China has sealed off parts of its northwestern city of Yumen after a resident died of bubonic plague last week, state media reported on Tuesday.
A 38-year-old victim was infected by a marmot, a wild rodent, and died on July 16. Several districts of the city of about 100,000 people in Gansu province were subsequently turned into special quarantine zones, Xinhua said.
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China has sealed off parts of its northwestern city of Yumen after a resident died of bubonic plague last week, state media reported on Tuesday.

A 38-year-old victim was infected by a marmot, a wild rodent, and died on July 16. Several districts of the city of about 100,000 people in Gansu province were subsequently turned into special quarantine zones, Xinhua said.

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One not familiar with the corpus of enigmatic late medieval leaden badges could wonder what can be gained academically from their study. They may in fact, teach us a great deal. Key to the discussion, as one historian (McDonald) has noted, is that the study of the badges “provides a unique, and still largely untapped, perspective on late medieval devotional practice, the border between sacred and profane, the social as well as apotropaic function of ornament … patterns of cultural and iconographic exchange, as well as persistently enigmatic attitudes towards sex and the display of sexual organs and sexual acts.”

Here are just a few examples (descriptions under the zoomed image).

(Text and images from an extensive paper BAWDY BADGES AND THE BLACK DEATH: LATE MEDIEVAL APOTROPAIC DEVICES AGAINST THE SPREAD OF THE PLAGUE, bLena Mackenzie Gimbel, B.A. University of Louisville, 2010)

In…1348 the deadly plague broke out in the great city of Florence…Whether through the operation of the heavenly bodies or because of our own iniquities, which the just wrath of God sought to correct, the plague had arisen in the east some years before, causing the death of countless human beings. It spread without stop from one place to another until, unfortunately, it swept over the west . . Such was the cruelty of heaven and to a great degree of man that between March and the following July it is estimated that more than 100,000 human beings lost their lives within the walls of Florence.

This famous description of the Black Death appears in The Decameron, written by the Florentine humanist Giovanni Boccaccio.

NEWS: Excavations for London’s Crossrail project have unearthed bodies believed to date from the time of the Black Death.

A burial ground was known to be in an area outside the City of London, but its exact location remained a mystery.

Thirteen bodies have been found so far in the 5.5m-wide shaft at the edge of Charterhouse Square, alongside pottery dated to the mid-14th Century.

Analysis will shed light on the plague and the Londoners of the day.

Read more on BBC

image: Graph showing inervals of low CO2 concentrations in Antarctic ice cores correlating with major epidemics that decimated populations.After: Ruddiman, William F., Plows, Plagues and Petroleum: How Humans took Control of Climate, p. 133.
1. VI century
In Britain, the period 535—555 experienced the worst weather of the 6th century. In Mesopotamia there were heavy falls of snow and in Arabia there was flooding follow by famine. In China, in 536, there was drought and famine and yellow dust rained down like snow. In Korea, AD535 and 536 were the worst years of that century in climatic terms with massive storms and flooding, followed by drought. It has also been suggested that the occurrence of the Justinian Plague, a pandemic which affected the Byzantine Empire, including its capital Constantinople, in the years 541–42 AD is linked to the climatic events
2. X-XIV century MWP (The Medieval Warm Period)
In Europe the warm conditions had positive effects. Summer after summer the harvests were good and the population increased rapidly. As a result thousands of hectares were cleared of woodland and farmers expanded their fields high into the hills and on mountain slopes. It was even possible to grow successfully grapes as far north as Yorkshire.
Under these conditions, art, literature and even science were developing apace and we see the height of medieval civilisation. The most visible achievements of this period are undoubtedly the construction of the many cathedrals all over Europe. The good harvests had made Europe rich and the good weather freed people from the burden of the struggle against the elements. It created the wealth and labour force to build cathedrals. It was a golden period for European Architecture and art.
3. XIV century - The Little Ice Age
Written records from the 14th century provide accounts of severe weather in the period from 1314 to 1317, which led in turn to crop failure and famine. This episode of failed harvests and its consequences is known as “The Great Famine”. Notwithstanding these ecological calamities, the population of northern Europe was at an all time high by the second quarter of the 14th century. 
4. 1340s-1350s
What catapulted the Black Death on the world stage? Recently it has been suggested that a climatic event similar to the 536 dust veil event is responsible. Based on comparing the chronologies of prices, wages, grain harvests and the corresponding chronologies of growing conditions and climactic variations, taking into consideration dendrochronology, the Greenland ice cores it has emerged that the episodes of the Black Death coincide with depressed temperatures.
Read more about this interesting (and often disregarded) aspect of history

