A.D. 1200 has been called the golden age, as characterized by a booming economy combined with widespread prosperity. Europe's population had reached the height of its growth, reaching about 70 million people, beyond which, according to historians, it would have been incompatible to resupply of food products, with the technologies of the time. The hot weather was optimal for harvesting in the fields, flourishing agriculture.

The banks, Florentine and Sienese founded in 1250, had started a business from unknown outcomes, with giving of loans to individuals, nobles and royal houses, thriving uncontrollably by the absence of national states. The Florentine bankers were creators of the Promissory Letter, comparable to modern derivatives, with interest for merchants around 14%.

But from the beginning of the year 1330, began a debacle general, unstoppable, with falling profits, determined by many factors. From this moment, from the climatic point of view, there was what was called a little ice age.

Consecutive years of heavy rains began, accompanied by cold, humidity and increase in glaciers. The cold prevented the ripening and harvesting the grain, moisture prevented the formation of salt, essential in the Middle Ages to preserve meat, poor the cereal production. Inevitably it was the agricultural crisis and the crisis of crops, entire plantations were abandoned and vast estates were unused and appeared desertified. In the Middle Ages, until that time, agriculture was the backbone of the economy. Farmers driven by misery and famine, left the fields flowing in

the cities in search of well-being. Entire villages were left uninhabited. The feudal lords, wealthy landowners, consequently lose their economic power derived solely from the earth. Agricultural production was non-existent.

Collapsing consumption, labor, also collapses the housing market and, with the crisis of trade and markets, begins the failure of banks. In 1341 declared bankruptcy (Bancae ruptio, as evidenced by the medieval statutes) the Acciaioli, the Antelliesi, the Bonaccorsi, the Cocchi, the Corsini, the Perendoli, from the Uzzano. In subsequent years do not resist to the crisis even the big banks. In 1343 the Peruzzi fail (600,000 florins) and in 1345 the Bardi (90,000 florins).

The loans of large sums of money given to European monarchs, who had previously enriched the Florentine bankers, were never honored. In England Edward III, forced to the armistice, is no longer in a position to repay the large sum of money, 1,365,000 florins, that the Florentine bankers had anticipated to support military commitment costs against France. Writes the banker and chronicler Giovanni Villani:... never in Florence there was more destruction and defeat. There is not more liquidity, not survives pecuniarysubstance in our citizens. 

Florence is on its knees. No one was prepared for such eventuality, it spread panic.

At all levels, from simple savers, to the nobles, the principles, the same royal houses, all were faced with an unexpected situation, which projected them into a new reality that found them totally unprepared.

Edwin Hunt in "The Medioeval Super- Companies: A Study of the Peruzzi Company of Florence" (London, Cambridge University Press), says that banks, due to the crisis in trade and agriculture, were operating in loss even before 1330. “The main banking companies were able to survive beyond 1340 only because they weren't disseminated news about the severity of their positions".

Frederick C. Lane, in "Money and Banking in the Medioeval and Renaissance Venice", identifies the venetian finance like the cause of the speculative bubble and the architect of the catastrophe of 1340. The Franciscans, with the Order of Beggars, in this period gave their utmost in providing assistance to many poor by distributing food, creating orphanages, hospitals, hospices.

The Franciscans were also the architects of what will later be called the pawnshop (Monte di Pietà), which instituted loans against pledges to giveing a possible help to those who became the new poor, sold own possessions, to get money for the essential purchase of food. The first pawnshop was later institutionalized in Perugia in 1462.

The severe food crisis of this period led to a weakening of the immunesystem with the appearance of numerous chronic diseases, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, which were certainly behind the spread of the plague epidemic that was spreading inexorably from the east, causing millions of deaths.

The church spoke of divine punishment, sent to punish the behavior immoral and sinful men. To ask for forgiveness, to the wrath of God, in Italy and Germany appeared processions of flagellants. Medicine, not knowing yet the use of antibiotics, was unprepared to deal with the epidemic and not knowing the origin, it was resorting to the most varied methods to diagnose the etiology. From astrology to the winds (aer corruptus) everything was studied trying a possible therapy. The literature describes this period of history, with the recurring theme of death in every work. The text that had great resonance and diffusion in the people, attributed to an anonymous Dominican monk, was the good death: Tractatus artis bene moriendi.

