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The relation between the names and designations of syphilis in the 16th century and its clinical gravity
  1. A Tagarelli1,
  2. P Lagonia1,
  3. G Tagarelli1,
  4. A Quattrone2,
  5. A Piro1
  1. 1National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Mangone (Cosenza), Italy
  2. 2Institute of Neurology, ‘Magna Graecia’ University, Catanzaro, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Antonio Tagarelli, National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Contrade Burga 87050 Mangone (Cosenza), Italy; a.tagarelli{at}

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In this letter we describe the names and designations used to describe the symptoms and signs of syphilis by physicians and men of letters from the late 15th century. Pedro Pintor calls it a ‘disgusting and hidden disease’; he shows that the disease is not present in infancy, and rarely in old age, and affects both male and female pudenda. The seriousness of the disease is confirmed by Jean Molinet: ‘a violent, horrible, and abominable disease is spread…’. Marin Sanudo calls it a …

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  • Contribution of each author to the manuscript: AT: drafting of the manuscript; study concept and design. PL and GT: acquisition of data. AP and AQ: study supervision (AP: original text, first and second revisions; AQ: first and revised versions).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.