image: Graph showing inervals of low CO2 concentrations in Antarctic ice cores correlating with major epidemics that decimated populations.
After: Ruddiman, William F., Plows, Plagues and Petroleum: How Humans took Control of Climate, p. 133.

1. VI century

In Britain, the period 535—555 experienced the worst weather of the 6th century. In Mesopotamia there were heavy falls of snow and in Arabia there was flooding follow by famine. In China, in 536, there was drought and famine and yellow dust rained down like snow. In Korea, AD535 and 536 were the worst years of that century in climatic terms with massive storms and flooding, followed by drought. It has also been suggested that the occurrence of the Justinian Plague, a pandemic which affected the Byzantine Empire, including its capital Constantinople, in the years 541–42 AD is linked to the climatic events

2. X-XIV century MWP (The Medieval Warm Period)

In Europe the warm conditions had positive effects. Summer after summer the harvests were good and the population increased rapidly. As a result thousands of hectares were cleared of woodland and farmers expanded their fields high into the hills and on mountain slopes. It was even possible to grow successfully grapes as far north as Yorkshire.

Under these conditions, art, literature and even science were developing apace and we see the height of medieval civilisation. The most visible achievements of this period are undoubtedly the construction of the many cathedrals all over Europe. The good harvests had made Europe rich and the good weather freed people from the burden of the struggle against the elements. It created the wealth and labour force to build cathedrals. It was a golden period for European Architecture and art.

3. XIV century - The Little Ice Age

Written records from the 14th century provide accounts of severe weather in the period from 1314 to 1317, which led in turn to crop failure and famine. This episode of failed harvests and its consequences is known as “The Great Famine”. Notwithstanding these ecological calamities, the population of northern Europe was at an all time high by the second quarter of the 14th century. 

4. 1340s-1350s

What catapulted the Black Death on the world stage? Recently it has been suggested that a climatic event similar to the 536 dust veil event is responsible. Based on comparing the chronologies of prices, wages, grain harvests and the corresponding chronologies of growing conditions and climactic variations, taking into consideration dendrochronology, the Greenland ice cores it has emerged that the episodes of the Black Death coincide with depressed temperatures.

Read more about this interesting (and often disregarded) aspect of history

Munich City Hall Glockenspiel
Wooden medieval styled characters move inside the carillon of the new townhall at the Marienplatz  in Munich, Germany. The carillon, refered to locally as a Glockenspiel, was restored a few years ago. The chimes were in need of urgent repair, while the wooden, painted figures are in a quite good condition. At 11, 12 and 17 o’clock each day, visitors can watch the famous Glockenspiel, which is a main attraction for Munich tourists.

***The figures in the first balcony perform the cooper’s dance, which was originally performed in 1517 at the Marienplatz to commemmorate the end of the plague, while in the upper floor is performed a medieval tournament.

Munich City Hall Glockenspiel

Wooden medieval styled characters move inside the carillon of the new townhall at the Marienplatz  in Munich, Germany. The carillon, refered to locally as a Glockenspiel, was restored a few years ago. The chimes were in need of urgent repair, while the wooden, painted figures are in a quite good condition. At 11, 12 and 17 o’clock each day, visitors can watch the famous Glockenspiel, which is a main attraction for Munich tourists.


***The figures in the first balcony perform the cooper’s dance, which was originally performed in 1517 at the Marienplatz to commemmorate the end of the plague, while in the upper floor is performed a medieval tournament.



