ERWIN PANOFSKY It is unusual, probably unique, for a new disease to receive its name neither from its pathognomical characteristics ("Poliomyelitis"), nor from its discoverer ("Parkinson's Disease"), nor from its place of origin ("Texas Fever"), nor from a saint supposed to specialize in curing it ("St. Anthony's Fire"), but from an imaginary character invented by a poet. Such, however, is the case with syphilis. In referring to this disease as a "new" one, I have given credence to the documents thus far available even though the diagnostic validity of these documents is not unanimously accepted. From ca. 1495, European literature resounds with terrified complaints about an ailment previously unknown. In one of the earliest, if not the earliest, recorded accounts - a letter sent by one Nicola Sallazio to one Ambrogio Rosati and dated Barcelona, June 18, 1495 - this ailment is called a "morbus qui nuper e Gallia defluxit in alias nationes"I. In one of the earliest, if not the earliest, circumstantial descriptions circulated in print, a broadsheet issued on August I, 1496 by a Nuremberg physician, Theodorus Ulsenius ( I), it is referred to as a "nuper inaudita scabies" or "ignota pestis" which no one can
Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1961
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