During the Middle Ages, great plagues swept across Europe, and the worst outbreak occurred in the 14th century, killing 25 million people. This deadly disease was called the Black Death, because those suffering from the disease would turn a blue-black color. Other names for it were bubonic, oriental, or Levantine plague. It spread from Asia and was brought by ships from the Black Sea to Mediterranean ports.

An 18th-century plague doctor wearing protective clothing. The beak contained “antiseptic” substances. The rod was to take pulses without touching the patient.

The pestilence was so in