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Term: syphilis

Literally meaning: “swine  love”

Origin: Anc Greek
συς/sys(=sow, swine)
+φιλία/philia (=philia, combining form meaning “affection”, “friendship” or “mutual love”) >>φιλέω/phileo (verb meaning  “love”, “kiss”, “have tenderness for”) > πίλναμαι/pilnamai(=contact, approach)

The scientific etymology of syphilis is disputed.  The ancient Greek word συς/sys as also the word  χείρος/choiros (piglet)  were in an obscene  sense used  for female genitalia. The most known etymology is reffered to the shepherd hero of the poem Syphilis, , sive morbus Gallicus who is supposed to have been the first victim of the disease. The poem was  written by the Reneaissance physician Girolamo Fracastoro  (1478-1553) that was published in 1530. It has been suggested that Fracastoro borrowed it from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. According Ovid Sipylus is the oldest son of the Niobe, who lived not far from Mount Sipylon in Asia Minor. The disease was known also as Spanish disease (because Colombus’ sailors supposed brought it back from the New World) the German disease or Neapolitan (Italian) disease. Fracastoro in his book “De contagione”, tells that in his country the disease was called the “French disease” because it was thought that it had been spread by French soldiers during their war in Italy.  However , it was not until the 18th century that the name was more commonly used. The name was first found in a venereologic textbook in 1717, :Syphilis, A practical dissertation on veneral disease” by Daniel Turner (1667-1740).
(Sourses: R.J.Schork,  Greek and Hellenic Culture in Joyce,  1998,
N Thyresson, Intern J of Dermatology, 34, 2007)

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by spirochete (Treponema pallidum). There are three stages of syphilis disease that includes the primary stage (formation of a chancre), the secondary stage (characrerised by hair loss, rash, sore throat and fever and warts on the genitals) and the tertiary stage (characterised by damage in internal organs as brain and heart). 

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