The people was resigned, accepted the idea of inevitable death, some were awaiting of a second coming of Christ, which would have eliminated the epidemic, as well like all social differences.

In a society where the solution final to every problem was only the religion, became common, Christian prayer addressed to the sky: A peste, fame et bello, Libera nos Domine.

Prof. Camillo Di Cicco MD, 14th EADV Spring Symposium, Brussels  2017.

Abstract:

STORIA DELLA PESTE DA MORTE NERA AD ARMA BIOLOGICA 

https://www.createspace.com/4848321

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Archivio Provinciale dei Cappuccini. Annali Manoscritti della Provincia Romana, Vol. II, pp. 589-591. L’archivio è collocato nel convento dei Cappuccini a Roma, Via V. Veneto, 27.
Aries P. 1985. Images of Man and Death. Harvard University Press, 271 pp. 

Benenson AS. Control of communicable diseases manual. Washington: American Public Health Association; 1995. Benazzi Natale - D'Amico Matteo, Il libro nero dell'inquisizione. La ricostruzione dei grandi processi, ed. Piemme 2006. 

Bergdolt Klaus. La peste Nera e la fine del Medioevo, - Ed. Piemme, Casale Monferrato 1997.
Bennassar Bartolomé, Storia dell'inquisizione spagnola. Fatti e misfatti della «Suprema» dal XV al XIX secolo, BUR Biblioteca Univ. Rizzoli 2003. 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, L'inquisizione. Atti del Simposio Internazionale, Città del Vaticano, 29-31 ottobre 1998 / a cura di Agostino Borromeo.
Biraben N. Les hommes et la peste en France et dans les pays européens et méditerranéens, voll. 2, Paris - La Haye 1975-76 (Civilisations et Sociétés 35-36), 2, p. 

Bottone EJ. Francisella tularensis, Pasteurella, and Yersinia pestis. In: Gorbach SL, Bartlett JG, Blacklow NR, editors. Infectious diseases. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 1998: p. 1819–24.
Brunetti M. Venezia durante la peste del 1348 «Ateneo Veneto» 22 (1909), 1, pp. 289-311; 2, pp. 5-42, edito anche come estratto a parte, Venezia 1909. 

Burckhardt J. La civiltà del Rinascimento in Italia Firenze 1968. Canosa Romano, Storia dell'inquisizione in Italia. Dalla metà del Cinquecento alla fine del Settecento, Sapere 2000, Ediz. Multimediali 2002. 

Capitani Ovidio. Morire di peste: testimonianze antiche e interpretazioni moderne della peste nera del 1348 - Ed. Patron, Bologna 1995. 

Carpentier E. Une ville devant la peste. Orvieto et la Peste Noire de 1348. Paris 1962 (Ecole pratique des hautes études - VI e section. Centre des recherches historiques. Démographie et sociétés VII), p. 100; cf. anche pp. 121-36. 

Carpentier E., Autour de la Peste Noire: famines et épidémies dans l’histoire du XIVe siècle «Annales E. S. C.» 17 (1962), pp. 1062- 92.
Casari I.,
“De calamitatis post excidium passis libellus”, in P. Guerrini, Fonti per la storia bresciana, vol. II, Brescia 1927, pp. 307 – 310 e 318 – 319. 

Chiappelli A. Gli ordinamenti sanitari del comune di Pistoia contro la pestilenza del 1348 «Archivio Storico Italiano» s. 4 20 (1887), pp. 3-24.
Chronica abreviata fr. Johannis de Cornazano, in Chronica parmensia a sec. XI. ad exitum sec. XIV, ed. L. Barbieri, Parma 1858. 

Chronicon Monasterii S. Salvatoris Venetiarum Francisci de Gratia (1141-1380), ed. A. M. Duse, Venezia 1766, pp. 69-70.
Chronicon Estense cum additamentis usque ad annum 1478, edd. G. Bertoni –E. P. Vicini, «Rerum Italicarum Scriptores» n. e. 15/3 (1908-37). 

Cipriani Alberto. A peste, fame et bello libera nos Domine: le pestilenze del 1348 e del 1400, - Ed. Società pistoiese di storia patria, Pistoia 1990.
Coville A. Documents su les Flagellants
«Histoire littéraire de la Françe» 37 (1937), pp. 390-411.22. 

