Tag Archives: Girolamo Fracastoro

Did Macbeth have syphilis?

Eleanor J. Molloy Dublin, Ireland   Gerard De Lairesse suffered from congenital syphilis. Image: Portrait of Gerard de Lairesse. Rembrandt van Rijn. 1665–67. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain. Introduction Syphilis was endemic in Elizabethan England and it was estimated that nearly 20% of the population of London were infected.1 The signs and symptoms […]

Fracastorius, the man who named syphilis

Titian (1528), National Gallery, London One of the great names in medical history, Girolamo Fracastoro appears in the National Gallery painting by Titian in full regalia. We owe him the name syphilis, derived from his poem (1530) Syphilis sive morbus gallicus (“Syphilis or The French Disease”) in which a shepherd boy named Syphilus was punished […]