Modern medicine is a beautiful thing.
In 1495 Europe was hit with an acutely horrendous disease: syphilis. As it was a completely new disease being introduced to the population, the people of Europe had no resistance mechanisms to the grossness that was syphilis. And when I say gross, I mean it, people. Those first several years, before eventually being replaced by milder strains, the disease– also known as “The Great Pox” or “The French Disease” — manifested itself in its victims in truly grotesque ways.
The following description was written by Ulrich Von Hutton (1519), a syphilis sufferer:
“… truly when it first began, it was so horrible to behold that one would scarce think that the Disease that now reigneth to be of the same kind. They had Boils that stood out like Acorns, from whence issued such filthy stinking Matter, that whosever came within the Scent, believed himself infected. The Colour of these was a dark Green and the very Aspect as shocking as the pain itself, which yet was as if the Sick had been laid upon a fire.”
Other reported symptoms included ulcerations at the part of the body first infected… often the genitals. Necrosis appeared on different parts of the body, very often on the face. Ulcerated lesions erupted everywhere. Lips and noses would literally be eaten away down to the bone, giving the appearance of people’s noses “falling off”.
Sadly, people could live like this for many months before death.
And they walked the streets like this.
I can’t even imagine…