European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 1151–1157

Syphilis in composers and musicians—Mozart, Beethoven, Paganini, Schubert, Schumann, Smetana


DOI: 10.1007/s10096-008-0571-x

Cite this article as:
Franzen, C. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis (2008) 27: 1151. doi:10.1007/s10096-008-0571-x


In the pre-antibiotics era, syphilis was an extremely common disease. The first well-recorded European outbreak of what is now known as syphilis occurred in 1494, when it appeared among French troops besieging Naples. Thereafter, the disease spread all over Europe and, in the 18th and 19th centuries, many artists became victims of syphilis, among them poets, painters, philosophers, and musicians and composers. This review presents biographies of several musicians and composers that probably suffered from syphilis.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Internal Medicine IUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany