Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Syphilitic "Zombies" Wandered the Streets of Italy During the High Renaissance

When most people picture the High Renaissance, they probably imagine Italian folks in posh clothes admiring the works of da Vinci, Michelangelo, and others. What they do not usually picture is this:
Albrecht Durer
"Naw, man, I'm clean. Now hurry up, I got other clients."
Yes, while Renaissance Florence may have been a good place for the arts (and parkour, if Assassin's Creed II is to be believed), at the same time, Italy experienced something more closely akin to a zombie movie during the first major outbreak of syphilis in 1494. Yeah, before antibiotics, this particular STD was less "secret shame" and more "literally rots your fucking face off." According to one description, the disease (which may have been carried over from New World cooters to Naples bumholes via French dongs) "caused flesh to fall from people's faces, and led to death within a few months." More specifically, the outbreak caused "the complete destruction of the lips, others of the nose, and others of all their genitals."
Meaning, it was not out of place to see victims shambling around who had lost "hands, feet, eyes, and noses to the disease." So if today's Renaissance fairs were accurate, about half the people would look like Walking Dead extras.
Hemera Technologies/ Images
As though we needed another reason to want to shoot them.
As horrifying as the thought of having undead genitalia may seem, the worst part is actually the phrase "within a few months" -- that means that the afflicted somehow lived for months in this condition, the whole time screaming with pain as their flesh "was eaten away, in some cases down to the bone." Which is appropriate, because "the bone" is why you get syphilis in the first place.
In short, for a brief period during the time of the great Renaissance masters, it was common to see people, never mind a whole army of Frenchmen, walking around with their faces falling off their exposed skulls until they finally dropped dead. Why the fuck wasn't this in Assassin's Creed II?
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