World history of syphilis

World history of syphilis

Syphilis — a disease studied far and wide. But until now scientists around the world can not come to a consensus, where did this disease and how to capture the entire planet. Haiti and Africa, America and India … For the right to be the birthplace of syphilis can not argue fewer seats than the right to be called a city, the birthplace of Homer.

Who is to blame?

In March 1494 the mighty Charles VIII, collecting huge by the standards of the time, the army, the government has declared war on Naples and moved his troops to the south. Among his soldiers and sailors were from the ships of Christopher Columbus, who returned recently from South America. The occupation of the territories of Italian troops of Charles VIII, among whom were many syphilitic, contributed to, for obvious reasons, the spread of the disease among the civilian population in the occupied territories. Historian of that time, Pietro Bembo, described the situation: "Soon, the city occupied by aliens, because of the influence of light and Contague started fierce disease, dubbed "Gallic".

Attempts to record disease on account of the sins of foreigners were very specific to the situation at the time. This trend is clearly seen in the names of the disease, which gave him the Europeans in the late XV and the beginning of the XVI century. In Spain, syphilis — los bubas — called "Gallic disease." In France, in addition to the national la variole syphilis called Neapolitan disease. The Germans considered it the French and the Greeks — Syrian. Syphilis at the time was also known as the Italian, Venetian, Castilian, Portuguese, Turkish, Polish and even Kurland disease.

Hearing about a new dangerous disease quickly has come to Moscow. Ivan III, in 1499 sending to Lithuania Mamonova boyars Ivan's son, asked him, being Viazma, scout, who did not come to a disease in which the body is covered with sores and called French.

This discordance in the title of a new disease is declining only since 1530, when the light comes in later became a very well-known treatise on syphilis, a professor of the University of Padua, a physician, astronomer and poet Girolamo Fracastoro (1483-1553). He created the poem Syphilis, or the Gallic disease, in fact, becoming the first popularizer of medical knowledge about the disease. Hodivshimi in manuscripts talented Girolamo lines were read not only professionals, but also ordinary citizens, necessarily partaking of medical wisdom. Frakastoro work was written in the form of a mythological poem, in which a simple swineherd named Sifil (g suv — pig, jilov — each) defies the gods themselves, claiming that the kings of the earth more noble and rich cattle owners than the gods of Olympus. Skylords Sifila award for the rage of a serious illness, whose name is made on his behalf. So "multinational" the disease (called yet, "syphilis" from the Latin. lues— Infection) acquired its present name.

Let's go back to history. After the end of the Neapolitan campaign of Charles VIII of its troops disperse to their homes, spreading through Europe pathogens dangerous disease. According to some historical sources of the time, a few years after the capture of Naples by Charles VIII half of Europe is infected with the French disease. Even if these data are somewhat exaggerated, leaves no doubt that the disease affects various sections of society. Everybody knows that Pope Paul III specifically invites Frakastoro from Padua to Trident and asks him to become the chief physician of the city, as the disease has spread among the members of the High Council of Trent.


How much was the new disease, the epidemic that Europeans faced at the end of the XV century.? There are at least three theories.

Number 1

The first is that the disease was brought to Europe from South America sailors of Columbus. In America, the disease is endemic spirochetosis some local ungulates. For example, llamas, from which bacteria can enter the body of natives, and from them — to the sailors. (Many scholars see this as evidence of bestiality). This view is supported by some historical chronicles, reported cases of syphilis in the port cities of Spain in 1493 that is just after the triumphant return of the ships of Columbus from the New World.

The further spread of new scourge in Europe contributed to the military expedition of Charles VIII, who served as a kind of epidemic vectors directed to the central and northern parts of the European continent from Spain and Italy.

It is unlikely, however, this hypothesis of the origin of syphilis is correct, as a doctor, William Wallace in 1842 reported that the Irish for centuries before the epidemic in 1495 was known to the French disease pustules, described as very similar to thesyphilis. Is also well known that in the pre-Columbian era of syphilis sore Popes Alexander VI, Julius II and Leo XI, as well as known French poet Francois Villon. The disease before Columbus' voyage for 23 years, suffered a Francesco Delgado near Genoa. Consequently, most syphilis could be entered from Europe to America, and not vice versa!

Number 2

According to the second view, TPHA thrive in Europe since prehistoric times. Moreover, there is plenty of evidence. Back in the Egyptian Ebers papyrus describes uhedu disease resembling syphilis to symptoms.

