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Black death in italy

The meaning of «black death in italy»

The Black Death was present in the Italian states of present-day Italy between 1347 and 1348.[1] Sicily and the Italian Peninsula was the first area in then Catholic Western Europe to be reached by the bubonic plague pandemic known as the Black Death, which reached the region by an Italian ship from the Crimea which landed in Messina in Sicily in October 1347.[1]

Coming to a completely unprepared region, the Black Death was a shock to Italy and to Europe. The Black Death in Italy belongs to the most documented among its outbreaks in Europe, with many literate eyewitnesses, among them being Giovanni Boccaccio, Marchionne di Coppo Stefani, and Agnolo di Tura, whose descriptions of it in their own cities and areas have become famous.

The well organized and Urban city republics of Central and Northern Italy had the most well-developed administration in Europe prior to the Black Death; their documentation has provided among the most useful descriptions of the pandemic, and the preventive measures and regulations initiated by the Italian city-states during and following the Black Death pandemic has been referred to as the foundation of modern quarantine law regulation.[1]

When the Black Death reached modern-day Italy, it was roughly divided in the Kingdom of Sicily and Kingdom of Naples in the south, the Papal States in the middle, and the heavily urbanised Northern Italy, which formally belonged to the Holy Roman Empire but in reality divided in to several autonomous city republics or principalities.

The traditional story of how the plague first came to Europe was that it was introduced to Europe via Genoese traders from their port city of Kaffa in the Crimea. During a protracted siege of the city, the Mongol Golden Horde army of Jani Beg, whose mainly Tatar troops were suffering from the disease, catapulted infected corpses over the city walls of Kaffa to infect the inhabitants. When the plague spread inside the city, the Genoese ships in the harbour fled from Kaffa toward Italy, bringing the plague with them.[1] This story is now largely discredited as a xenophobic blame narrative.[2]

The arrival of the Black Death to Sicily (and thus Western Europe), has been described by the chronicler Michele da Piazza. In October 1347, twelve Genoese ships from the East arrived to Messina on Sicily. After the Genoese came ashore, the inhabitants of Messina started to develop abscesses, cough and die. The Genoese were immediately banished from the city, but the illness spread with such speed that the city experienced a collapse of social order. The sick wished to be cured, to make wills and to take the confession, but both physicians, notaries and priests were infected and soon refused to go near them; people abandoned their homes, which were pillaged by criminals without being stopped by the guards and officials, who also died.[1]

On Sicily, Messina was pointed out as a city being condemned by God for its sins. Refugees from Messina fled toward Catania to ask the statue of Saint Agatha to be brought to Messina to appeal to God, but the citizens of Catania locked the gates to them.[1] They were instead allowed to take the statue of the Virgin Mary from Santa Maria della Scala to Messina.[1]

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