As part of my final edit for “Shaping Fate” I’m doing a wee bit more research on the Black Death to fine tune my manuscript. I’ve been told repeatedly that more little details will help really make everything come together.
So for your enjoyment, er, something, I’ve pulled together some fun facts about the plague.
1. Besides the bubonic plague (the most common), there were actually two other strains going around Europe during the Black Death. One was pneumoic, this was spread by breathing and spread much more quickly and was more lethal than the bubonic variety. The third form was the septicemic version and attacked the blood system.
2. During the Black Death in the 1300′s, the plague claimed approximately 50 million people in Europe, Asia and Africa.
3. Because they couldn’t figure out what was causing the spread of the disease, several sources were blamed, including an angry God, astrological sources and the Jewish community (even though they were dying just as quickly as everybody else).
4. Some common ‘cures’ for the plague included, washing oneself with vinegar and rose water, cutting open the sores or ‘buboes’ and applying a mixture of tree resin, white lily root and dried human excrement to the cuts. (Can’t imagine why that didn’t work.)
5. The good news about the Black Death, (yes, there is good news) is this: Without it, we most likely never would have had the Renaissance. During the plague, people and commerce died, but eventually, a new middle class was born. Having descended from people who knew nothing but death and limited means, this new generation wanted more. They also had more free time to pursue interests unrelated to their trades. These interests included reading for pleasure or learning how to play a musical instrument. They spent their money on things like larger, more lavish homes, exotic foods and nice clothes. It was these wants and their willingness to spend money on them, that led to the ultimate economic stimulus. Before too long, cities picked back up and voila! The Renaissance was born.
For more info on The Black Death, here are a few resources.