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Tue Jan 25, 2022, 03:50 AM

Pandemics bring out the crazies.

In 14th century Europe, the Black Plague brought out some crazy behavior that is reminiscent of the craziness we see today.

Flagellants believed that they knew a cure. Self-flagellation would show God that they were repentant and God would have pity on them and remove the plague. They marched through the streets of towns whipping themselves with sticks and straps, drawing blood.
Locals got caught up in the frenzy and joined them in the streets. As they went from town to town, they spread the plague with them.

The Church initially saw them as pious and encouraged them. But when people of the towns, and the flagellants themselves, began to see them as holy, they gained followers who thought that the Pope and Church no longer had God's favor, and they began charging into churches and throwing out priests to take over the mass themselves. The pope withdrew his support of them and ordered towns to close their gates and refuse admission to the flagellants. This was 200 years before the Reformation.

Today's covid miracle cures are Ivermectin, bleach, ultraviolet light inserted into the body, etc.

Some places decided that isolation of the sick would protect the healthy and boarded whole families inside their homes when a member got sick. They could not leave for food or water, and died of starvation.

Today's "solution" takes the opposite direction. Expose everyone and spread natural immunity, along with death.

Most malicious was the rumor that Jews had caused the plague by poisoning well water. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered. The pope issued orders for kings and princes to stop their people from committing these slaughters, pointing out that Jews were getting sick and dying, too. But some did nothing to stop the destruction of Jewish communities. People would not give up their fear and desire to blame someone.

Today, people beat up Asian Americans because covid originated in China and a former president called it the China virus.

After the plague subsided, surviving serfs and peasants refused to remain on the land of their overlords, as the law required them to. Why should they when they had faced the plague with their neighbors in unsanitary conditions while the lords fled to unaffected areas or stayed inside their walls, guarding their possessions while the common people died. Serfs and peasants left their assigned lands, took over empty businesses and tools, and set themselves up in business, charging what they could get due to the shortage of goods and services after so many had died. Or, they remained as tenant farmers, but went to work for whoever was willing to give them the best conditions, with some pay.

Today's front line workers are leaving low wage jobs for better ones, or are forming unions to demand better wages, conditions, and benefits.

Some things about human behavior just don't change, even centuries later.

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Reply Pandemics bring out the crazies. (Original post)
wnylib Jan 2022 OP
multigraincracker Jan 2022 #1
AllBlue Jan 2022 #2
wnylib Jan 2022 #3
wnylib Jan 2022 #4

Response to wnylib (Original post)

Tue Jan 25, 2022, 06:16 AM

1. Thanks, do you have

any links to this?

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Response to multigraincracker (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 25, 2022, 09:45 AM

3. I don't have any links, but the information

about 14th century Europe during the Plague came from a book on the 14th century written by historian Barbara Tuchman, titled A Distant Mirror. It was published in 1978, long before covid, so she did not make the comparison to behavior in today's pandemic. I made the comparison based on current news of how people are acting today.

I will see if I can find a link to the same knowledge of behavior during the Plague that Tuchmann wrote about. As a historian, she used some primary and secondary sources that she quotes in the book.

(Tuchman was also the author of the book, Guns of August, about the start of the first World War. JFK had read Guns of August and referred to lessons to be learned from it when faced with the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

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Response to wnylib (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 25, 2022, 11:24 AM

4. Regarding the attacks on Jews during

the Black Plague, Wikipedia has an informative entry that tells about Pope Clement VI issuing 2 papal bulls against attacks on Jews. This entry also tells how civil authorities ignored the bulls and in some cases aided and abetted the mobs. Slaughters took place from Spain, France, and Flanders to German cities.

Jews fled east to Lithuania and Poland where Casimir III sheltered and protected them.


The quarantine of people in their homes does not come from Tuchman's book. It occurred in subsequent waves of the Plague, years after the initial outbreak. In some cases, one person in the home was allowed to leave to get provisions. In other cases, sick people were confined to buildings specifically designed for Plague infected people. In England, infected homes were marked on the door and guards were posted so no one could go in or out.


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