The Black Death came to Europe in 1347 and in just three years devastated Europe, fundamentally changed the way society functioned, and killed more than one-third of the population. Historically, academics and scholars have studied this event by examining the societal, economic, and political impact of the Black Death on Europe as a whole. Recently however, the plague has increasingly been presented through personal histories. The history of the plague, its historical content and impact remain intact, but the author invents the thoughts and feelings of the character so the audience may sympathize and identify with him or her. This Independent Study follows this trend and examines the response people may have had to this disease in 1348 in Siena, Italy, where the plague hit particularly hard. Through four invented characters, Filippa di Giantommaso, Isacco di Trivoli, Ambrogio di Bergamo, and Oddo di Goffredo, a narrative is created that answers the question: how did the Sienese people respond to the Black Death? This thesis examines the fears, confusion, doubts, and hopes these characters may have had, and how they responded within the agency and constraints they had within Sienese society.


Hettinger, Madonna




Medieval History

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Sarah J. Hammond