Cronaca Senese dei fatti riguardanti la città e il suo territorio di autore anonimo del secolo XIV, edd. A. Lisini - F. Iacometti, RIS n. e. 15/6 (1939) pp. 148-49.
Klapisch - Zuber. La donna e la famiglia in “L'uomo medievale”, a cura di J. Le Goff, Bari 1993. 

Kuhng Hans. Intervista al quotidiano Repubblica del 4.10.2005. Dols MW. The Black Death in the Middle East. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press; 1977.
Derbes VJ. de Mussis and the great plague of 1348. JAMA 1966;196:179–82.
Flammermont J., "
La Jacquerie en Beauvaisis ", dans Revue historique, Presses universitaires de France, Paris,1879.
Franco Franceschi e Ilaria Taddei, “Le città italiane del Medioevo, XII-XIV secolo”, edito da Mulino.
Gasquet FA. The great pestilence (A. D. 1348–9), now commonly known as the Black Death. London: Simpkin Marshall, Hamilton, Kent&Co.; 1893.
Frederick C. Lane, «
Money and Banking in Medioeval and Renaissance Venice» (Baltimore 1985, John Hopkins University Press).
Guaglioni D. e Esposito A., I processi contro gli ebrei diTrento (1475 -1478), Padova 1990.
Green L. Chronicle into History. An Essay on the Interpretation of History in Florentine Fourteenth-Century Chronicles Cambridge 1972.
Grousset R. The empire of the steppes: a history of Central Asia. New Brunswick (NJ): Rutgers University Press; 1970.
Guarnieri R. Prefazione storica, in M. Porete, Lo specchio delle anime semplici, traduzione di Giovanna Fozzer, prefazione storica di Romana Guarnieri, commento di Marco Vannini, Edizioni San Paolo 1994, p. 39.
Guenée B. Storia e cultura storica nell’occidente medievale Bologna 1991, pp. 255-61.
Hadingham E. Ready, aim, fire! A risky experiment reveals how medieval engines of war brought down castle walls. Smithsonian 1975;30:78–87.
Hardy McNeill William. La peste nella storia: epidemie, morbi e contagio dall'antichità all'età contemporanea, - Ed. Einaudi, Torino 1982.
Hecker JFC. The epidemics of the Middle Ages. London: Sydenham Society; 1844.
Henningsen Gustav. L'avvocato delle streghe. Stregoneria basca e inquisizione spagnola, Garzanti, Milano, 1990.
Horrox R, editor. The Black Death. Manchester: Manchester University Press; 1994. p. 14–26.
Howorth HH. History of the Mongols, from the 9th to the 19th century. New York: Burt Franklin; 1880.
John Ball's Sermon Theme, Edited by J. M. Dean, Originally Published in: Medieval English Political Writings, Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 1996.
Hunt Edwin «
The Medioeval Super-Companies: A Study of the Peruzzi Company of Florence» (London, Cambridge University Press), 1994.
I.E. Ferrario. "Triora, Anno Domini 1587. Storia della stregoneria nel Ponente Ligure", 2005.
Leonardi Melita, Governo, istituzioni, inquisizione nella Sicilia spagnola. I processi per magia e superstizione, ed. Bonanno 2005. Lewis AR, Runyan TJ. European naval and maritime history, 300– 1500. Bloomington (IN): Indiana University Press; 1985.
Little K, Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541– 750, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Macauly G. C., The Chronicles of Froissart, Lord Berners, trans. (London: Macmillan and Co., 1904), pp. 136-137.
Marin Sanudo Vitae Ducum Venetorum, RIS 22 (1733) coll. 614. Melga J., Cronaca, in P. Guerrini, Fonti per la storia bresciana, vol. I, Brescia 1922, pp. 6 – 7.
Mereu Italo, La morte come pena, Donzelli 2007.
Michele da Piazza. Historia Sicula, ed. A. Gregorio, «Bibliotheca scriptorum Aragonensium» 1 (1791), pp. 562-66.
Moneti Andrea, Eretica pravità. Inquisizione, corruzione, eresia nella cattolicissima Italia del XIII secolo, L'Autore Libri Firenze, 2004.
Muratori Antonio Lodovico. Dettaglio Della Peste di Marsiglia, Pubblicato dai Medici che hanno operato in essa.
