Origin of syphilisModern Latin from Syphilis sive Morbus Gallicus, literally , Syphilis or the French disease, title of a poem (1530) by Girolamo Fracastoro: after the hero Syphilus, a shepherd
A sexually transmitted disease that causes an ulcer on the genitals is an example ofsyphilis.
Origin of syphilisNew Latin from Syphilis, sive Morbus Gallicus “Syphilis, or the French Disease,” title of a poem by Girolamo Fracastoro (1478?-1553) from Syphilus the poem's protagonist Word History: When syphilis began to ravage Europe in the late 1400s, it was described with such terms as the “Neapolitan disease,” “Spanish disease,” and “French disease,” according to national prejudices of the person discussing the illness. In 1530, the Veronese physician and poet Girolamo Fracastoro offered Europeans a mythological scapegoat in his long Latin poem Syphilis, sive Morbus Gallicus (“Syphilis, or the French Disease.”) In the poem's opening section, Fracastoro argues that the disease was introduced to Europe by the French, but he also adds at the end of the poem two mythological tales written in the style of the Roman poet Ovid and giving supernatural accounts of its origin and supposed cures. In one of these tales, Spanish sailors who have landed in the Americas become infected with syphilis after killing Apollo's sacred parrots. In the other tale, a group of natives tell the sailors the story of a shepherd, Syphilus, who had seen his flock suffering from heat and thirst and cursed the sun god Apollo. The god then afflicted Syphilus with sores, and the scourge spread from him throughout the land. The people of the shepherd's country began to call the disease syphilis, a word formed in Latin from the shepherd's name Syphilus. Eventually, it was decided that the only way to end the plague was to sacrifice Syphilus to Apollo, but Juno interceded, had Syphilus spared, and gave the people a cure, the guaiacum tree. The source of the shepherd's name Syphilus itself is not known, but it has been suggested that Fracastoro adapted it from Ovid's Metamorphoses. In this work, Sipylus is one of the sons of Niobe, a noble woman of Asia Minor who boasted that she was more worthy of honor than the goddess Leto, mother of Artemis and Apollo. Leto had borne only two children, said Niobe, while she herself had fourteen fine sons and daughters. To punish the insult, Artemis and Apollo slew Niobe's children, and Niobe was transformed into a rock on a mountain also called Sipylus, located near the modern city of Izmir, Turkey. (Perhaps Fracastoro intended the name Syphilus to evoke associations with the wrath of Apollo, whose arrows caused plagues.) Eventually, Fracastoro came to recognize that guaiacum was not an effective cure for the “French disease,” but he continued to use syphilis as a name for it in De Contagione, (“On Contagion”), an influential work in which he proposed that disease spreads by the transfer of minute disease-causing particles, either directly or by sharing contaminated objects—an important step in the development of the modern germ theory of disease.
Modern Latin, originally the title of a poem by Girolamo Fracastoro concerning "Syphilus", the supposed first sufferer of the disease.
- The spread of syphilis, a disease equally unknown to the ancients, and the failure of Galen's remedies to cure it, had a similar effect.
- Nevertheless the resemblance between the biology of this organism in relation to syphilis (as regards mode of infection, habitat, &c.) and that of Trypanosoma equiperdum, the cause of dourine or " horse-syphilis," may not be without significance.
- Thus the liability to tubercular infection is far commoner in the midst of a depraved population than in one fulfilling the primary laws of nature; rickets is a disease of great cities rather than of rural districts; and syphilis is more disastrous and protracted in its course in the depraved in health than in the robust.
- A distinction must be drawn between the above and diseases, like syphilis and small-pox, in which the contagion of, not the tendency to, the disease is transmitted directly to the foetus in utero.
- Amyloid develops in various organs and tissues and is commonly associated with chronic phthisis, tubercular disease of bone and joints, and syphilis (congenital and acquired).