National poet Eminescu’s birth celebrated amid new theories on his death

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On Thursday, Romanian marked 165 years since the birth of their national poet, Mihai Eminescu and also National Culture Day. Dead at only 39, Eminescu is considered a genius poet, novelist and journalist whose works can be easily considered up-to-date even nowadays. Many theorized on his premature death, some embracing the theory the poet died of syphilis, others claiming the murder version.

A volume dedicated to the poet, launched at the Romanian Academy on Thursday, prompted new debates on the cause of his death, with academician pharmacologist and toxicologist Victor Voicu asserting that Eminescu was wrongly diagnosed with syphilis and wrongly treated with mercury, which causes serious damages to the nervous and cardiovascular systems.

This point of view is assumed by the volume, which is signed by famous names of the Romanian medicine. Voicu, one of the book’s authors said that the poet’s autopsy did not reveal the brain damages typical to syphilis. “It was the ignorance typical to that time. Doctors could not put a certain syphilis diagnostic at that time. Syphilis was just a fashionable sexual disease, frequently spread, including among great artists. The mercury treatment only generated serious, irreversible damages of the nervous and cardiovascular systems,” the academician explained.

Voicu said Eminescu suffered in fact of a bipolar disorder that was wrongly diagnosed as syphilis and received the standard mercury treatment used in the 19th century medicine, which, unfortunately rushed Eminescu’s premature death.

University professor Eduard Apetrei said that Eminescu also died of a vascular disease, as he was suffering of an early atherosclerosis.

Former president of the Romanian Academy, Eugen Simion unveiled that Eminescu created his masterpiece work until the age of 33, as he had been sick for the past 6 years of his life.

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