As the Black Death spread throughout Europe, one extreme reaction was processions of Flagellants, religious fanatics who beat themselves in ritual penance, believing such action would bring divine intervention.
The German and Low Countries movement, the Brothers of the Cross, is particularly well documented; they wore white robes and marched across Germany in 33.5 day campaigns (each day referred to a year of Jesus’ earthly life) of penance, stopping in any one place for no more than a day. They established their camps in fields near towns and held their rituals twice a day. The ritual began with the reading of a letter, claimed to have been delivered by an angel and justifying the Flagellants’ activities. Next the followers would fall to their knees and scourge themselves, gesturing with their free hands to indicate their sin and striking themselves rhythmically to songs, known as Geisslerlieder, until blood flowed. Sometimes the blood was soaked up in rags and treated as a holy relic.
The terror the Flagellants created - and their dirty, bleeding bodies may have spread the disease - became so socially disruptive and threatening that the church finally outlawed such processions.
- loyalbelieve reblogged this from fringe-history
- happyskiesturngray reblogged this from senjukannon
- dhammapunxxx reblogged this from senjukannon
- bumblingboot reblogged this from senjukannon
- senjukannon reblogged this from fringe-history
- senjukannon likes this
- johanneskeplers likes this
- loadoftarts likes this
- roger-taylor-striped-jacket likes this
- whatthefeckinfeck likes this
- paradoxes-andtheoxfordcomma reblogged this from mabisthequeen
- paradoxes-andtheoxfordcomma likes this
- mabisthequeen reblogged this from fringe-history
- the-king-haggard likes this
- earlblue reblogged this from fringe-history
- fringe-history posted this