 
San Gimignano
In 1199, during the period of its highest splendour, the city made itself independent from the bishops of Volterra. Divisions between Guelphs and Ghibellines troubled the inner life of the commune, which nonetheless, still managed to embellish itself with artworks and architectures.
Saint Fina, known also as Seraphina and Serafina, was a 13th century Italian saint born in San Gimignano during 1238. Since Saint Fina died on March 12, 1253 her feast day became March 12. Her major shrine is in San Gimignano and the house said to be her home still stands in the town.
On May 8, 1300, San Gimignano hosted Dante Alighieri in his role of ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany.
The city flourished until 1348, when the Black Death that affected all of Europe, compelled it to submit to Florence. San Gimignano became a secondary centre until the 19th century, when its status as a touristic and artistic resort began to be recognised.

San Gimignano

In 1199, during the period of its highest splendour, the city made itself independent from the bishops of Volterra. Divisions between Guelphs and Ghibellines troubled the inner life of the commune, which nonetheless, still managed to embellish itself with artworks and architectures.

Saint Fina, known also as Seraphina and Serafina, was a 13th century Italian saint born in San Gimignano during 1238. Since Saint Fina died on March 12, 1253 her feast day became March 12. Her major shrine is in San Gimignano and the house said to be her home still stands in the town.

On May 8, 1300, San Gimignano hosted Dante Alighieri in his role of ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany.

The city flourished until 1348, when the Black Death that affected all of Europe, compelled it to submit to Florence. San Gimignano became a secondary centre until the 19th century, when its status as a touristic and artistic resort began to be recognised.

It never gets boring…

Dancing mania (also known as dancing plaguechoreomaniaSt John’s Dance and historically St. Vitus’ Dance) was a social phenomenon that occurred primarily in mainland Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. It involved groups of people, sometimes thousands at a time, who danced uncontrollably and bizarrely. They would also scream, shout, and sing, and claim to have visions or hallucinations.

The mania affected men, women, and children, who danced until they collapsed from exhaustion. One of the first major outbreaks was in Aachen, Germany, in 1374, and it quickly spread throughout Europe; one particularly notable outbreak occurred in Strasbourg in 1518.

Amidst our people here is come
The madness of the dance.
In every town there now are some
Who fall upon a trance.
It drives them ever night and day,
They scarcely stop for breath,
Till some have dropped along the way
And some are met by death.

So goes a grim ditty from the Straussburgh Chronicle of Kleinkawel.


more on wikipedia

article by by Leah Esterianna & Richard the Poor of Ely


Medieval man thought the cat had supernatural powers and any misfortune was blamed on them. Anything from sour milk to an outbreak of disease was blamed on our furry friends.
When the Bubonic Plague began sweeping across Europe in 1351 the superstitions of the day pointed the fingers of blame at cats. Hundreds of thousands of cats were destroyed. The sad truth was that the plague was carried by ticks that were attached to rodents that the cats would have caught thus helping to control the disease. The superstitions of the day actually helped the disease.
Cats were even thought to be witches in disguise, running in the darkness of night to perform evil acts. Cats were burned, boiled, stoned, flayed, stabbed, gutted, dropped from high places, hanged, impaled and buried alive with an almost religious fervor.
To own a cat during medieval times was risking ones life as many an old lady was accused of witchcraft simply because she kept a cat as a companion. Throughout these bleak times, however, some did remain loyal to the furry feline.
Millers and Sailors still saw great uses for the cats to rid their respective areas of vermin and others kept their fondness for cats as well. As time went on, more people of influence began to keep cats (even Cardinals Wolsey and Richelieu kept cats as pets) and the tide began to turn in the cats favor.
By PattiM

Medieval man thought the cat had supernatural powers and any misfortune was blamed on them. Anything from sour milk to an outbreak of disease was blamed on our furry friends.

When the Bubonic Plague began sweeping across Europe in 1351 the superstitions of the day pointed the fingers of blame at cats. Hundreds of thousands of cats were destroyed. The sad truth was that the plague was carried by ticks that were attached to rodents that the cats would have caught thus helping to control the disease. The superstitions of the day actually helped the disease.

Cats were even thought to be witches in disguise, running in the darkness of night to perform evil acts. Cats were burned, boiled, stoned, flayed, stabbed, gutted, dropped from high places, hanged, impaled and buried alive with an almost religious fervor.

