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Article
August 1937

THE BIRTH OF SYPHILIS

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1937;36(2):325-330. doi:10.1001/archderm.1937.01480020081012

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Abstract

Livy of the "Annales," dipping his split nib into sepia, wrote a simple line: "Beyond the Alps lies Italy." He knew there was drama in these words, for none of his readers could think of the Alps without seeing Hannibal coming over the unknown passes. The Romans never learned how Hannibal got his elephants across the mountains, and they never forgot that after the slaughter at Cannae he sent home a bushel of gold rings stripped from the hands of their fallen nobles. It seems that the Alps were created for peaceful tourists to watch the sunrise. Whenever a warrior or monarch traversed the Alps, misfortune was sure to follow.

All this was known to the dark Lodovici Sforza, whom men called the Moor. With the blood of bandits in his veins, and himself the thief of Milan, he urged the boy king of France to emulate Hannibal. By dividing

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