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The Black Death af Philip Ziegler
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The Black Death (original 1969; udgave 2009)

af Philip Ziegler (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,1791312,725 (3.73)41
It came out of Central Asia, killing one-third of the European population. And among the survivors, a new skepticism arose about life and God and human authority. Here, in this essay by British historian Philip Ziegler, is the story of the plague that ravaged Europe.
Medlem:Ryan_Longfellow
Titel:The Black Death
Forfattere:Philip Ziegler (Forfatter)
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2009), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Black Death af Philip Ziegler (1969)

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The Black Death (Pelican)
Ziegler, Philip

Published by Penguin (1975)
  EboBooks | Jan 8, 2021 |
Wishy-Washy Tales, Lots About England, Overall Readable

"The Black Death" is a very tedious, though well-researched book. It has two faults: 1) a research dependent on England, and 2) very vague conclusions.

The majority of the book focuses on the statistics of the plague in England. Five of the book's fourteen chapters focus on the spread of the plague in England, while Italy and the rest of continental Europe receive only two chapters. All these chapters describe possible population decreases with Ziegler plowing through a tremendous amount of sources in order to come to a happy medium when those sources disagree. Some of the statistics are very minute, including the number of, say, deacons in a particular parish.

Ziegler's theses in the final chapters are very wishy-washy. These chapters go over what effect the plague had on society. In a discussion on medieval labor, Ziegler concludes that while some historians believe this plague had a revolutionary impact on working conditions, that wasn't the case in all parts of England, so therefore the plague had an impact somewhere between nothing and revolutionary. This adds little to our understanding of the plague.

Still, this book is intended as a popular history and it filled a void that I appreciated. It gave me a deeper understanding of the plague and served as a good jumping point from which I can branch out. ( )
  mvblair | Aug 9, 2020 |
A scholarly volume based on empirical evidence gathered through historical writings. Engaging, and descriptive, it is a compelling read, a litany of the disastrous effects of the black death in 1348-49 in Europe but primarily in England, following upon the heels of a critical mass of devastating famines from 1272 to 1332. It is futile to apply any generalization if it professed to apply to the whole of England however, it is safe to say the towns managed to survive while the countryside was devastated, and at least 33% of the population of England, Ireland, and Scotland died. Only through the innate ability of the English nation to survive any calamity thrown at it was England able to survive these multiple disasters. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Aug 15, 2019 |
It is a grievous ornament that breaks out in a rash. - Jeuan Gethin

Philip Ziegler penned a spectacular survey of the 14th century disaster which could've flipped the human lights off permanently. Okay, maybe not extinguish, but certainly a long-lasting dimming was a possibility. This is a splendid book, one which steadily recognizes the limitations of history. Ziegler also prodded me again to finally read Bocaccio.

What did happen during that terrible pestilence of 1348 and 1349? Well, likely 40 percent (or more) of Europe died. People blamed Jehova, eathquakes (releasing the miasma) and with lethal certainty, the Jews. Feudalism continued its shuffle off-stage, conditions may have improved for peasants. The church saw its foundations wobble. Fanaticism also spiked. Those who concretely link the Plague with Peasants Rebellions and the Reformation are taking shortcuts, which is understandable. Ziegler's work is one of conjecture and doubt. There is simply so little which can be verified. I suppose the wisdom of the Black Death is that Shit Happens.
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
I’m reading these Black Death books in the order I find them at used book stores, which is unfortunately not their order of publication. I should have read Philip Ziegler’s The Black Death first, since it was published before all the others I’ve been reading. Ziegler describes himself in the Introduction as an amateur medievalist, and admits doing no original work but just synthesizing numerous papers and dissertations published since the last major book on the plague in the 1930s. As such, he’s done a good job, but you would be better off reading the more recent book with the same title by Robert Gottfried.


However, there were a few things in Ziegler’s book that struck me. One was that other authors insist that the term “Black Death” was not used until the 17th century; however, Ziegler quotes a contemporary Welsh poem using both “Black Death” and “Black Plague”. Perhaps these were added in translation?


The second was a comment about a water mill in England that had become “valueless” in contemporary documents because the miller and all the client peasants had died. Most historians would cite this as evidence for the death rate or the change in country farming practices brought on by the plague; Ziegler does that to, but also adds that this is an example of the unimaginable personal tragedies of the Black Death. It’s hard to relate to people that died 650 years ago; their names are unknown and their very bones are now vanished to dust. But I did get a little kick in the conscience when forced to think of plague victims as actual people rather than statistics.


Last, Ziegler is in agreement with most other authors on the death rate (somewhere between 30-40%). I’d read this in a number of other works (Ole Bendictow has a much higher death rate but most others cluster around a third of the population), but I happened to think of something else I’d read this time: the mortality rate for untreated bubonic plague is around 40-50%. That implies that if the consensus estimate of medieval plague mortality is correct, almost everybody got it. (Not quite, of course, because there were some cases of the more lethal pneumonic and septicemic forms, and because “untreated” for a peasant in medieval England is quite a bit different from “untreated” for a rancher in rural Colorado). I’d like to see how much documentation there is for people who got the plague and recovered.


Again, worthwhile if you happen to find it cheap somewhere but for an introduction you better off with the more recent Gottfried. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 21, 2017 |
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Though there may be controversy over its precise significance, no one would to-day deny that the Black Death was of the greatest economic and social importance as well as hideously dramatic in its progress.
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Watres rubifying, and boles galle / Arsenyk, sal armonyak, and brymstoon / And herbes koude I telle eek many oon, / As egremoyne, valerian, and lunarie. (Water in rubefaction; bullock's gall, / Arsenic, brimstone, sal ammoniac, / And herbs that I could mention by the sack, / Moonwort, valerian, agrimony and such.
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It came out of Central Asia, killing one-third of the European population. And among the survivors, a new skepticism arose about life and God and human authority. Here, in this essay by British historian Philip Ziegler, is the story of the plague that ravaged Europe.

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