The Decameron was written by Giovanni Boccaccio, an Italian writer who lived from 1313-1375. It is the story of seven young women and three men who flee the city to go to the countryside to escape the deadly effects of the Black Plague, which was tearing through Italy at that time. While in the country, the ten people decide to tell stories to distract themselves from the horrors of the plague--each person tells ten stories, which equals 100 stories and is how the book came to be called the Decameron (deca meaning 10). The stories range from the funny to the raunchy to the ridiculous. Their purpose was to entertain the ten young people while they were there, but they also gave insight to what it as like to live during that time and what people found to be humorous.