Girolamo Fracastoro and the Origin of the Etymology of Syphilis

Authors: Luiz Alberto Peregrino Ferreira, Mariano Barthe Dupont, Gerolamo Fracastoro, Maurizio Rippa Bonati

In 1530, Girolamo Fracastoro, an illustrious Italian physician and poet, published a book about a disease that was then known as the “French disease”, which he named syphilis. Fracastoro’s book, Syphilis sive morbus Gallicus, was written as a poem in hexameters verses, using figures from Greek mythology that provided facts about the Spanish discovery of the New World in 1492. A thorough literature review of the historical facts and mythological figures mentioned in Fracastoro’s book enabled us to complete an in-depth analysis of the poem and understand some its smallest details. Hence, we propose a new hypothesis that the origin of the term Syphilis is based on the name Sypilus as well as the appearance of people who suffer from the disease.


Journal: Advances in Historical Studies
DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2017.63008 (PDF)
Paper Id: 79201 (metadata)

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