Underculture  & History From Below

Religious Orders

Flagellants self-flagellating. Ink on Lining Paper. 2018. Photograph (at an angle) from 'Stu-Manity & The Social, Cultural And Economic Shifts Of The Medieval Period (Before, During & After 1348 - 1665)' exhibition.



During the Black Death of 1348, flagellants would visit many towns across Europe, self-flagellating as they went, to rid the world of the plague believed by them to be a punishment from God for their sins. Once they had arrived in a particular town or village, and after performing the ritualistic whipping in a circular fashion, they would fall to the ground and adopt such positions as: lying face up or face down, or hold 3 fingers in the air depending on their supposed sin. They were also forbidden to wash themselves for the duration of the pilgrimage, which provided another breeding ground for the plague.