This manuscript extract provides a first-hand account of the Black Death, a devastating plague that reduced the population of Europe by a third. The account tells how relatives of the dead had to carry the corpses themselves to open mass graves. The Black Death killed so many that there was a severe shortage of people to work in the fields and this became a major catalyst in the rise of the peasant revolt. Knowing how much the land owners needed workers, the labourers used this as leverage in demanding higher wages and better living conditions.
- Article by:
- Alixe Bovey
By exploring illuminations depicting rural life, Dr Alixe Bovey examines the role of the peasant in medieval society, and discusses the changes sparked by the Black Death.