World Religions

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World Religions

Part I

Bubonic plague in the 13th century

During the later middle ages, the first book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, inspired thousands of sermons and hundreds of religious tracts. The Book of Revelation deals with visions of the end of the world, with disease, war, famine, and death. It is no wonder this part of the Bible was so popular. Between 1300 and 1450, Europeans experienced a number of problems: economic problems, plague, war, social upheaval, and increased crime and violence. Death and worry about death make the 14th century one of the worst period of Western civilization. Yet, in spite of the pessimism and crises, important institutions and ideas, such as representative assemblies and national literatures, emerged (Magee, 67).

The Black Death

In 1291 Genoese sailors had opened the Strait of Gibraltar to Italian shipping by defeating the Moroccans. Then, shortly after 1300, important advances were made in the design of Italian merchant ships. A square rig was added to the mainmast, and ships began to carry thee masts instead of just one. Additional sails used wind power better and more effectively. The improved conceive allowed year-round boats for the first time, and Venetian and Genoese merchant boats could sail the dangerous Atlantic coast even in the winter months. With ships continually at sea, their rats were constantly on the move, and thus any rat-transmitted disease could spread easily.

Scholars argue about where the Bubonic plague or Black Death came from. Some scholars believe that it broke out in China or central Asia around 1331, and during the next fifteen years merchants and sailors carried it over the trade routes until in 1346 it reached the Crimea in southern Russia. Other scholars believe that the plague was endemic in southern Russia. In either case, from this area the plague had easy access to Mediterranean lands and Western Europe.

By October 1347, Genoese ships brought the plague to Messina, from where it spread across Sicily. Venice and Genoa were strike in January 1348, and from the port of Pisa the infection spread south to Rome and east to Florence and all Tuscany. By late jump, southern Germany was attacked. Frightened French authorities chased a ship with the disease from the port of Marseille, but not before plague had infected the city. From Marseille, it spread to Languedoc and Spain. In June 1348 two ships entered the Bristol Channel and introduced it to England. All Europe felt the effects of this horrible disease.

Galileo “…Galileo was one of the most initial and creative geniuses of all time. The consequences of his work for man are understanding of the world, and hence for human thought processes is beyond all calculation” (Sobel, 63).  This assessment of Galileo captures the greatness and worth of this brilliant Italian scientist called by many the Father of Modern Science. Yet this towering number did not habitually relish this kind of blazing assessment by the forces of his day. In fact, in the direction of the end of his life, ...
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