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6. A TIME FOR DYING

With the Plague and the wars people had experienced death and devastation on a scale hitherto unimaginable.

They lived in a time very much like our own. Our society finds its escape from the stress of the times in sexual fantasies. They were haunted by death and yet were morbidly fascinated by physical decay. Their imaginative world was a nightmare of hell and demons

7. A BAD TIME

Morality weakened and hysteria grew stronger.

In the cities of Italy there was a recurrence of slavery. The slaves were usually Russian and Greek.

In go-ahead Venice 10,000 slaves were sold between 1414 and 1423.

8. WITCHES

Someone had to be blamed for all these bad things. Europe was running out of Jews to blame and burn.

So in 1437,2 monks got together and wrote a book that found the answer.

It was called "Hammer of Witches". It triggered off persecutions, usually of old women, that lasted 200 years. During this time it is reckoned that 100,000 people were burnt as witches.

9. SOME TRIED

But in some places people were trying to improve the health of cities.

In 1426 the German Emperor, Sigismund, ordered that all big cities in his Empire should appoint special physicians. They were to advise on ways to fight the Plague. We were to meet their English counterparts as Medical Officers of Health -400 years later.

10. IN ITALY

The busy, energetic towns of Italy also took some steps to control disease.

Milan and Bologna developed a system of quarantine checks - by issuing health certificates to travellers.

11. ONE CONSOLATION

During this century the dreaded wasting disease of leprosy disappeared from Europe.

Most of the lepers were killed off by the Black Death and preventive measures of isolation of those infected proved effective.


12. ISLINGTON'S EFFORT

William Pole, one of the few surviving lepers, founded a refuge for lepers in Holloway.

But by 1473 when it was completed most of the lepers had disappeared, so it had to be converted to a refuge for the poor.

Still better late than never.

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