On clay tablets of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal Library, discovered in the vicinity of Nineveh, was written in cuneiform legend of King Nimrod, who refused to marry his betrothed gods Astarte (Ishtar) and did not hesitate to kill the bull, who arrived with the news of this on the ground. As punishment, the gods struck Nimrod obstinate disease that was all over his body rashes and sores appear. One of the myths of ancient Greece, talks about punishing the Athenians disease genitals for their lack of due respect to the iconic image of the divine phallus Dionysus.

It seems that some of the gods of the peoples considered the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among the people as a very effective pedagogical tool. Punished them and sometimes their own. So, overly fond of the pleasures of earthly women Hindu god Shiva was punished for his faithfulness by his own colleagues in the pantheon. His genitals were destroyed by heavenly fire, which was then transmitted from women to men. It is possible that in this case we are talking about syphilis. Curiously, it treated as described in the sacred Vedas, the proposed solutions of mercuric chloride, calomel and cinnabar — mercury that is drugs.

Similar recipes have been found in ancient Chinese manuscripts, dating from 2600 BC and discovered in 1863 by the French consul Dabra in China. They formed in syphilis chancre called kan-tu, and helping with the disease mercury powder Shun-in.

Just as the ancient references to the prevalence of syphilis detected and Soviet archaeologists dug up the remains of people in the Trans-Baikal region, with its characteristic bone lesions of syphilis, dating to the second millennium BC

Classic and founder of European medicine Hippocrates in four centuries BC accurately described the symptoms of syphilis. He was later echoed by Plutarch and Horace, points to the scars and sores that appear on the faces of depraved people. Biographer Gaius Suetonius Roman Caesars tranquill mentioned or similar skin diseases emperor Octavian and Tiberius, and the Roman physician Claudius Galen described some of the symptoms of syphilis in his writings. Turned his attention to skin diseases with similar symptoms of syphilis and Abu Ali Husain ibn Abdallah ibn Hasan ibn Ali ibn Sina, better known to Europeans as Avicenna.

Thus, the credibility of all known fathers of European and Oriental Medicine claimed that syphilis is at least as ancient disease, as well as medicine itself.

Number 3

Finally, according to the third point of view, is as old as mankind syphilis. In any case, and the human race, and the disease have a single cradle — central Africa. At the present time, there can be found a whole bunch of diseases caused by different treponemes. In addition to classic venereal syphilis, Treponema pallidum in Africa found Treponema carateum, which is the cause of the disease, which in the local dialect called pint. Among the Bushmen known bejel disease, is caused by spirochete Treponema bejol. Finally, what is especially interesting in Africa opened pathogens nevenericheskogo syphilis — the so-called yaws, which often suffer from the pygmies. Syphilis is caused by this tropical another treponemoy — Treponema pertenue.

We can say that a pint bejel and yaws endemic African treponematoses, meaning they are specific to those parts of Africa where there are from time immemorial to this day. Probably the most ancient species of human syphilis is caused by bacteria that live exclusively on the skin. They used a sweat allocation as a food substrate. Then adapted to life in the wounds and skin lesions, and their transfer was carried out entirely by casual contact. At this historical stage of development stopped the bacteria causing syphilis nevenerichesky African — yaws.

Finally, some Treponema overcome the immune barrier host organism and successfully infiltrated his bloodstream and lymphatic system. In this case, the agents had to find a new way of infecting their victims. In the era of doshpritsevuyu the only reliable way to transfer agent contained in the blood and interstitial fluid, had sexual intercourse with his master. Such a win-win situation was brilliantly realized one of the varieties of African treponem, resulting in a sexually transmitted disease, a new man — syphilis.


Considering the above facts and considerations, it can be concluded that syphilis is as ancient history as the human race itself. Out of Africa, he was posted to the whole world through natural migrations, the Crusades, the export of slaves and trade development.

In fact, many sources mention Frakastoro, but do not tell the legend to the end. So: one shepherd named Syphilis their taunts angered the god of the sun, and he instructed his ailment is not poddavavschimsya any treatment. However nymph devoted shepherd in their ordinances, and led him to a grove of trees, medicinal gvayyakovyh, Sulphur Springs, and the mercury lake. Accurate therapy! Do you know how this name was a nymph? You'll never guess! Her name was America!

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