Notable Notes
Nov 2011

Greek and Roman Myths Recognized in Naming Syphilis

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Mangone (Cosenza), Italy.

Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(11):1316. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.353

In early times, some physicians named syphilis for Greek and Roman myths as a way to explain the difficulty in overcoming the disease. Guillaume Rondelet (1507-1566) called syphilis Hydra's disease for the Greek mythological monster Hydra from Lerna, which had 9 heads, with the one in the middle being immortal. Gervais U çay (17th century) named the numerous symptoms and clinical features of syphilis Proteus ’disease after the Greek divinity, who was able to change his appearance according to circumstance.

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview