In October 1347, a Genoese trading ship arrived at the busy port of Messina in Sicily. Readying to dock, it would have nosed in among many similar ships doing similar things. But this ship was special because this ship had rats and the rats had fleas and the fleas had plague. Within four years, over a third of the population of Europe lay dead. This was the Black Death and its terrible progress was captured by the Florentine writer Giovanni Boccaccio who declared “in those years a dead man was then of no more account than a dead goat”.
The Black Death devastated Europe, changed its economics and broke up its society, but did the disease also bring subtler transformations in its art, its religion and its intellectual outlook?
Hanson on Signalling