Western Civilization

The Black Death had long term economic effects on Europe, as the population was decimated. Had it not taken root, where do you think European civilization would have evolved differently?

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Like most calamities that have stricken any population in the history of mankind, the Black Death had a serious effect on the European civilization. It not only shaped the mental, psychological and social approach of the 14th century Europeans to life, but also determined some of the serious issues that would define the European way of life for a long time to follow. In a superstitious way, many believed that it was the Jews that were poisoning the wells. Just as some believed that this was a God send curse. Almost all countries were hard hit. Most lost a greater chunk of their work force, in effect, stalling the evolution of one of the worlds earliest civilized regions. Hadn't it happened, it would have meant that European civilization would have continued at a much faster pace? This would not have been because of the otherwise available workforce, but also the fact that people perform better in a world that is not gripped with fear and uncertainty.

Can you think of any positive effects of the plague?

However much the calamity destroyed the European prospect at quicker development, and instilled utter doubt in God even after it was long gone; there was also the flip side of the coin. The people were challenged to find more ways of preparing and dealing with the calamities. As well as the knowledge that no one section of society can be blamed for what nature causes. In this case the much hated Jewish section. Apart from necessity to invest in the medical field, people also open up the idea that things can happen, and people ought to be prepared.

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Compare and contrast any ONE of the following pairs: Richard I and Saladin, Edward III and Philippe VI, Richard II and Henry IV,

Joan of Arc and Edward the Black Prince.

Whilst Edward the Black Prince was born in the 15th century to a King (King Edward III) Joan of Arc was born in a village to ordinary parents. Both of them, however, did achieve massive fame in their military activities. Edward was knighted by his father and given to lead the Campaign of 1346. In the time, he gained victory over the French by leading the right wing of the English Army at Crecy. Joan of Arc, on the other hand, started her military involvement by means of her less welcome claims in the time of King Henry IV. She was, at the age of twelve, very vocal about the fact that she was having visions and indeed engaging in conversation with saints and angels. Her claims included the fact that she was 'being urged to go to France.' Here, she had the faith that she was destined to drive out the English.

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Edward, however, was not involved in the military because of claims, but because of the fact that his father was a King and often had him assigned to military roles. While Joan of Arc was ruthless, saying that all that she did was the will of God, Edward was different in that he even treated his prisoner with a little magnanimity. In one occasion he actually brought ck his prisoner and led him through the streets of London in triumph. Of note, though, is that while Joan of Arc's career ended in a tragedy that of Edward the black prince was brought to a rather more natural conclusion that was forced by ill health. However, by the time of death, Edward had brought prosperity to his nation. Joan of Arc was executed.

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