The Diary of Samuel Pepys during the Bubonic Plague in the 17th Century

He wrote of everything from daily death counts to quack remedies. Introduction In early April, writer Jen Miller urged New York Times readers to start a coronavirus diary. “Who knows,” she wrote, “maybe one day your diary will provide a valuable window into this period.” During a different pandemic, one 17th-century British naval administrator named[…]

How the Wealthy Reacted to the Medieval Bubonic Plague

The wealthy fled to the countryside, while the urban poor were forced to work on the front lines. Introduction Following the 1348 Black Death in Italy, the Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio wrote a collection of 100 novellas titled, “The Decameron.” These stories, though fictional, give us a window into medieval life during the Black Death[…]

The Medieval Spread of the Bubonic Plague

The plague, named the Black Death by later historians, had a devastating effect on the European population in the 14th century. Introduction The diffusion of crops and pathogens, including epidemic diseases like the bubonic plague, often occured along trade routes. The bubonic plague – named the Black Death by later historians – was caused by[…]

The Black Death and Early Public Health Measures in the Middle Ages

With no accurate knowledge about the disease and the way it was spread, what could be done in the face of such horror? ‘Cito, Longe, Tarde.’ Hippocrates and Galen are colossal figures in the history of medicine, renowned for their wise and innovative advice on medical matters. When it came to plague, they offered similar guidance, rendered[…]

Plagues of the Past

Many diseases have affected the outcomes of battles or the political leanings of a country, but few have had consequences on society that continue to be felt in the present age. The plague is one such disease and its most famous pandemic – the Black Death – has changed the history, culture, and science of[…]