A groundbreaking history of how the Black Death unleashed revolutionary change across the medieval world and ushered in the modern age In 1346, a catastrophic plague beset Europe and its neighbours. The Black Death was a human tragedy that abruptly halved entire populations and caused untold suffering, but it also brought about a cultural and economic renewal on a scale never before witnessed. The World the Plague Made is a panoramic history of how the bubonic plague revolutionized labour, trade, and technology and set the stage for Europe’s global expansion. James Belich takes readers across centuries and continents to shed new light on one of history’s greatest paradoxes. Why did Europe’s dramatic rise begin in the wake of the Black Death? Belich shows how plague doubled the per capita endowment of everything even as it decimated the population. Many more people had disposable incomes. Demand grew for silks, sugar, spices, furs, gold, and slaves. Europe expanded to satisfy that demand—and plague provided the means. Labour scarcity drove more use of waterpower, wind power, and gunpowder. Technologies like water-powered blast furnaces, heavily gunned galleons, and musketry were fast-tracked by plague. A new “crew culture” of “disposable males” emerged to man the guns and galleons. Setting the rise of Western Europe in global context, Belich demonstrates how the mighty empires of the Middle East and Russia also flourished after the plague, and how European expansion was deeply entangled with the Chinese and other peoples throughout the world.
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A series of natural disasters in the Orient during the fourteenth century brought about the most devastating period of death and destruction in European history. The epidemic killed one-third of Europe's people over a period of three years, and the resulting social and economic upheaval was on a scale unparalleled in all of recorded history. Synthesizing the records of contemporary chroniclers and the work of later historians, Philip Ziegler offers a critically acclaimed overview of this crucial epoch in a single masterly volume. The Black Death vividly and comprehensively brings to light the full horror of this uniquely catastrophic event that hastened the disintegration of an age.
Completely revised and updated for this new edition, Benedictow's acclaimed study remains the definitive account of the Black Death and its impact on history. The first edition of The Black Death collected and analysed the many local studies on the disease published in a variety of languages and examined a range of scholarly papers. The medical and epidemiological characteristics of the disease, its geographical origin, its spread across Asia Minor, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and the mortality in the countries and regions for which there are satisfactory studies, are clearly presented and thoroughly discussed. The pattern, pace and seasonality of spread revealed through close scrutiny of these studies exactly reflect current medical work and standard studies on the epidemiology of bubonic plague. Benedictow's findings made it clear that the true mortality rate was far higher than had been previously thought. In the light of those findings, the discussion in the last part of the book showing the Black Death as a turning point in history takes on a new significance. OLE J. BENEDICTOW is Professor of History at the University of Oslo.
Looking beyond the view of the plague as unmitigated catastrophe, Herlihy finds evidence for its role in the advent of new population controls, the establishment of universities, the spread of Christianity, the dissemination of vernacular cultures, and even the rise of nationalism. This book, which displays a distinguished scholar's masterly synthesis of diverse materials, reveals that the Black Death can be considered the cornerstone of the transformation of Europe.
A fascinating work of detective history, The Black Death traces the causes and far-reaching consequences of this infamous outbreak of plague that spread across the continent of Europe from 1347 to 1351. Drawing on sources as diverse as monastic manuscripts and dendrochronological studies (which measure growth rings in trees), historian Robert S. Gottfried demonstrates how a bacillus transmitted by rat fleas brought on an ecological reign of terror -- killing one European in three, wiping out entire villages and towns, and rocking the foundation of medieval society and civilization.
This engrossing book provides a comprehensive history of the medical response to the Black Death. John Aberth has translated plague treatises that illustrate the human dimensions of the horrific scourge, including doctors’ personal anecdotes as they desperately struggled to understand a deadly new disease.
In the middle of the fourteenth century a devastating epidemic of plague, commonly known in European history as the "Black Death," swept over the Eurasian continent. This book, based principally on Arabic sources, establishes the means of transmission and the chronology of the plague pandemic's advance through the Middle East. The prolonged reduction of population that began with the Black Death was of fundamental significance to the social and economic history of Egypt and Syria in the later Middle Ages. The epidemic's spread suggests a remarkable destruction of human life in the fourteenth century, and a series of plague recurrences appreciably slowed population growth in the following century and a half, impoverishing Middle Eastern society. Social reactions illustrate the strength of traditional Muslim values and practices, social organization, and cohesiveness. The sudden demographic decline brought about long-term as well as immediate economic adjustments in land values, salaries, and commerce. Michael W. Dols is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, Hayward. Originally published in 1977. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
The Black Death was the fourteenth century's equivalent of a nuclear war. It wiped out one-third of Europe's population, taking millions of lives. The author draws together the most recent scientific discoveries and historical research to pierce the mist and tell the story of the Black Death as a gripping, intimate narrative.
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This encyclopedia provides 300 interdisciplinary, cross-referenced entries that document the effect of the plague on Western society across the four centuries of the second plague pandemic, balancing medical history and technical matters with historical, cultural, social, and political factors. • 300 A–Z interdisciplinary entries on medical matters and historical issues • Each entry includes up-to-date resources for further research