BY MOLLIE S. WATERS
The Greenville Standard
In medieval days, science relied heavily on the stars, astrology, and pure conjecture, which is why March 20, 1345, is listed as the day the Black Plague originated.
According to an article titled “Black Death is created, allegedly” on History.com, the aforementioned date is given as the origin for the plague thanks to some scholars at the University of Paris who were living during that time.
“According to scholars at the University of Paris,” states the article, “the Black Death is created on this day in 1345, from what they call ‘a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius, occurring on the 20th of March 1345.’”
Of course, this special alignment did not cause the Black Death.
Instead, it was caused by bacteria.
“Despite what these scholars claimed,” states the aforementioned article, “it is now known that bubonic plague, the most common ailment known as the Black Death, is caused by the yersinia pestis bacterium.”
Due to poor hygiene and close living quarters in the medieval period, the plague spread from fleas on rats that then jumped onto other mammals, including humans.
Early onset symptoms of the plague were headaches, fever, and chills, which are similar to symptoms one experiences with the modern-day flu.
Yet, in its more advanced state, the plague manifested itself in much more terrible ways.
“Their (the infected) tongues often appeared a whitish color before there was severe swelling of the lymph nodes,” states the article. “Finally, black and purple spots appeared on the skin of the afflicted; death could follow within a week.”
The article states that an estimated 25 million people died from the plague.
What finally stopped it?
For a while, nothing really.
“The plague popped up periodically until the 1700s,” states the article, “but never again reached epidemic proportions after the 14th century.”
Eventually, quarantines and advances in medicine helped stave off the illness.