Skip to comments.Gout Forced Charles V Abdication, Study Finds
Posted on 08/03/2006 3:33:43 PM PDT by blam
Gout forced Charles V abdication, study finds
By Gene Emery
BOSTON (Reuters) - Tests of a 500-year-old pinky finger confirm that Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was debilitated by gout and the painful joints it produces, Spanish researchers reported on Wednesday.
Jaume Ordi of the University of Barcelona and colleagues used a microscope to examine the tip of one of Charles' pinkie fingers, which was preserved separately from his body in a small red velvet box.
After rehydrating and slicing the mummified fingertip, the Ordi team found telltale signs of gout, including the buildup of uric acid crystals.
At the height of his 40-year reign from 1516 to 1556, Charles V controlled lands in Europe, Africa and Asia and even conquered parts of the Inca Kingdom of Peru and the Aztec Empire of Mexico.
"Despite this power, Charles V had to live within the limitations of very intense arthritic pain for most of his adult life and needed, for example, a special chair for transportation," the researchers wrote.
"His physical suffering influenced decisions that affected the future of many countries," they added.
"His physicians recommended that he follow a strict diet, but the emperor had a voracious appetite, especially for meat. He also liked to drink large quantities of beer and wine, and he even ordered a specially designed four-handled drinking mug."
The condition became so severe and distracting, it probably prompted him to put off military action against the French city of Metz, which prevented him from conquering it in 1552, according to historians. That failure, and possibly his illness, led him to abdicate to his brother, Ferdinand I, four years later.
"Charles V was only 58 years of age at his death, probably from malaria, in 1558, but he seemed an old and crippled man who could barely walk or use his hands," the researchers wrote.
Historically, gout has been regarded as a disease of the rich because the foods that increase the risk have usually only been available in quantity to the wealthy.
The concept of a Roman Empire was resurrected in the 17th century after the ancient Roman Empire had fallen centuries before.
"Charles V was only 58 years of age at his death, probably from malaria..."
Malaria in England?
Wait a second! I'll be 58 in November! And I like beer, wine, and red meat (though I have no need of a four-handled tankard).
You mean.....? Me and Charles V? Geez, this is going to be one h--- of a crash!
And I never even got to rule Europe or threaten France.
Charles V ruled the Holy Roman Empire, which at the time covered parts of Europe where Malaria wouldn't be unheard of. Modern mosquito control has wiped out Europe's Malaria problem these days, but Italy in Charles V's time would have been a hotbed of Malaria-carrying mosquitos.
Gout? The Port Wine will do it every time.
Charles V of Spain. And yes, malaria wasn't just tropical, before DDT.
The Holy Roman Empire had been around a lot longer than that, at least since Charlemagne.
Yup. What was I thinking.
Probably got it from the Diet of Worms.
< /lutheran pun >
"Shivering with the ague" in contemporary accounts usually referred to malaria.
Used to be here in US as well.
His physicians recommended that he follow a strict diet, but the emperor had a voracious appetite, especially for meat. He also liked to drink large quantities of beer and wine, and he even ordered a specially designed four-handled drinking mug
True, and one of the easiest days in history to remember, December 25, 800.
Also, it irks me every time I see it reported that the Roman Empire fell in 476 (which this article alludes to). It fell in 1453, or if you really want to stretch it 1461.
That said, looks like I'll be a prime candidate for gout soon. I rarely drink alcohol, but more than make up for it in the meat department.
Also, if you have an attack of gout, a great palliative (until you can see your doctor, of course) is 4 x 200 plain old generic ibuprofen t.i.d. NSAIDs work well against gout in many people (sadly, not all).
So if I show my gout a pay stub, bank statement or electric bill I will be cured?
; < )
Indeed, if I'm not mistaken your tagline alludes to the fall of the Empire.
"Gout? The Port Wine will do it every time."
That's what I've read. Gout was especially prevalent in 18th century Europe because of the popularity of (lead laced) port wine among the elite.
I want one of those four handled mugs!
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