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Zombies were a real thing in the medieval past, and that was no big deal

A group of decaying flesh eating zombies. Vector illustration.

People associate zombies with pop culture. Every other show on Netflix and Amazon Prime has scores of zombies threatening the existence of the human race. However, you may not realize that the idea of zombies was actually inspired by real life.

There was a time when Zombies walked among us. In the streets of Italy.

The year was 1494. Italy was basking in the glory of the Renaissance. There were flamboyant dresses, parties, and promiscuity. Philosophy was at its peak and artists were free to express their creativity in their works. It was a time of great learning, art, and culture– and diseases.

Italy’s renaissance had a dark side. With resources, people were fulfilled and happy, and with more resources, the Italians started venturing out to foreign lands in a quest for gold and glory.

However, when the sailors returned, along with gold and glory, they brought foreign, unknown diseases.

So they brought home– Gold, Glory and, Syphilis

The real source of syphilis that crippled Europe’s renaissance is much debated upon. The English and Italians called it “the French disease”, the French called it the “Disease of Naples”, the Russians called it the “Polish disease”, the Polish and the Persians called it the “Turkish disease”, the Turkish called it the “Christian disease”.  In India it was called the “Portuguese disease”, in Japan it was called the “Chinese pox”, and there are some references to it being called the “Persian fire”.

The effects of Syphilis were so horrendous that it made their own pox disease minuscule. They demoted their own pox disease to ‘Small Pox’ and upgraded Syphilis to ‘The Great Pox’

Nevertheless, the disease which was called the ‘The Great pox’ spread to the whole of Europe. With no antibiotics and cure, the pace of the disease remained unchecked and sent Europe to a near-doomsday experience.

The effects of the disease were nasty.

The skin on victims’ faces would essentially rot away from the disease ’s gruesome ulcers. In some cases, the noses, lips, or other body parts of the affected people were essentially gone, and several of the victims eventually died from the disease. It didn’t even spare the balls, which is generally expected of Syphilis.

It was not uncommon to see noblemen and peasant alike on the streets of Venice missing parts of their face, with rotting flesh and exposed muscle and bone.  Patients would drag themselves around and body parts would literally drop off them.

So while there was a lot to love about the Renaissance in Europe like the art and whatnot, the syphilis outbreak was basically the real-world version of the zombie apocalypse.

The Directors of The Walking Dead probably knew this.


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