Myths and Legends about the Black Death
Episode 23 - August 15, 2020
Merle and Lee chat about four myths that have repeatedly circulated in popular media about the effects of the Black Death: it was an economic leveler that ended feudalism, it led to the Renaissance, it created modern public health, and it changed intellectual ideas about medicine. They reflect upon why these myths remain popular, since they are based upon causal ideas of history where one big event leads to another and changes the world, despite historians demonstrating their problems for decades. These myths exist across all media – this episode’s cover image, for example, is often used to accompany media coverage of the Black Death, even though it is not an image of the bubonic plague.