The disease that spread through the larger part of Europe and northeastern parts of Africa was one of the worst calamities that have ever happened to the world. Different authors from different backgrounds recorded the devastation at different times; from the 14th to the 16th century, but the suffering was the same worldwide. As recorded, different leaders made different decisions about the disease and it led to wars and alliances among different nations. But the most outstanding factor was that religion played a critical role in directing the wind of revolutions and historical change.
Clarity on how the disease evolved and how it spread is blurred by the fact that there was no medical or technological advancement to dissect the phenomenon. All that is written in the books are the devastations and the different preventive and curative measures that political and religious took to save themselves. In France, it was suspected that an astrological phenomenon that had brightened the sky was the cause of the disease. Later on, rumors circulated that Jews were the cause of the disease because they were religiously unfit and God was punishing them plus the people that had interacted with them. Rome was the source of the rumors and they spread faster Germany and Spain. However, Egypt has no record on the source of the disease but it is believed that it reached the country through Wars and Trade with other nations. All that is written about the disease in Egypt was the devastation and suffering; here it infected and affected the animals and humans likewise.
Spectacularly, France and Italy were the nations that underwent a lot of transformation because of the religious affiliations. A similarity between the two countries at that time was that they were both Christian centered countries that emphasized the virtues of Christianity. This meant that clerics were consulted on the daily activities of the countries and their decisions on different matters could not be refuted by any standards. They were the 'people of God' and there advise or decisions were believed to have been the will of God. It is at that point that the religious sects blamed the Jews for bringing the pestilence to the world and they were heavily punished throughout Christian centered countries. Many Jews; especially in France and Rome, were exiled, killed and burnt publicly (Al-Maqrizi, pg. 52). These inhumane acts were driven by the biblical misinterpretations that Jews were a curse to the world. Society cleansing and self-condemnation also characterized the affected regions and people; no matter the societal stature and authorities, resorted to confessing their sins and sharing their wealth in a bid to make amends with God.
The situation was the same in Egypt; a Muslim dominated country, where people that were suspected or proven to be sinners were slain publicly. The most outstanding effects in Egypt were deaths of almost the entire population with mothers and children leading the score. Harvest rotted in farms because the farmers had succumbed to the plague, soldiers had to harvest to minimize the wastage. Finances in Egypt also dropped as there were no people to pay the taxes, the government also reduced the amount of taxes that were to be collected during social gatherings in a bid to motivate people to participate in social events.
It is during this time that German and France began their rivalry and hostility towards each other In German, a new set of people; that portrayed religious emphasis, was formed and they flogged themselves bleeding throughout the cities that they passed through. The sect wrote their own songs of domination and punishment which they combined with Christian hymns to stress on the theme of religious sanity. The new sect proceeded to many cities and towns but they were barred from entering France, the king had been advised by France theology professors that the sect contradicted the Christianity doctrines.
It is also this time that Spain attacked America and forced people to pay tribute to the Lord of Spain who would come in via Mexico (Venette, pg. 73). Moreover, over 1000 people were forced to work in mines to dig for Gold and copper to fill the coffers of Spain. The people who lived in Central America at that time did not know about Christianity and it was introduced to them by the Lord of Spain who came to ensure that the religion was spread. The plague set stage for colonization through Christianity and that largely changed the history of the world.
The only similarity between the countries that were affected by the disease was the speed of the spread and the death numbers. European countries also reacted inhumanely by killing and burning other people; Italy and France were the propagators of these acts. German shared the same Christian beliefs with France but they did not persecute the Jews to be the cause of the disease. Egypt was similarly devastated by the disease by it acted differently; by motivating people to participate in social events.
Al-Maqrizi, Taqi al-Din Amad, Muammad Mustafa Ziyada, and Said Abd al-Fatta Asur.Kitab al-suluk li-marifat duwal al-muluk. 1934.
Venette, Jean Fillon. The chronicle of Jean de Venette. Vol. 50. Columbia University Press,1953.
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