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Great Balls Of Fire! (Known Syphilitics)

King Henry VIII of England
King George I of Great Britain
King Francis I of France
King Frederick the Great of Prussia
King Herod of Judea
Czar Ivan "the Terrible"
Czar Paul I
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Leo X
Emperor Commodus
Emperor Tiberius
Adolf Hitler
Julius Caesar
Benito Mussolini
Thomas Aquinas
Johann Sebastian Bach
Charles Bandelaire
Al Capone
Randolph Churchill
Captain James Cook
Hernan Cortez
Frederick Delius
Albrecht Durer
Desiderius Erasmus
Paul Gauguin
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Francisco Goya
Heinrich Heine
John Keats
Ferdinand Magellan
Guy de Maupassant
John Milton
Edonard Monet
Friedrich Nietzsche
Arthur Schopenhauer
Franz Schubert
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
Jonathan Swift
Oscar Wilde

Syphilis was long thought to have originated in the Americas and to have begun its spread around the world after Columbus's voyage in 1492. The disease may have been in Europe before Columbus, but it became commonplace after the arrival of new strains from the New World. The first European epidemic broke out in 1494, spread in part by retreating French troops after the siege of Naples.

Whatever its origins, the disease swept through the European population in the sixteenth century At its peak in the nineteenth century syphilis affected as much as 15 percent of the adult population of Europe and North America, but it has largely died out since the development of penicillin in the 1940s. While it is impossible to retrospectively diagnose with complete accuracy there is evidence that syphilis afflicted everyone on this list.

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