Muratori, Milano, MDCCXXI e Napoli, stamperia di Felice Carlo Mosca, MDCCXLIII.
Norman Roth,
Conversos, Inquisition, and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Wisconsin University Press, Madison, WI, 2002. Norris J. East or West? The geographic origin of the Black Death, Bull Hist Med 1977; 51:1–24.
Obolensky D. The Byzantine commonwealth: Eastern Europe, 500– 1453. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson; 1971. Payne-Gallwey R. A summary of the history, construction and effects in warfare of the projectile-throwing engines of the ancients, with a treatise on the structure, power and management of Turkish and other oriental bows of medieval and later times. London: Longmans, Green and Co.; 1907.
Paolus Diaconus. Historia Langobardorum, edd. L. Bethmann. Palazzo C., Diario, in P. Guerrini, Fonti per la storia bresciana, vol. I, Brescia 1922, p. 249, vol. II, Brescia 1927, p. 343.
Pollitzer R. Plague. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1954 Preto P., Peste e società a Venezia nel 1576, Vicenza 1978. Rawlings Helen, L'inquisizione spagnola, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2008.
Rigaux D.
“Antijudaisme par l’image: l’iconographie de Simon de Trente dans la ragion de Brescia”. In Politique et religion dans le judaisme ancien et medieval: Interventions au colloque des 8 et 9 décembre 1987 organisé par le Centre d’ Etudes Juives de l’Université Paris IV Sorbonne, ed. D. Tollet, pp. 309-316. Paris: Desclée, 1989.
Riyasat Ali, D.N. Rao (2012). Recent Advancement in the Development of Vaccines Against Y. pestis - A Potential Agent of Bioterrorism. DOI:10.5772/33903.
Romeo Giovanni. Inquisitori, esorcisti e streghe nell'Italia della Controriforma, Sansoni, Firenze.
Rutenburg Victor,
Popolo e movimenti popolari nell'Italia del '300 e '400, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1971.
Screpanti A. L'angelo della liberazione nel tumulto dei Ciompi. Firenze, giugno-agosto 1378.
Teodonio M., Vita di Belli, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1993.
"The trial of the Templars in the Papal State and the Abruzzi” (Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1992). Umberto da Romans. De eruditione praedicatorum, II, XCII, in Malato, medico e medicina nel Medioevo di J. Agrimi - C. Crisciani, Torino 1980.
Villani G., Cronica. Con le continuazioni di Matteo e Filippo, a cura di G. Aquilecchia, Einaudi, Torino, 1979.
V. Rutenburg. Popolo e movimenti popolari nell’Italia del ’300 e ’400, introd. di R. Manselli, Bologna 1974, p. 109.
Tononi AG. La Peste Dell’ Anno 1348. Giornale Ligustico de Archeologia, Storia e Letteratura 1884;11:139–52.
Vasiliev AA. The Goths in the Crimea. Cambridge (MA): Mediaeval Academy of America; 1936.
Vasoli C. Umanesimo ed escatologia, in L’attesa della fine dei tempi nel Medioevo, a cura di O. Capitani e J. Miethke, Bologna 1990 (Annali dell’Istituto storico italo-germanico, Quaderno 28), p. 252.
Walter Peruzzi, Il cattolicesimo reale attraverso i testi della Bibbia, dei papi, dei dottori della Chiesa, dei concili, Odradek, Roma, 2008, p. 236.
W. P. Eckert, Il beato Simonino negli atti del processo di Trento contro gli ebrei, in Studi trentini di scienze storiche, Trento. A.44 (1965), n.3; pp. 193-221.
White A. D. 1898. Warfare of Science with Theology. Chapter XIII: From Miracles to Medicine. New York. D. Appleton and Company. Copyright, 1898.
Wheelis M. Biological warfare before 1914. In: Geissler E, Moon JEvC, editors. Biological and toxin weapons: research, development and use from the Middle Ages to1945. London: Oxford University Press; 1999 p. 8–34.
W. Rosen, Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe, New York Viking, 2007.
Zanelli A. Di alcune Leggi sanitarie pistoiesi dal XIV al XVI ibid. s. 5 16 (1895), pp. 206-24.