LAWRENCE N. LANGER (Storrs, Conn., U.S.A.) The Black Death in Russia: Its Effects Upon Urban Labor* The Black Death has been the subject of many studies as historians have attempted to determine the plague's multitudinous effects upon European society. Controversy has raged over whether or not the plague facilitated the commutation of labor services into monetary terms, forced wages up because of the lack of labor, drove grain prices downward and generally undermined the economic position of many of the nobility. While not all historians believe that the economic recession in agriculture was primarily determined by the recurring cycles of pestilence, it has been nevertheless recognized that the population declined catastrophically (estimates vary from one-quarter to one- third of the European population) and that such a severe reduction in numbers must have had important economic consequences. Many have noted the accelerated migration from the countryside to the towns, the decimation of the Church and monasteries which brought in clerics and mendicants who lacked discipline and faith, and who often joined with those who sought to gratify their most immediate desires in the wake of the plague, and the fluctuations of personal wealth. Although historians may differ on the
Russian History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1975
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