The Bubonic Plague also resulted in many of the local priest’s death or the abandonment of their parishes when the plague struck. The Flagellant Movement had been a direct provocation to challenge the Catholic Churches dominance. Due to many people believed that the plague was a punishment from god they began to doubt their faith and question god as to why they would be treated in such a cruel way. Many could not commit to the church anymore because of that reason and decided to leave the church. The destruction that came from the Bubonic Plague was the loss of clergymen, who had often devoted their entire lives to doing work for god and had to be replaced by less experienced men. Some problems that they faced with these less experienced men is that they were corrupt and abused their power in order to have authority over the people. During the mid-fourteenth century the Jewish massacre arose because they were accused of poisoning town wells. The pogroms had a desire to kill the Jews even in some cases they would burn their homes and murder them in really awful ways. In one occasion 900 Jews were locked up and burned alive, this showing how paranoid the people were during the plague. And the Flagellant Movement which arose because of the Europeans who wanted to get rid of their sins and believed that self-mutilation was the answer considering that the church was not helpful. Advancements in Medicine During the medieval time period in Europe medicine had not been fully developed to its potential need which shifted when the Plague hit Europe and diminished the power of the churches. According to Daniel Murrell M.D, in Western Europe the scientific theories that doctors had come up with had little to no chance to ever develop or spread. There was no assistance to the public’s health or even any education being taught.
This lead people to rarely see a doctor, but instead go to church where they sent their prayers in order to send their repentance for their sins. It was believed that diseases had been a punishment from God for all their wrong doings and in order for it to go away they thought praying was the answer. The few hospitals that they did have were not necessarily used to treat sick people but rather used for those who were in desperate need for shelter and food. Once the plague struck came the realization towards the public health needs. Europeans did not know that infections were caused by germs, so wine was used as an antiseptic to prevent any further infection. Europeans lacked hygiene in turn causing possible exposure to infections (Medieval and Renaissance Medicine). The Black Death helped to promote a medical change which laid the base towards modern medicine. According to historian Robert S. Gottfried, in Europe’s 14th century nobody was sure what was causing the plague nor did they know how to treat it, the only thing that they did believe was that the plague had been sent to them as a punishment for their sins. Many of the European doctors were accepting medical and spiritual causes for the disease. The belief that the plague had been sent by God led the Europeans to assume that the plague was meant for evil people thinking that they could not be cured (Gottfried, 49). Not knowing what had caused the plague led to to the theory that “one infected man could carry the poison to others, and infect people and places with the disease by look alone” (Horrox, 18) causing paranoia to all Europeans. Many doctors fled during the Black Death due to the lack of help they were as they came to a realization that medieval medicine was no help in curing the disease. As the church’s role started to shift from playing an important part in the European’s daily lives to something that was looked down upon as people realized that nothing was saving them as well as how the most religious people were dying. Hysteria unfolded as people came to the doctors and they were not able to provide help due to the lack of research and technology in their medicine.
The aftermath of the plague led to licensed medicine and professionalism to expand as the European’s faith was changing towards the church. The medical practices changed from hypothetical to practical as it was based off of reason and evidence done through research from past patients. Both scientists and physicians field changed during the 14th century as it brought new knowledge and transformed the sanitation/cleanliness in there towns. Due to the failure of the churches and medieval medicine it led to a change in the way doctors regulated medical practices (Lienhard, 78). After the Black Death, there was an evolution in the medical field that brought sanitation to hospitals, and medical schools that were focused on teaching practical techniques. According to Nancy G. Siraisi, “by the late thirteenth or fourteenth century, many medical practitioners possessed formal qualifications: university education in medicine, membership in a guild of medical or surgical practitioners with power to examine candidates for membership, or possession of a license to practice from a public authority” (Siraisi, 20). Conclusion The aim of this essay is to analyze the way in which the Black Death made its impact on the European people’s beliefs and how that had an affect on the Catholic Church causing a transition from medieval medicine to modern medicine. Having observed the ways in which the Black Death came to Europe and the power that the Church had before and after the Plague, as well as the history behind it, we can finally come to a reasoning as to the significance the church had over their people and the lack of medical knowledge that transformed afterwards.
As it has been revealed, the Bubonic Plague came to Europe and made its impact on humans in many ways specifically in the way the church was viewed afterwards and the shift in the medical field. As the Europeans were very supportive of their churches considering the huge influence they had over them, they began to realize that they were actually no help when it came to the Bubonic Plague thus turning to their own conclusions as to what was spreading the Black Death. People began to develop their own thoughts such as the Jews who wanted to kill the Christians, leading to a massacre of Jews. When it was proclaimed to stop the violence against them they turned their hate towards the church, which in turn lead to the Flagellant Movement. The Bubonic Plague changed the view of the churches as they used to dominate the Europeans and were now being challenged. With the churches being challenged it led to reason and evidence to overrule faith and belief, leading a change in the way medicine was being developed. On the other hand, the Black Death brought positive changes to the people as it also lead to a new way of life from medieval medicine to modern medicine. The church being the center of people’s daily lives caused people to not really believe in medicine and doctors but in god and praying. The black death brought a change towards that as people realized that the church was not helping.
The clergymen who were devoted to god began to die and people were scared because they could ultimately also die considering that god seemed to not be helping them out. In the same way, the church attempted to regain their power back and integrate themselves as the center of the daily lives of the people. But it was much too late Europeans were finding other ways to pay for their sins such as flagellation. The Bubonic Plague changed the way that people viewed the church as it became less influential in the daily lives of the people and changed the way medicine was innovated. In the end, there was a separation between state and church as people stopped putting their faith out in god’s hand and came up with their own conclusions as to what is causing the plague. They began to move into a more secular state as it was noticed that the Bubonic plague was not only killing peasants and people of lower classes but also clergymen and men of religion, forming distrust between Europeans and Church. If it were not for the tragic bubonic plague, the church may have still have remained dominant and influential in the daily lives of the Europeans as well as there would not be a need to spark a change in the medicine and technology fields.