Talk:Black Death

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Former good article Black Death was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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First paragraph[edit]

I found it very confusing that the first paragraph doesn't mention bubonic plague by name but instead delves into a discussion of how the Black Death has been traced via DNA to Yersinia pestis bacterium. Then, in the Overview section, bubonic plague itself is introduced. Is the Black Death the same thing as bubonic plague? Also, I think the part about DNA analysis in the first paragraph should go somewhere else, under Section 4 -- Causes.Risssa (talk) 00:25, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

You make a couple of good points here. I added bubonic plague to relevant section the lead and hope that is now clearer. I also take the point about where the etiology occurs here, but it is fair to say that the lead really needs recasting to reflect a changed article and to fit with WP:LEAD. I will try to get back and do this if no-one gets there before me.--SabreBD (talk) 07:06, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I've adjusted this to the more general term Plague. There's been a historical tendency in this article to assume that Bubonic plague was the only cause of the Black Death and this gave rise to much of the furious discussion in the early 2000s about whether there was some other cause altogether (which was reflected in the article). The confusion arose largely because by the 19th century the more viralent forms had ceased to have any effect and therefore the epidemiological work concentrated on the bubonic variety. But there's a notable lack of incidence of rats in 1348/9. Chris55 (talk) 10:51, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
First paragraph: "The plague -reoccurred- occasionally in Europe until the 19th century." Fix to recurred? 71.180.244.67 (talk)
Thanks, yes, done. Ian Spackman (talk) 16:04, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]

Hello. Under DNA evidence, at the bottom, the following can be read: "The results of the Haensch study have since been confirmed [...]". This is very confusing. What is the Haensch study? The first time 'Haensch' is mentioned is in that sentence, so what is being referred to exactly? Is it the October 2010 study or the studies following it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.109.232.26 (talk) 20:14, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes it is the 2010 study, as shown in the References section. The Haensch paper is itself a confirmation of a number of other papers dating back to 2003 which were controversial in scientific terms, hence the enormous amount of work that has been done on the topic. Chris55 (talk) 12:02, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Furthermore new evidence in London suggests that the plague was a pneumonic plague rather than a bubonic plague. For more information visit these two sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26770334 http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/mar/29/black-death-not-spread-rat-fleas-london-plague — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.181.236.193 (talk) 18:41, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Article needs revision[edit]

A friend quoted this page in a discussion, prompting me to check it out. I noticed some issues with the figures quoted in the first paragraph, and following the links to the references raised further questions about it.

The article quotes a death toll in the range 75-200 million for Europe, and provides three references to support this. However, in reviewing those references it is clear that they have been misused and do not in fact support the claims being made. The lower estimate of 75 million is an extreme estimate for the total deaths in Europe alone, yet is quoted here as being at the lower end. The referenced article itself makes it clear that this figure addresses the full range of affected territories, with European deaths included in this figure (at a correspondingly lower level).

The upper estimate of 200 million is given in the article as the upper limit for European deaths, but again this conflicts with the information in the referenced sources. The sources clearly assign this figure to the casualties for the full range of affected territories, not just Europe alone as implied in the Wikipedia page.

The article needs to be amended so that the opening paragraph either more clearly links the presently quoted numbers to the full range of affected territories, or else corrects the numbers to those applicable to Europe itself. The European population at the time was only around 75 million to start with, and the Black Death killed between one third and one half of that number. For even the lower end of the currently quoted Wikipedia range to be correct, the entire population would have been wiped out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Damienleer (talkcontribs) 02:05, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Feel free to Be Bold and make your suggested changes. Ckruschke (talk) 16:50, 22 May 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
I think you'll find the article is LOCKED. I don't know why an article on the black death would be locked (it's not a Justin Bieber article, for example) but it is. Ergo, any changes one seeks to make must first be brought to this page for... dunno what this achieves, but it's the only option available to us. For, I was also intent on adding notes relating to the problems inherent in the Yersinia pestis theory from Mr Cohn's 2008 article here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2630035/ Alas, I am unable for the aforementioned reason. Just sayin'. 2001:44B8:41CD:3800:CC99:4508:C9F6:F6C8 (talk) 03:15, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Anon editor: First - please note you are replying to a thread that is 9 months old. Second - the page is locked due to persistent vandalism and has nothing to do with the unversal popularity of the subject.
That being said, if you'd like to make an edit, please paste the entire exact text of the edit you are requesting be made (puls ref's) into a new thread titled "Edit Request" and either I or one of the other editors watching the page will review it and make the changes as necessary. Ckruschke (talk) 19:15, 27 February 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke

Error: Naming of the Black Death[edit]

In the "Naming" section of this article, it is stated that:

The German physician and medical writer Justus Hecker suggested that a mistranslation of the Latin atra mors (terrible, or black, death) had occurred in Scandinavia when he described the catastrophe in 1832[18] in his publication "Der schwarze Tod im vierzehnten Jahrhundert".

I have examined the original 1832 edition of Hecker's book on the Black Death. Nowhere in that book does the phrase "atra mors" occur. On page 1, there is a footnote in which Hecker mentions finding the phrase "den sorte Dod" (the black Death, in Danish) in a Danish book published in 1631 — see: J.F.C. Hecker, Der schwarze Tod im vierzehnten Jahrhundert (Berlin, (Germany): Friedr. Aug. Herbig, 1832), page 3. However, Hecker doesn't attribute this name to any mistranslation.

Joseph Byrne states that the name "atra mors" (terrible / black death) originated among Scandinavian authors who wrote in Latin during the 16th and 17th century. At the time of the great medieval epidemic, only one writer — Simon de Covinus in 1350 — described the disease as the "mors nigra" (the black death). See: Joseph Patrick Byrne, The Black Death (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004), page 1.

See also:

  • Philip Ziegler, The Black Death (London, England: Faber & Faber, 2008), pages 1313-1314.
  • Stephen d'Irsay (May 1926) "Notes to the origin of the expression: atra mors," Isis, 8 (2) : 328-332.


Cwkmail (talk) 12:44, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Black Death was not a bubonic plague?[edit]

If this latest news is correct this article may need a lot of changes http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/mar/29/black-death-not-spread-rat-fleas-london-plague --Skintigh (talk) 17:36, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Not really - this is primary research which someone has already added, probably prematurely. But similar thinking has been around for years and is already covered in the article. Johnbod (talk) 18:20, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request[edit]

In the section "Migration" under the header "Populations in crisis"(in the second paragraph, second line), there is a piece of text that says (as of time of writing) '..., which increases susceptibility to infections due to weakened immunity.' it should say '..., which increased susceptibility to infections due to weakened immunity.' since the rest of the sentence is in the past tense and this word('increases') is in the present tense so the sentence is "under-going"(can't find a better word to describe it) tense-switching, which is a grammatical error. 82.47.40.66 (talk) 16:45, 28 June 2014 (UTC)