What did an “innocent” nursery rhyme like Ring Around the Rosie have to do with the Black Death?

Answer these questions in essay format: The Black Death (a combination of diseases including the Bubonic Plague) hits Europe in 1348 and kills off approximately 75% of the human population. So, let’s test your Black Death IQ. Write an essay on the Black Death in which you answer all of the following questions. DO NOT write a list of answers to the questions–I am looking for your ability to tell me what it all means, too. Also, be as specific and detailed with your information as possible. 1) The best guess is that the Black Death was spread by the bite of infected fleas that live on the Black Rat. Why were there so many rats? Why were there so few cats to kill the rats? And what other roles did humans play in rat overpopulation? 2) In any given town where the Black Death hit, it counted the members of which two occupations among its first victims? Why is it that those individuals would be especially vulnerable? 3) In searching for a cause for their suffering, who did Europeans blame for the Black Death and how did they seek revenge? Name at least two of these groups and give at least two detailed examples of this persecution. 4) What changes in social customs and attitudes came about in Europe as a result of the Black Death? 5) What changes in literature and art came about in Europe as a result of the Black Death? 6) How did the Black Death affect the Muslim world? In particular, who was blamed for the disease; and how did the treatment of Muslim victims differ from the treatment of victims in Europe? Most important here, how does the course of scientific inquiry in the Middle East diverge from that in Europe in the wake of the Black Death? 7) What did an “innocent” nursery rhyme like Ring Around the Rosie have to do with the Black Death? (in your research you may run across a school of thought that says it didn’t…ignore that school of thought)

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