Infibulation

On some pictures athletes are represented with their penis tied up. They did this by stretching out the foreskin and binding a string around it. This is called infibulation. The string was mockingly called 'kynodesme', which means 'leash for the dog'.

The tying up of the genitals was in no way useful, as it did not offer protection. In the combat sports it was an offence to hurt the genitals. The only consequence of infibulation was that the glans was invisible. Though the Greeks were proud of their naked body, the glans should not be seen. Circumcised jews could not train in the gymnasion. Some even underwent an operation to undo the circumcision.

© KU Leuven, 2012