Where lies the Black Death?

07.02.2005

07.02.2005


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Plague — a word which has become a household name for a long time — "brown plague" for example, and went down in proverbs: "A plague on both your houses" — of the men to mind.

Perhaps it is this terrible disease, literally devastated the Europe of the Middle Ages, people still fear on a subconscious level — historical memory makes itself felt. Here's the flu and still costing thousands of lives, and do not fear it so much! Plague as we are long gone, but often do you hear about it all kinds of nonsense. Why? "MK" has decided to investigate in detail the dark side of this issue.

Especially not far to seek — the place of an ancient cemetery, which in the Middle Ages buried the dead from the plague, is close to the newspaper, in the center of Riga. It is a historical fact. But, in truth, the more your correspondent delved into the subject, the more zamyshlenny first gothic "thriller" turned into a three-dimensional study. But, dear reader, are you afraid of love or want to know the truth? ..
Middle Ages through the window

And whether it is worth to write about the plague? Where, so to speak, newsworthy? Well, here's the motivation. The recent storm was a clear example of how fragile our civilization is puffy and stupid. Especially in the face of such weak, loose — other epithet and not pick — states like ours. One serious impact of elements — and the Latvian province instantly plunged into a medieval, no televisions, mobile phones, ATMs and other attributes of progress. Why would not the plague, a horrible ghost rising from cemeteries blurry? Middle Ages in Europe — this is the century of natural epidemics century hurricane as strong as the "black death."

Of course, there is no direct connection. But there is indirect: according to scientists, the European weather in the XIV century, in the years preceding the outbreak of epidemics of plague, was unstable and full of natural disasters, storms and floods. As we ready for such a disaster, it became very clear on January 9 this year — during a hurricane. The rising water in the Daugava River podtopilo ports and the cellar of the Central Market. And while using mobile phones curious photographed scenic spills, rats organized fled their flooded holes and set off. Plague, by the way, they resounded. Here Port rat darted in your basement … Hark! Middle Ages through the window!

Scourge of God

Aware of three plague pandemics: VI century plague (the plague of Justinian), the "black death" XIV century and the plague of the XIX century. The center of the "black death" broke out in 1320 in the Gobi Desert. But it was not the first epidemic. In VI. Europe is faced with a plague. But with VI-XIV centuries. Bubonic plague was not shown at all! According to some researchers, the Earth's climate became cooler is in the XIV century. And this little ice age could be a catalyst for the disease. Plague came from the East and slowly moved at a speed of caravans and sailing ships (today may spread with the speed of "Boeing-767"). In 1345 the plague raging in the lower reaches of the Volga, in 1346 up to the Caucasus and the Crimea. And in the 1347 death already in Constantinople. There is a version of history that plague the West brought the Genoese from the Crimea. By the winter sea come to Italy. In the spring of death is in Paris, and in September reached England. Moving along the Rhine, trade routes, the plague has reached Germany …

Will not describe the horrific picture of the epidemic. Better than we already did Boccaccio in his "Decameron." A great painter Titian himself died of the plague … In Western Europe, the "Black Death" claimed one-third of the population — 25 million people! Total epidemic has caused the complete destruction of society in Christian Europe Spare even funerary rites. People were dying so much that they are no longer buried in individual graves. Plague-old woman with a scythe on deserted Europe rushed to the XVII century. So it was in Riga.

Death and the Maiden

Chronicler shows that especially a lot of people died in Riga in winter days when a warm wind blew the Dvina — after such a breeze off the streets collecting heaps dead. Of course, Mortus — Workers cemeteries — were not able to bury a Christian is the number of deaths. The bodies were thrown into huge pits dug below the city walls of Riga, and only slightly covered with earth. Historical sources say that one of these cemeteries were arranged near the old church of St. Gertrude's. In 1604, there were almost simultaneously buried 13,000 people! Men and women, children and adults of all classes and ranks — indiscriminately. But where exactly was that, even wood, the church? Accurate data, alas, no. However, we know that the named Gertrude's church of the Virgin standing on the sandy road whose route partially follows the current street Brivibas.

There is also and the present church of St. Gertrude, also bears the name of the "old." Designed by the architect named Felsko in 1868, the Lutheran Church and its patron as a guard terrible hecatomb beginning of the XVII century. After all buried without religious ceremony victim "black death" in need of memory and prayer. Where is this terrible mass grave? There is no indication in the archives of the more, but the "MK" is still the place to find out. Old wooden church was located closer to the center of the city. See where on the street. Brivibas still no buildings, and gaping wasteland …

The Seventh Seal

"MK" visited the church of St. Gertrude — after all there must remain some signs that indicate that the temple was built on the site at all without reason. The reality exceeded all our expectations! The chief architect of Riga, was also an architect of the temple, who had lived 99 years, was obviously knowledgeable person. For example, it has attached to it the church of St. John the pinnacle of the pyramid and a rose. Generally, secret characters in the Church of Gertrude so much that it seems like a hero of the book by Umberto Eco. The priest Rinalds Grants drew my attention to the fact that the altar is placed Gothic church crucifix, not altarpiece, which would be more characteristic of the Lutheran Church. And besides, the church was originally built for the Lutheran community, bears the name of St. Gertrude (and Lutherans do not honor the saints).

