All Fall Down ...

Discussion in 'History' started by Picaro, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Picaro
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    Picaro Gold Member

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    Review on an interesting paper I ran across while looking up something related to the 'Doomsday Prepping' thread in another forum.

    Olivia Formby of the University of Queensland has written a terrific thesis, building on Keith Wrightson’s microhistory of a Newcastle scrivener in the 1630s, on the emotional history of plague epidemics in 1630s England. She studies two outbreaks in particular, in Louth in 1631 and Hull in 1637: both took around 800 lives, which in Louth’s case amounted to 44% of the population of the town.

    44%! Try to imagine that for a moment. ... Now what do you come up with? As she points out, there are a series of highly excitable images of utter social collapse, despair and descent into barbarism to be culled from contemporary plague literature, and a lot of historians have swallowed this ‘dystopic vision’ wholesale. Whether because we simply believed it, or because the quotes make good copy for our textbooks. But as she points out – and proves with a careful reading of wills and parochial documents, but really, the point is self-evidently true once she has made it – that’s not really what happened. English towns didn’t collapse into a Hobbesian world of desperation as the death toll mounted; they kept calm and carried on. They didn’t even tend to suffer panics of scapegoating or paranoia about deliberate plague-spreaders or witchcraft. Instead they made wills, conducted funerals, regulated trade, listened to sermons and prayed for it all to end.


    Alec Ryrie: We all fall down
     
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  2. irosie91
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    irosie91 Diamond Member

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    44% ? That's less than half--------just how REMARKABLE a calm response
    would be would depend on how LONG it took for 44% to go down. Death by
    sickness was not all that rare in those days. -----epidemics were not all that
    rare. It did not END------there are still deadly epidemics in the world
     
  3. JoeMoma
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    JoeMoma Gold Member

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    Ring around the roses?
     
  4. irosie91
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    irosie91 Diamond Member

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    ring around the rosie. ---is a description of the skin lesion that is pathognomonic
    of Bubonic plague. -----the "pocket full of posie"-----was a kind of grandma
    attempt to ward off the sickness' BUBOES is big swollen lymphnodes
     
  5. Anathema
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    Anathema Crotchety Olde Man

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    Yes. You make a ring around the rose bush and dance to ward away the plague. That’s also why you carry posies in your pocket, to ward off the plague. The ashes are from burning plague bodies as well. We all fall down dead because of the plague.

    Oh, and London Bridge is falling down because it’s stacked with plague bodies like chord wood.

    Aren’t nursery rhymes so cute? ;)
     
  6. Picaro
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    Picaro Gold Member

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    It contradicts the premises of 'Apocalypse' so popular with modern tardism, that we're going to all go Mad Max and Thunderdome n Stuff when some little burp or other hits. But where you err is that precisely because they already had high death tolls in normal years, and famine 3 or 4 out every 7 years that 44% due to other causes like epidemics was indeed a major catastrophe, given reproduction rates in those centuries.
     

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