Black Death: “Oh father, why have you abandoned me?”

In 1347, chroniclers of the Black Death began reporting incidents of mothers, uncles, brothers and wives deserting their plague-stricken relatives and fleeing for their lives. Samuel Cohn tells the story of a horrifying, yet little known phenomenon: abandonment

A 14th-century Flemish illustration depicting the burying of plague victims in coffins in Tournai in 1349. (Photo by Granger Historical Picture Archive/Alamy Stock Photo)

This article was first published in the June 2018 issue of BBC History Magazine

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