Walking along the walls of the temple, we have carefully scrutinized the stained glass windows of the lower level. If clockwise to read a couplet in a row, they will develop in the prayer "Our Father." Hallucinatory kaleidoscope of multi-colored glass fascinated. Not right away and make out that each of the 10 stained-glass windows and seemingly similar, but deeply individual and also carries the esoteric Christian symbols disguised as a simple pattern: the vine, sun, lily, cross, thistle, the monogram of Christ … And these colors: purple, red, blue … "I do not know, but somehow coming to the altar stained glass — green" — mysteriously uttered Grants. In the secret knowledge, by the way, this is — the color of the heart chakra. I looked up. That's it! At the top right of the stained glass window (left killed in the war), the wizard portrayed short ears, beneath an azure shield with fish — an ancient symbol of Christianity and the seven stars. Sedmitsa — the day of resurrection? The number of letters in his name? Or, perhaps, the seventh seal? ..

Secrets of the Crypt

The door creaked open, smelled musty, the crypt. Steeply curved staircase, echoing steps lead down. Under the church at a depth of about two meters located crypt — the place where the tradition of burying the dead. But as the Church of St. Gertrude appeared after the Senate ban on burials in churches, nobody here has never been buried. But before there were two halls — Hall of Luther and Wartburg Hall. And no you makabra — bricked skulls and bones! Sorry … However, without secrets in the cellar of the church enough. We were at a depth of 2-2.5 meters underground, as it is known that the construction of the church laid the foundation for all 6.5 meters — the soil was unstable. (!) What is there, even lower? Our escort — parishioner Ilvars — did not know. But according to my personal feelings — there is a void.

One of the brick walls of the crypt was removed by someone. I looked. Moss filaments entangled wrong side of an ancient temple. Somehow, in a niche stood a single candle. Could it be that there was also a mortuary? The door of the old morgue was in the back of the church. It is not known what it was in years, but the entrance there is hermetically sealed up. Bricks seemingly very ancient. Medieval "moat of terror" by 6 feet of water, according to our calculations, also had to end somewhere. The "sealed" the gate is quite clear: that sleeps under this church, should not escape into the city!

Plague in Riga? No!

But can it? Epidemiologists believe that there is. As the "MK" has learned the deputy head of the epidemiological department of the Public Health Agency (HPA) Irina Lutsenko, a plague on the territory of Latvia for the foreseeable period of time was not fixed. There was none in her 30s or in the 50s of the last century. Natural foci of plague in Latvia is not, same old graves are not, because of the plague microbe in nature rather quickly dies. But there are 20 graves of animals that died from anthrax. This danger physician believes it is more realistic. Since there is no plague itself, it is not in the LR and vaccines against it — there is no such need. Rats are the same, according to epidemiologists, the city is not so much.

Rats — this is an important detail. After all, the chain of infection with plague is: rodent parasite-flea, man. Especially dangerous is the black rat. Therefore, AOP is in the constant monitoring of possible import tailed creatures on merchant ships in the sea gate of the country. Perform constant control trapping rodents in ports — in fact in Asian and African swine, though not of a povalny character, but it is not uncommon. And what is more real infection? Data for 2004 say that despite the vaccination campaign, Latvians continued to be ill with diphtheria. By 60 percent over the previous five years has increased the incidence of chickenpox. Head of the department of infectious disease epidemiology branch of the Riga AOP Anita Brill also suggests paying attention to the cases of trichinosis in the country. Poultry and wild boar should be eaten only after thorough cooking. Here's a meteorite fell …

Are prevalent theory that medieval "Black Death" was not at the plague. For example, since according to U.S. scientists have suggested that the bubonic plague of the medieval plague spread too fast. But in order to confirm or refute these theories, it is necessary to explore the DNA of bacteria in the remains of the victims of the "Black Death." There are even more exotic version. So, ufologists believe that the pathogen entered the Earth by accident, or when passing through the comet's tail, or in the fall, "plague" of the meteorite.

People of the Middle Ages were simpler, blaming … the Jews. They de-poisoned water sources. Throughout Western Europe, followed by the plague of persecution. For this reason the Jews were expelled to the east of the continent — in Poland and beyond. By the way, the myths created around the plague to this day. The latter — on bioterrorism. After all, if the plague of modern antibiotics successfully treated, and to create a truly effective biological weapons of mass destruction, the efforts of the whole state. Previously, it could certainly be rogue states. But such regimes in the world getting smaller, but the "orange" level of terrorist threat — declared more and more!

04.02.2005

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