Author Affiliations: National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Mangone, Cosenza, Italy.
Since the beginning of 15th century, some physicians have believed that syphilis was caused by atmospheric calamities or the plight of the person1; therefore, syphilis was called malattia estiva or mala dispositio.2 In 1539, an anonymous book published in Lyon, France, “Le triumphe de treshaulte et puissante Dame Vérolle, royne du puy d’amours: nouvellement composé par l’inventeur de menus plaisirs honnestes,” depicted on the title page many miserable syphilitic men following a lean and exhausted horse carrying a woman dressed in rags (the “royne du puy d’amours”).3
Tagarelli A, Tagarelli G, Lagonia P, Piro A. Terms for Syphilis Between the 16th and the 20th Centuries. Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(9):1036. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2012.1609