular uprisings. Peasant and urban worker revolts were a sign of the times in the 's and 's for two main reasons.
First of all the.