Analysis Of The Black Plague In Florence 1348

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Register to read the introduction… No one will enter the homes to retrieve the dead. Many people were abandoned in their beds, and could only watch from their windows as their mothers and fathers, or husband and wives fled into the streets never to return. During the night, the beccamorti, who are paid handsomely to bury the dead, carry the corpses on their backs to the nearest church. The bodies are tossed into a deep trench and covered with dirt. The trenches are left open to receive the next layer of corpses that are collected on a nightly basis. The poor of the city, who provide this service, are quickly accumulating a small fortune- but many of them become sick as well, and their new found fortune is short lived.

When I stocked up on provisions, knowing that I would not see
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Candles were available first to funeral processions, and those were limited to two per processional. Even the cost of burial in a funeral frock had risen 10 fold - there seems to be no shame in profiteering from this disastrous situation. Priests and friars, forgetting their obligation is to all citizens, went to work for the wealthy, this caused the church authorities to order that no more than six friars in each local parish. The apothecaries profited handsomely too- selling poultices of nettles, mercury and other herbs, that offered hope but no results. There seems to be no immunity. All other shops and guilds are closed, the owners either dead or having fled to the countryside for protection.

Social order has decayed. What townspeople there are left, go about the city drinking and carousing- looting through abandoned buildings with no regard to neighborhood courtesy. Some carry little flower bouquets called posies which they hold to their noses to quell the smell of rotting corpses, other carry herbs to ward off illness and they douse themselves in perfume, afraid to wash
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A knock has come upon my door, it seems that the pestilence has passed. Six months marked off in days, long and full of dread- are over at last!

A brief journey outside to survey what remains of our dear Florence brings heartache and hope. The buildings stand alone, intact but eerily silent. Word comes that death came to our citizens in the thousands. Who will populate the city, perhaps those who come to stake claim to the goods left unclaimed will become the new citizens of Florence. The lords of the great manors are dead, now the servants will be left in control - I foresee many changes in store, and the need for many new laws to establish a new order. Despite these many months of despair, I feel Florence will reemerge, stronger in its commitment to return to a powerful city state. The shift of the balance in power may well prove to be a welcome change. Only time will tell the rest of the tale, and with renewed vigor, I hope to be here to continue to record our recovery.

Nardo, D. 1999. The Black Death. San Diego, CA: Green haven Press, Inc.
Benedictow, O. J. 2004. The Black Death, 1346-1353: The Complete History. Rochester, NY: The Boydell

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