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Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

 

According to the belief which is now tending to prevail, syphilis was 

brought to Europe at the end of the fifteenth century by the first 

discoverers of America. In Seville, the chief European port for America, 

it was known as the Indian disease, but when Charles VIII and his army 

first brought it to Italy in 1495, although this connection with the 

French was only accidental, it was called the Gallic disease, "a monstrous 

disease," said Cataneus, "never seen in previous centuries and altogether 

unknown in the world." 

 

The synonyms of syphilis were at first almost innumerable. It was in his 

Latin poem _Syphilis sive Morbus Gallicus_, written before 1521 and 

published at Verona in 1530, that Fracastorus finally gave the disease its 

now universally accepted name, inventing a romantic myth to account for 

its origin. 

 

Although the weight of authoritative opinion now seems to incline 

towards the belief that syphilis was brought to Europe from 

America, on the discovery of the New World, it is only within 

quite recent years that that belief has gained ground, and it 

scarcely even yet seems certain that what the Spaniards brought 

back from America was really a disease absolutely new to the Old 

World, and not a more virulent form of an old disease of which 

the manifestations had become benign. Buret, for instance (_Le 

Syphilis Aujourd'hui et chez les Anciens_, 1890), who some years 

ago reached "the deep conviction that syphilis dates from the 

creation of man," and believed, from a minute study of classic 

authors, that syphilis existed in Rome under the Caesars, was of 

opinion that it has broken out at different places and at 

different times, in epidemic bursts exhibiting different 

combinations of its manifold symptoms, so that it passed 

unnoticed at ordinary times, and at the times of its more intense 

manifestation was looked upon as a hitherto unknown disease. It 

was thus regarded in classic times, he considers, as coming from 

Egypt, though he looked upon its real home as Asia. Leopold Glueck 

has likewise quoted (_Archiv fuer Dermatologie und Syphilis_, 

January, 1899) passages from the medical epigrams of a sixteenth 

century physician, Gabriel Ayala, declaring that syphilis is not 

really a new disease, though popularly supposed to be so, but an 

old disease which has broken out with hitherto unknown violence. 

There is, however, no conclusive reason for believing that 

syphilis was known at all in classic antiquity. A.V. Notthaft 

("Die Legende von der Althertums-syphilis," in the Rindfleisch 

_Festschrift_, 1907, pp. 377-592) has critically investigated the 

passages in classic authors which were supposed by Rosenbaum, 

Buret, Proksch and others to refer to syphilis. It is quite 

true, Notthaft admits, that many of these passages might possibly 

refer to syphilis, and one or two would even better fit syphilis 

than any other disease. But, on the whole, they furnish no proof 

at all, and no syphilologist, he concludes, has ever succeeded in 

demonstrating that syphilis was known in antiquity. That belief 

is a legend. The most damning argument against it, Notthaft 

points out, is the fact that, although in antiquity there were 

great physicians who were keen observers, not one of them gives 

any description of the primary, secondary, tertiary, and 

congenital forms of this disease. China is frequently mentioned 

as the original home of syphilis, but this belief is also quite 

without basis, and the Japanese physician, Okamura, has shown 


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