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FRACASTORIUS, THE POET OF SYPHILIS

JAMA. 1963;186(6):593-594. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710060079020.
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Hieronymus Fracastorius, an important figure of the Italian Renaissance, was born of well-to-do parents in Verona, at that time a vassal of Venice and without a university. Although historians and biographers do not agree on the precise year of his birth, the census records at Verona suggest 1478 as the closest approximation. His death in 1553, from a stroke, is firmly documented. He studied at nearby Padua, the great university of the late Renaissance, which, in its best years, had Galileo, Vesalius, Fallopius, Fabricius, Sanctorius, and others as teachers and Harvey as a student. The brilliant scholarship of Fracastorius was soon recognized, and he was invited to sit with the learned men on the faculty, holding the position of lecturer in logic for several years.

Caught up in the strife of a long local war and possessed with the responsibilities of a family, he entered upon the practice of medicine

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