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February 13, 1904

The Birth and Origin of Syphilis.

JAMA. 1904;XLII(7):476-477. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02490520066016

Baltimore, Jan. 28, 1904.

To the Editor:  —I was surprised to find in The Journal, January 9, the following statement by Dr. Knott regarding "The Birth and Origin of Syphilis": "While so much mythologic lore remains connected with the origin of the great epidemic of syphilis which swept Europe at that date (the siege of Naples), it is no matter for surprise that the question of the existence of the disease in ancient times still remains a matter of dispute."The fact is, venereal diseases embrace all periods of man's existence. It existed long before the Christian era, and all through the period of classical antiquity. It flourished in the free republics of Greece, and under the corrupt sway of the Roman emperors. The scholar should read the Fathers as authorities for the history of venereal disease, for their "Orationes Contra Gentes" especially afford much valuable material toward a knowledge

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