Early use of the term ‘malaria’
I was reading Robert Sallares’ Malaria and Rome this evening and I noticed some information on the earliest use of the term ‘malaria’ that I thought would be worth sharing.
As we have all learned, malaria comes from the Italian mal’ aria, meaning ‘bad air’. A few other interesting facts:
- Marco Cornaro’s books Scitture della laguna published in Venice in 1440 is the earliest use of the term mal aere.
- Horace Walpole was the first to introduce the word malaria to English literature in his Letters in 1740 : “There is a horrid thing called malaria, that comes to Rome every summer, and kills one” (p. 9).
- Guido Baccelli’s La malaria di Roma, published in 1878, is the first application of the term specifically to the disease.
Does anyone know of earlier uses of the term?
Source: Robert Sallares, Malaria and Rome: A History of malaria in ancient Italy. Oxford University Press, 2002.