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Western Michigan University

Religion

2014

Black Death

Articles 1 - 7 of 7

Full-Text Articles in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Epilogue: A Hypothesis On The East Asian Beginnings Of The Yersinia Pestis Polytomy, Robert Hymes Jan 2014

Epilogue: A Hypothesis On The East Asian Beginnings Of The Yersinia Pestis Polytomy, Robert Hymes

The Medieval Globe

The work of Cui et al. (2013)—in both dating the polytomy that produced most existing strains of Yersinia pestis and locating its original home to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau—offers a genetically derived specific historical proposition for historians of East and Central Asia to investigate from their own sources. The present article offers the hypothesis that the polytomy manifests itself in the Mongol invasion of the Xia state in the Gansu corridor in the early thirteenth century and continues in the Mongols’ expansion into China and other parts of Eurasia. The hypothesis relies to a considerable extent on work of ...


Taking "Pandemic" Seriously: Making The Black Death Global, Monica H. Green Jan 2014

Taking "Pandemic" Seriously: Making The Black Death Global, Monica H. Green

The Medieval Globe

This essay introduces the inaugural issue of The Medieval Globe, “Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death”. It suggests that the history of the pathogen Yersinia pestis, as it has now been reconstructed by molecular biology, allows for an expanded definition of the Second Plague Pandemic. Historiography of the Black Death has hitherto focused on a limited number of vector and host species, and on Western Europe and those parts of the Islamicate world touching the Mediterranean littoral. Biological considerations suggest the value of a broadened framework, one that encompasses an enlarged range of host species and ...


The Anthropology Of Plague: Insights From Bioarcheological Analyses Of Epidemic Cemeteries, Sharon N. Dewitte Jan 2014

The Anthropology Of Plague: Insights From Bioarcheological Analyses Of Epidemic Cemeteries, Sharon N. Dewitte

The Medieval Globe

Most research on historic plague has relied on documentary evidence, but recently researchers have examined the remains of plague victims to produce a deeper understanding of the disease. Bioarcheological analysis allows the skeletal remains of epidemic victims to bear witness to the contexts of their deaths. This is important for our understanding of the experiences of the vast majority of people who lived in the past, who are not typically included in the historical record. This paper summarizes bioarcheological research on plague, primarily investigations of the Black Death in London (1349–50), emphasizing what anthropology uniquely contributes to plague studies.


Heterogeneous Immunological Landscapes And Medieval Plague: An Invitation To A New Dialogue Between Historians And Immunologists, Fabian Crespo, Matt B. Lawrenz Jan 2014

Heterogeneous Immunological Landscapes And Medieval Plague: An Invitation To A New Dialogue Between Historians And Immunologists, Fabian Crespo, Matt B. Lawrenz

The Medieval Globe

Efforts to understand the differential mortality caused by plague must account for many factors, including human immune responses. In this essay we are particularly interested in those people who were exposed to the Yersinia pestis pathogen during the Black Death, but who had differing fates—survival or death—that could depend on which individuals (once infected) were able to mount an appropriate immune response as a result of biological, environmental, and social factors. The proposed model suggests that historians of the medieval world could make a significant contribution to the study of human health, and especially the role of human ...


The Black Death And Its Consequences For The Jewish Community In Tàrrega: Lessons From History And Archeology, Anna Colet, Josep Xavier Muntané I Santiveri, Jordi Ruíz Ventura, Oriol Saula, M. Eulàlia Subirà De Galdàcano, Clara Jáuregui Jan 2014

The Black Death And Its Consequences For The Jewish Community In Tàrrega: Lessons From History And Archeology, Anna Colet, Josep Xavier Muntané I Santiveri, Jordi Ruíz Ventura, Oriol Saula, M. Eulàlia Subirà De Galdàcano, Clara Jáuregui

The Medieval Globe

In 2007, excavations in a suburb of the Catalan town of Tàrrega identified the possible location of the medieval Jewish cemetery. Subsequent excavations confirmed that multiple individuals buried in six communal graves had suffered violent deaths. The present study argues that these communal graves can be connected to a well-documented assault on the Jews of Tàrrega that occurred in 1348: long known as one of the earliest episodes of anti-Jewish violence related to the Black Death, but never before corroborated by physical remains. This study places textual sources, both Christian and Jewish, alongside the recently discovered archeological evidence of the ...


New Science And Old Sources: Why The Ottoman Experience Of Plague Matters, Nükhet Varlık Jan 2014

New Science And Old Sources: Why The Ottoman Experience Of Plague Matters, Nükhet Varlık

The Medieval Globe

Reconstructing the Ottoman plague experience is vital to understanding the larger Afro-Eurasian disease zone during the Second Pandemic. This essay deals with two different aspects of this experience. On the one hand, it discusses the historical and historiographical problems that rendered this epidemiological experience mostly invisible to previous scholars of plague. On the other, it reconstructs the empire’s plague ecologies, with particular attention to plague’s persistence, focalization, and transmission. Further, it uses this epidemiological experience to offer new insights and complicate some commonly held assumptions about plague history and its relationship to plague science.


The Black Death And The Future Of The Plague, Michelle Ziegler Jan 2014

The Black Death And The Future Of The Plague, Michelle Ziegler

The Medieval Globe

This essay summarizes what we know about the spread of Yersinia pestis today, assesses the potential risks of tomorrow, and suggests avenues for future collaboration among scientists and humanists. Plague is both a re-emerging infectious disease and a developed biological weapon, and it can be found in enzootic foci on every inhabited continent except Australia. Studies of the Black Death and successive epidemics can help us to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks (and other pandemics) because analysis of medieval plagues provides a crucial context for modern scientific discoveries and theories. These studies prevent us from stopping at easy answers ...