Sunday, March 12, 2006 03/17/06-The Plague in Ireland

In today's excerpt, the black plague reaches Ireland:

"Rumors of a terrible plague supposedly arising in China and spreading through Tartary (Central Asia) to India and Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt and all of Asia Minor had reached Europe in 1346. They told of a death so devastating that all of India was said to be depopulated, whole territories covered by dead bodies, other areas with no one left alive. As added up by Pope Clement VI at Avignon, the total of reported dead reached 23,840,000...

Watching every comrade die, men in such places could not but wonder whether the strange peril that filled the air had not been sent to exterminate the human race. In Kilkenny, Ireland, Brother John Clyn of the Friars Minor, another monk left alone among dead men, kept a record of what had happened lest 'things which should be remembered perish with time and vanish from the memory of those who come after us.' Sensing 'the whole world, as it were, placed within the grasp of the Evil One,' and waiting for death to visit him too, he wrote, 'I leave parchment to continue this work, if perchance any man survive and any race of Adam escape this pestilence and carry on the work which I have begun.' Brother John, as noted by another hand, died of the pestilence, but he foiled oblivion."

Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, Ballantine, 1978, pp. 92-5


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