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Sixty percent of Europe's population died in the Black Death, a spread of bubonic plague in the mid-14th century. Deep pits were dug at all the church cemeteries, and each held many bodies with a layer of dirt added each day. Letters and chronicles tell of the personal tragedies of those who buried spouses or children. The disease was spread by rats that lived....
Antibiotics would today prevent an epidemic like the Black Death but in medieval times, the lethal disease spread quickly across Europe. Spread by rats and fleas along trade routes, it was particularly deadly in urban areas and port cities. Mortality rates ranged from a third to half of the population. Panic caused social breakdown as doctors and others refused to help. Some sick children and family members were abandoned, but other children were provided for in wills as their parents died.
After the fall of Rome (third to fifth centuries A. D.), much of Greek science was lost to Europe, being only maintained through the flowering of scientific inquiry in the Islamic world. Times were harsh, and scientific inquiry seemed an unaffordable luxury. The Catholic Church was fighting for its existence and to spread its views, and "pagan" inheritances such as Greek science were scorned.
The son of a knight did not usually go to school (in fact, very few children in the Middle Ages did). Until he was seven he might be taught a little by his mother or a priest at home. Then he would be sent to live in the castle of another knight and his family as a page. A page had to learn how to serve at his master's table, and how a castle was run. He also learnt how to ride well and to handle weapons.
Guilds helped more than just their members. They had numerous rules that helped to keep the quality of work and pricing consistent. This helped consumers to know they were getting a good product at the correct price.