Societal and Economic Impact

  • John Aberth
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


The Black Death severed, at least temporarily, many of the bonds and norms that held medieval society together. Observers movingly describe mass burial scenes (see Figure 1), and the heart-wrenching abandonment of even close family members is described by chronicler after chronicler, including Boccaccio in Florence (Document 16) and Agnolo di Tura in Siena (Document 17). There was a perceived moral laxity in the wake of the Black Death, when a cathartic release of emotions supposedly occurred that swept away a host of social and economic restraints. Any attempts to stem the tide, such as the mandates against concubinage, swearing, and dice-making tried by the city aldermen of Tournai, were short lived.1


High Wage Mass Grave City Council Close Family Member Labor Legislation 
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© Bedford/St. Martin’s 2005

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  • John Aberth

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