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IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 603: Syphilis, the Death of Emperor Maximilian I in 1519, and the Aftermath

Tuesday 14 July 2009, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main / Medieval Centre, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń
Organiser:Sieglinde Hartmann, Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main
Moderator/Chair:Sieglinde Hartmann, Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main
Paper 603-aSyphillis: A Contemporary View on the Biology and Pathology of a Disease with Tremendous Individual and Historical Implications
(Language: English)
Jan Cemper-Kiesslich, Interfakultärer Fachbereich Gerichtsmedizin und Forensische Neuropsychiatrie, Universität Salzburg
Index terms: Daily Life, Medicine
Paper 603-bThe Dying Emperor and the Destiny of Europe
(Language: English)
Jarosław Wenta, Instytut Historii i Archiwistyki, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń
Index terms: Politics and Diplomacy

In 2009, specialists of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Times will celebrate a double anniversary of Emperor Maximilian I: his birth in 1459 and his death in 1519. As is well known, this German Emperor was among the first rulers to glorify his person on a large scale of publicity using all traditional means of symbolic self representation such as architecture and fine arts, but also the new print media. During his early years, Maximilian was perfectly able to scope with the idealized images created by his own writings as well by encomiums of his entourage. His last years however had been overshadowed by severe internal diseases, amongst them his infection with syphilis. The speakers of the session will deal with the impact of this venereal disease on Maximilian's self, his courtly entourage and the imperial politics at his death. The first speaker will provide a medical analysis of this major venereal disease in Early Modern Europe. The second speaker will try to elucidate which strategies the Emperor and his entourage used to dissimulate his dishonouring infection of which Dürer's last portrait drawn in 1518, did not show any symptoms. The final paper is aimed to draw a conclusion opening up the view on the impact Emperor Maximilian's death had on European politics.