Société De L’histoire De France

Author: Jean de Venette  | Date: 1843

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Guillaume de Nangis H. Guérard Paris 1843

Jean De Venette on the Black Death

[1348]

At Paris and in the kingdom of France, as in the other parts of the world, so it is said, there was in this same year (1348) and the year following so great a mortality of people of both sexes, of the young rather than of the old, that it was scarcely possible to bury them. They were only ill for two or three days and died suddenly, their bodies almost sound; and he, who one day was in good health, was dead and buried on the morrow. They had swellings under the arm-pits and in the groin, and the appearance of these swellings was an infallible sign of death. This malady or pest was called an epidemic by the doctors. During these two years there was such a number of victims as had never been heard of, or seen, or read of in past times. And in many towns, great and small, the priests were terrified and fled; but some others, considerably braver, administered the sacraments. Soon in many places out of every twenty inhabitants there were only two alive. The mortality was so great at the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris that for a long time more than five hundred dead were carried daily on wagons to be buried at the cemetery of St. Innocent of Paris. And the holy sisters of the Hôtel-Dieu, having no fear of death, discharged their task to the end with the most perfect gentleness and humility. These sisters were wiped out by death and were replaced more than once; and they now, as is piously believed, repose in peace with Christ.

This plague, it is said, began amongst the infidels, and then came to Italy, Crossing the mountains, it reached Avignon, where it struck down several cardinals and decimated their suites. Then by degrees it passed across Spain and Gascony, from town to town, from village to village, finally from house to house and from person to person till it arrived in France, and spread on to Germany, though it was less terrible there than it was amongst us.

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Chicago: Jean de Venette, Société De L’histoire De France, ed. H. Guérard in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Co., 1951), Original Sources, accessed December 5, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Z68MXSERLLAC867.

MLA: de Venette, Jean. Société De L’histoire De France, edited by H. Guérard, in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, edited by Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1951, Original Sources. 5 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Z68MXSERLLAC867.

Harvard: de Venette, J, Société De L’histoire De France, ed. . cited in 1951, History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. , Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa.. Original Sources, retrieved 5 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Z68MXSERLLAC867.