To own a cat during medieval times was risking ones life as many an old lady was accused of witchcraft simply because she kept a cat as a companion. Throughout these bleak times, however, some did remain loyal to the furry feline.

Millers and Sailors still saw great uses for the cats to rid their respective areas of vermin and others kept their fondness for cats as well. As time went on, more people of influence began to keep cats (even Cardinals Wolsey and Richelieu kept cats as pets) and the tide began to turn in the cats favor.

By PattiM

image: "Doktor Schnabel von Rom" ("Doctor Beak from Rome") engraving, Rome 1656 Physician attire for protection from the Bubonic plague or Black death.

A plague doctor’s clothing consisted of:
A wide-brimmed black hat worn close to the head. At the time, a wide-brimmed black hat would have identified a person as a doctor, much the same as how nowadays a hat may identify chefs, soldiers, and workers. The wide-brimmed hat may have also been used as partial shielding from infection.
A primitive gas mask in the shape of a bird’s beak. A common belief at the time was that the plague was spread by “bad air”. There may have been a belief that by dressing in a bird-like mask, the wearer could draw the plague away from the patient and onto the garment the plague doctor wore. The mask also included red glass eyepieces, which were thought to make the wearer impervious to evil. The beak of the mask was often filled with strongly aromatic herbs and spices to overpower the miasmas or “bad air” which was also thought to carry the plague. At the very least, it may have dulled the smell of unburied corpses and sputum from plague victims.
A long, black overcoat. The overcoat worn by the plague doctor was tucked in behind the beak mask at the neckline to minimize skin exposure. It extended to the feet, and was often coated head to toe in suet or wax. A coating of suet may have been used with the thought that the plague could be drawn away from the flesh of the infected victim and either trapped by the suet, or repelled by the wax. The coating of wax likely served as protection against respiratory droplet contamination, but it was not known at the time if coughing carried the plague. It was likely that the overcoat was waxed to simply prevent sputum or other bodily fluids from clinging to it.
A wooden cane. The cane was used to both direct family members to move the patient, other individuals nearby, and possibly to examine patients without directly touching them.
Leather breeches. Similar to waders worn by fishermen, leather breeches were worn beneath the cloak to protect the legs and groin from infection. Since the plague often tended to manifest itself first in the lymph nodes, particular attention was paid to protecting the armpits, neck, and groin.

and a more modern version:

image: "Doktor Schnabel von Rom" ("Doctor Beak from Rome") engraving, Rome 1656 Physician attire for protection from the Bubonic plague or Black death.

A plague doctor’s clothing consisted of:

A wide-brimmed black hat worn close to the head. At the time, a wide-brimmed black hat would have identified a person as a doctor, much the same as how nowadays a hat may identify chefs, soldiers, and workers. The wide-brimmed hat may have also been used as partial shielding from infection.

A primitive gas mask in the shape of a bird’s beak. A common belief at the time was that the plague was spread by “bad air”. There may have been a belief that by dressing in a bird-like mask, the wearer could draw the plague away from the patient and onto the garment the plague doctor wore. The mask also included red glass eyepieces, which were thought to make the wearer impervious to evil. The beak of the mask was often filled with strongly aromatic herbs and spices to overpower the miasmas or “bad air” which was also thought to carry the plague. At the very least, it may have dulled the smell of unburied corpses and sputum from plague victims.

A long, black overcoat. The overcoat worn by the plague doctor was tucked in behind the beak mask at the neckline to minimize skin exposure. It extended to the feet, and was often coated head to toe in suet or wax. A coating of suet may have been used with the thought that the plague could be drawn away from the flesh of the infected victim and either trapped by the suet, or repelled by the wax. The coating of wax likely served as protection against respiratory droplet contamination, but it was not known at the time if coughing carried the plague. It was likely that the overcoat was waxed to simply prevent sputum or other bodily fluids from clinging to it.

A wooden cane. The cane was used to both direct family members to move the patient, other individuals nearby, and possibly to examine patients without directly touching them.

Leather breeches. Similar to waders worn by fishermen, leather breeches were worn beneath the cloak to protect the legs and groin from infection. Since the plague often tended to manifest itself first in the lymph nodes, particular attention was paid to protecting the armpits, neck, and groin.

and a more modern version: