The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

Categories: Health and Medicine | History

Syphilis is a terrifying blow to the happy hedonism that Europe was famous for before the era of Puritanism. Who would have thought that sex tourism in the Caribbean and a grand orgy with several thousand prostitutes in Naples would turn into such a failure? The failure of the noses, including. But it all started somewhere. One day the world woke up after another night of love and realized: no more carefree fun, now you can die from sex or, worse, turn into a zombie.

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

In 1493, Columbus and his friends returned from the world's first tour of the Caribbean and brought gifts: a new way to India (actually not), land acquisitions for the crown, tobacco, coconuts, syphilis and tropical fruits. Of course, syphilis was an unplanned gift. Although it is possible that the Arawak Indians deliberately slipped the damaged goods to the whites.

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

Returning from the trip, infected, but still believing that "it will scratch and pass", sailors and soldiers began to do what befits sailors and soldiers. They started burning the doubloons they received in brothels and quickly went bankrupt. After that, the poor devils (and those who got infected through them) had no choice but to go back to work as mercenaries.

According to the Castilian doctor Rai Diaz de Isla, the world's first syphilis patient was Vincent Pinzon, who, if anything, was the captain of the "Ninya" — one of the three ships on which the Columbus crew discovered America.

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

Another serious trouble was just breaking out in Europe, so mercenaries were in price. The French king Charles VIII, who married 15-year-old Marie of Anjou, dreamed of winning her heart and at the same time becoming famous as a great conqueror. However, nothing came of it, everything turned out even worse than "it can't be worse."

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

Charles VIII had not only a funny face, but also some rights to Italian lands, so he equipped a campaign and went to conquer the Kingdom of Naples and everything that came along the way. In addition to the army of soldiers, consisting of 30 thousand people, he equipped an army of regimental prostitutes, of which there were at least eight hundred. Having taken care of his fighters, His Majesty did not forget about himself, taking with him a whole harem of ladies-in-waiting who were supposed to "help with the housework." The economy of the great commander did not remain inactive, so he set an infectious example to the troops.

At first, the campaign was excellent. Naples quickly fell at the feet of Charles, and he proclaimed himself king of the kingdoms of Naples and Jerusalem, as well as emperor of the East. What more can a man want at the age of 24? On the occasion of the incredible victory, the king and his troops staged a grandiose two-month orgy, which attracted thousands of prostitutes from all over Italy. In such an environment, even a couple of syphilis-sick nurses and soldiers would be enough to cause an epidemic. There were clearly more infected, and soon almost every third fighter in the glorious army was covered with ulcers.

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

The plague broke out like a bolt from the blue. It was like a plague, but much uglier and more terrible. It spread in an unknown way and immediately generated a lot of rumors.

Contemporaries of this plague reasoned as follows: if the Lord sent the plague for mortal sins, then a new, even more vile disease — for something much more disgusting. From here came the first two theories of the origin of syphilis. The first one said that this was punishment for the cannibalism that Karl's soldiers were engaged in. The second said that the reason was mass intercourse with horses. Although we understand: who needs horses if His Majesty invited thousands of the hottest Italian maidens to the party?

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

Luck turned against the French, the combined forces of Italians and Spaniards drove the syphilitic army back to France. Karl was put to shame and, to top it off, had smallpox, which disfigured his face. It would be logical and ironic if it was actually syphilis, but most likely it is not. Arriving home, the king set up his offspring, and no one had any problems with venereal disease, so he really had the sense to protect himself from this ailment.

Charles, who suffered a humiliating defeat, disbanded the troops, and with them the mercenaries, who poured into all corners of Europe, spreading the "love plague". The tsunami of the epidemic was so powerful that in just a decade and a half, syphilis spread throughout Eurasia and North Africa. In 1512, even the Japanese faced him, who, it would seem, tried with all their might to isolate themselves from the rest of the world.

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

As Voltaire said: "In their gullible campaign against Italy, the French acquired Genoa, Naples and syphilis. Then they were thrown back and lost Naples and Genoa, but syphilis remained with them."

By the way, King Charles VIII died a slightly unnatural death shortly after the disastrous expedition to Italy: he accidentally hit his head on the door jamb and smashed his head like an overripe pumpkin. Apparently, the courtiers were so dissatisfied with the fact that syphilis began to be called a "French disease" at the suggestion of their monarch that they did not even invent his death with fantasy, as, for example, in the case of the king's namesake, Charles the Evil.

Syphilis has changed the world much more than it may seem at first glance. It wasn't just another infection — he became a lever that moved mountains of history. Largely due to syphilis, the split of the church took place and Protestants came to success. Puritanism would not have found such a response in the hearts of the flock if it did not have a living (and sometimes no longer) confirmation of how the Lord punishes for a debauched life.

It is due to the fact that syphilis primarily has a detrimental effect on the hair, wigs have appeared, which have become the hallmark of Modern times. It is not surprising that humanity remembered and began to actively use another wonderful invention — condoms.

Similarly, the need to treat collapsed noses gave impetus to European surgery. The operation to restore the nose was done in a bizarre way: a piece of skin was cut from the patient's hand, but not completely — there had to be a flap connected to the body so that the blood vessels continued to supply this piece of skin with blood. Then the flap was applied to the nose, and the patient was forced to walk with his hand tied to his head until a piece of skin took root in place of the nose. The person who came up with this was either a genius or a madman.

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

It was syphilis that helped the Netherlands gain independence from Spain. The disease was one of the foundations of anti-Spanish propaganda: Dutch Protestants claimed that Catholics were the source of the infection and, having got rid of their oppression, it would be possible to defeat the disease.

Whatever it was, neither religious propaganda nor fear of a terrifying disease defeated syphilis. People continued to fornicate right and left, no matter what. Suffice it to say that in Renaissance Europe it generally became the main cause of death. Roughly speaking, the average European was more likely to die from syphilis than from wars, famine, other diseases, and even more so old age. Against this background, the fact that three of the popes supposedly had this shameful illness does not seem so surprising.

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

(which you can show off in the company)

The word "syphilis" has a curious (and rather obscene) origin story. It was invented by the doctor and poet Girolamo Fracastoro, who gave the name Syphilus (that is, "friend of pigs") to the hero of his poem. In it, the author told allegorically about the symptoms of the disease and presented his version of its origin: the shepherd Syphilus, longing for women, reclined with his pigs and was punished by the fastidious gods for this.

Everyone liked the story, and the infection began to be called "syphilis". Although before that she had many other sonorous nicknames: the black lion, Cupid's disease, the great smallpox, the venereal plague, and the Scots gave her the harsh name "grandgor", which is more suitable for this disease than the frivolous "syphilis".

The worst sex cruise in history: how syphilis got to Europe and changed history

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