Topic: World History / Medieval Era

 
Daily Life during the Black Death
Joseph P. Byrne
978-0-31303-854-9

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Joseph P. Byrne
ADD COPY 2009 ABC-CLIO

Daily Life during the Black Death

Joseph P. Byrne Joseph P. Byrne


August 2006

Greenwood

Series: The Greenwood Press Daily Life Through History Series

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Pages
Volumes
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Hardcover
344
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6 1/8x9 1/4
 
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eISBN
978-0-313-33297-5
978-0-313-03854-9
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$49.95

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Daily life during the Black Death was anything but normal. When plague hit a community, every aspect of life was turned upside down.

Daily life during the Black Death was anything but normal. When plague hit a community, every aspect of life was turned upside down, from relations within families to its social, political, and economic stucture. Theaters emptied, graveyards filled, and the streets were ruled by the terrible corpse-bearers whose wagons of death rumbled day and night.

Daily life during the Black Death was anything but normal. During the three and a half centuries that constituted the Second Pandemic of Bubonic Plague, from 1348 to 1722, Europeans were regularly assaulted by epidemics that mowed them down like a reaper's scythe. When plague hit a community, every aspect of life was turned upside down, from relations within families to its social, political and economic structure. Theaters emptied, graveyards filled, and the streets were ruled by terrible corpse-bearers whose wagons of death rumbled night and day. Plague time elicited the most heroic and inhuman behavior imaginable. And yet Western Civilization survived to undergo the Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific Revolution, and early Enlightenment.

In Daily Life during the Black Death Joseph Byrne opens with an outline of the course of the Second Pandemic, the causes and nature of bubonic plague, and the recent revisionist view of what the Black Death really was. He presents the phenomenon of plague thematically by focusing on the places people lived and worked and confronted their horrors: the home, the church and cemetary, the village, the pest houses, the streets and roads. He leads readers to the medical school classroom where the false theories of plague were taught, through the careers of doctors who futiley treated victims, to the council chambers of city hall where civic leaders agonized over ways to prevent and then treat the pestilence. He discusses the medicines, prayers, literature, special clothing, art, burial practices, and crime that plague spawned. Byrne draws vivid examples from across both Europe and the period, and presents the words of witnesses and victims themselves wherever possible. He ends with a close discussion of the plague at Marseille (1720-22), the last major plague in northern Europe, and the research breakthroughs at the end of the nineteenth century that finally defeated bubonic plague.
Chronology
The Black Death: 1347-1730
At Medical School
At the Doctor's Office
At Home with the Plague
At the Churh and Churchyard
In the BIshop's Palace and Monastery
At the Pest House
At City Hall
On the Steets and Roads of Europe
At the Booksellers and the Theatre
In the Village and on the Manor
In the Medieval Muslim World
The Plague's Last Stand in Europe
Bibliography
Index
Reviews
"Daily Life During the Black Death provides a comprehensive introduction to many of the subjects surrounding the study of premodern epidemics. In his opening introduction Joseph Byrne offers a concise outline of the issues confronting historians of the plague and one of the clearest summations of the debate among scholars about whether the Black Death was in fact bubonic plague or some other disease, such as anthrax."—Sixteenth Century Journal

"Readers who come to Byrne's book with a vague notion of some bad sickness spreading across Europe during the Middle Ages will put it down with a full awareness of the horror of the flesh-destroying pestilence of the Plague, or King Death....Both books expertly portray the lives of peoples under enormous strain to maintain a semblance of the normalcy implied by the term daily life. Each volume comes with a full complement of strong scholarship, including extensive notes, bibliographies, chronologies, illustrations, and excerpts from original sources. The prose and general composition suggest a laudable and consistently high level of editing. These volumes are both recommended for teens with strong reading skills and a background in history. (Reviewed with Daily Life of Native Americans from Post-Columbian through Nineteenth-Century America)"—School Library Journal

"Known as the Black Death, the bubonic plague pandemic that ravaged the Medieval Muslim and Christian worlds affected individuals at all levels of society. This text for middle school and high school students and general readers provides an overview of daily life during these perilous times. Twelve chapters look at the impact of the plague on people's activities in such settings as the doctor's office, the home, city hall, and on the roads."—SciTech Book News