A brief history of syphilis in the Czech Lands



Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Web http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12520-017-0558-6
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12520-017-0558-6
Keywords Syphilis; Czech Lands; Specific inflammations; Paleopathology
Description From the end of the fifteenth century, the massive expansion of syphilis had a distinct effect on the historical development of Europe. Due to this disease, firstly the numbers of the European population were reduced; thereafter, moral and ethical principles were significantly affected and the combat readiness of armies decreased. The disease forced new legislation which was of vital importance for the development of health services. The Czech Lands, located in Central Europe, were also no exception. The material presented summarises the available information on this disease obtained from written sources and from the study of direct evidence of skeletal remains from archaeological sites of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Traces of syphilitic bone affliction have observed in almost every large early modern osteological collection to date. A number of currently documented palaeopathological findings of syphilitic changes in bones from the Czech Lands do not by a long stretch correspond to the data presented in literary sources on the mass occurrence of this disease. The submitted study aims to extend current knowledge in this area and thereby to complete a complex view of the development of syphilis in Central Europe.