We're going to have a pop quiz today (No, it's not because Father's Day
Of the following items, which one does not belong in the series:
Poet John Milton, General Philip Schuyler, Henry VIII, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Tyrannosaurus Rex, painter Winslow Homer.
Is this a trick question? Would I do that? Of course I would.
I'll explain. We've all seen him. Wealthy, likes his food exceedingly well,
uses a cane or walking stick on the few occasions he stands. He has a huge
bandage on one foot which everyone manages to either hit, trip over, or
drop things on. The sufferer of the gout has been familiar to us in cartoons
and silent comedies and stage farces for hundreds of years. Shakespeare's
Sir John Falstaff cries out, "A pox of this gout! or, a gout of this
pox! for the one or the other plays the rogue with my great toe."
We hear the word gout and some of us immediately think of Henry VIII. Other
famous people have suffered from this disease, including English clinician
Thomas Sycamore Sydenham, who was the first to differentiate between acute
rheumatism and gout, back in the 17th Century. The condition is caused by
deposits of crystals of uric acid in body tissues, especially in bone joints,
causing extremely painful inflammations. It was probably a contributing
factor in the death of John Milton. Philip Schuyler, New York State general
of the American Revolution had it.
In the religious wars in Germany during the 1540s, Charles V, suffering
from the condition, hobbled all over Europe for several months, from Regensburg
to Landshut to Ingolstadt to Ulm. Warming his aching limbs in a movable
wooden room heated by a stove, he made his tortured way from Nordlingen
back to Regensburg, then to Eger then, spending 21 straight hours in the
saddle, to Muehlberg, where he finally accepted the surrender of the Landgrave
So how about our quiz?
Recently the Rochester, New York, Democrat & Chronicle carried
an item from Youngstown, Ohio's Arthritis Center of Northeast Ohio, where
Bruce Rothschild reported finding evidence that Tyrannosaurus Rex suffered
from the gout. He did eat a lot of red meat.
As far as we know, Winslow Homer did not suffer from gout. So he's our odd
For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.
© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte
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