Lead: In fourteenth century Europe one of the most popular books of the Bible was The Book of Revelation.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts

Content: The last book of the Bible deals with the end of the world: disease, war, famine and death. It is not surprising that people all over Europe thought they were at the end of the time. Between 1300 and 1450 Europeans were subjected to a horrifying series of jolts. Economic and social eruptions and war pounded at the people but the most terrifying curse was the Black Death. Scholars are divided as to the origin of this pestilence but somehow in the early fourteenth century it had spread to the southern districts of Russia and was awaiting a means of transmission. Ironically technological progress improved the way the disease. By 1300 refinements in nautical equipment had made possible year-round shipping throughout the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic seaboard. In early October 1347 a ship left the city of Caffa in the south of Russia bound for the Sicilian port of Messina near the foot of the Italian peninsula. Along with its cargo it played host to its usual compliment of migratory black rats. They in turn were infested with tiny fleas bearing the deadly bacillus, identified in the last century as Pasteurella pestis. It was the cause of the bubonic plague which later came to be called the Black Death.  

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