HIST 1100: History and Civilization
©Damen, 2020
A Guide To Writing in History and Classics
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The reckoning of the casualty figures is a matter fraught with difficulties. Our best data on population statistics at this time come from England, but even there it's difficult to determine the total population of the country, and from that the percentage that died. Church records indicate that around forty-five percent of the beneficed priests died during the Plague. But priests are more likely to succumb to Plague since they often deal with dying people and death-bed confessions, an excellent way to contract the pneumonic form of Plague. Other data suggest a lower rate of mortality for the wider population, something around twenty-three percent, but there the data are very poor and surely many deaths went unrecorded in the panic following the onset of the Black Death. A safe median estimate of the casualties might be about a third of the population (thirty-three to thirty-five percent) which, if there were 4.2 million people total living in England then, would render a figure of about 1.4 million deaths. To extrapolate that percentage to the rest of Europe leaves more than seven million dead, which is a safe but low number. There were probably many, many more.

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