One prolonged look at basically any historical moment brings into sight a plethora of irrational and unstable behaviors on the part of significant historical figures. As such, the role of syphilis in history - and its potential explanatory power for these seemingly inexplicable behaviors - has been the subject of a great deal of historical speculation. Famous people with syphilis include high-profile artists, such as Ludwig van Beethoven, and rulers, like Henry VIII. Their previously enigmatic behavior has been rendered completely in line with the symptoms associated with the condition.
Unfortunately, assertions about syphilis in history frequently cannot be verified; conjecture about behavior and personality and how they might have resulted from an STI must remain theoretical. Still, it is quite reasonable to assume that many historical figures were affected by syphilis.