At the beginning of the sixteenth century, syphilis was a new disease in Europe. It did not even have a name yet. To the Italians it was the “French disease” (morbus gallicus). The name of this illness was coined by the polymath scholar Girolamo Fracastoro in his three-book epic poem, Syphilis, sive morbus gallicus (Syphilis, or the French Disease), first published in 1530. The poem included the story about a shepherd named Syphilis who was punished with a horrible disease for insulting Apollo.