The Italian poet Giovanni Boccaccio, describing the horrible reality of Black Death, wrote: “In men and women alike at the beginning of the malady, certain swellings, either on the groin or under the armpits…waxed to the bigness of a common apple, others to the size of an egg, some more and some less, and these the vulgar named plague-boils.
“Blood and pus seeped out of these strange swellings, which were followed by a host of other unpleasant symptoms–fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, terrible aches and pains–and then, in short order, death.
How contagious is the disease? “The mere touching of the clothes,” wrote Boccaccio, “appeared to itself to communicate the malady to the toucher.” Efficiency? “People who were perfectly healthy when they went to bed at night could be dead by morning,” was his answer.
Understanding the Black Death
Black Death or plague, is spread by a bacillus called Yersina pestis. French biologist Alexandre Yersin discovered this germ at the end of the 19th century. Bacillus travels from person to person pneumonically, or through the air, as well as through the bite of infected fleas and rats.
In the 14th century, there was no rational explanation how the Black Death was transmitted from one patient to another.
One doctor, averred, “instantaneous death occurs when the aerial spirit escaping from the eyes of the sick man strikes the healthy person standing near and looking at the sick.” Prevention or treatment of the disease was unheard of then.
Doctors depended on crude methods such as bloodletting, boil-lancing, burning aromatic herbs and bathing in rosewater or vinegar.
In a panic, doctors made alibis not to treat patients; priests attended trivial matters than administered last rites. Stores closed doors. People in cities flock to the countryside, but the disease virtually followed them, affecting alike people, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, and cows. As a consequence, the Black Death heralded the European wool shortage because of the huge number of sheep that have died. In an attempt to free themselves from the malady, some did the unthinkable of abandoning even their dying loved ones. “Thus doing,” Boccaccio wrote, “each thought to secure immunity for himself.”
Europe in the throes of the Black Death pandemic
The Black Death Plague hit Europe during the 14th century, killing millions of people over 400 years, according to Wikipedia. Also known as Bubonic Plague, the Black Death was classified as one of the deadliest pandemics in history. It killed up to 200 million people in Europe. The pandemic which flower around the year 1347 to 1353 wiped out so many lives over the following 4 centuries, it was believed.
The horrifying years that have held Europe in darkness because of the Black Death pestilence is exactly the same number of years that the black rats have suffered, carrying the heavy yoke of blame as the scourge for spreading the Black Death bacteria. Poor dumb black rats, they carry the yoke of blame for centuries unceasingly because of wrong notion made long time ago that they were the culprit.
Now, it’s time for them to rest. It’s time for them to take the load off their shoulders and heave a sigh of relief. It’s time for them to celebrate, to erase the brand Black Death bacteria carrier.
Global spread of Black Death or Plague is now blamed on Great or Giant Gerbils
The black rats have to virtually thank modern scientists for shifting the blame for the “medieval pandemic responsible for millions of deaths to a new furry menace: giant gerbils from Asia.”
A rodent, the size of a squirrel, not black rats, ushered in the 14th century Black Death over from Asia in “intermittent waves, killing millions of people over 400 years,” a recent study said, according to Wikipedia.
In connection with this findings, authors reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: “Climate-driven outbreaks of Yersinia pestis in Asian rodent plague reservoirs are significantly associated with new waves of plague arriving into Europe through its maritime trade network with Asia.”
Likewise, the University of Oslo researchers, in collaboration with Swiss government scientists, say a “pulse of strains arrived sporadically from Asia.” They said that during irregular warm periods Yersinia pestis bacterium was likely transported over the Silk Road through the fleas on the giant gerbils.
The great gerbil or giant gerbil, is native to Central Asia.
The fleas could have then transmitted the disease to humans.
Great gerbils, which are found in many parts of Central Asia, can grow to adult sizes of about 15-20 centimetres in body length.
The researchers say the findings provide “an alternative explanation” about how the pandemic, which grew worse around 1347-1353, erased thousands of lives over 4 centuries that followed.
Scientists are contesting the theory
Black rats, as believed in the past, were the culprit, and that the pandemic was introduced in Europe but once. A theory is held that a community of rats persisted in Europe during the era of the Black Death, but said theory is now being questioned by the Oslo and Swiss scientists.
University of Oslo biosciences Prof. Nils Christian Stenseth told BBC News that, if scientists from the University of California are correct, “we’ll have to rewrite that part of history.” This obviously means delete parts that say black rats caused the spread of Black Death, and write instead great gerbils or giant gerbils.
The Black Death, also known as the bubonic plague, was one of the deadliest pandemics in history. It was believed to have killed up to 200 million people in Europe. The pestilence seldom occurs today, however random “cases of the plague still erupts in Africa, Asia, the Americas and parts of the former Soviet Union, with the World Health Organization reporting 783 cases worldwide in 2013, including 126 deaths.”
Graduated BSEic teaching course; Teach public schools elementary grades 1964-1974; Municipal Local Government Operations Officers IV, DILG, Oct. 4, 1974- jan, 1, 2002 (retired); Writing online 2003 to present.