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    Abstract

    THIS work is the first volume of a series which the author is undertaking in connexion with some of the more obscure customs of antiquity and the Middle Ages related to the sexual life of man. The book consists of three chapters dealing respectively with three forms of the practice to which the term infibulation has been applied, namely, the Roman form, the Greek form, and phallus curvatus. In the Roman form, where alone the term is applicable, a ring or similar object is attached to the prepuce. The operation was chiefly performed on singers, musicians, and slaves, the principal object being to preserve the quality and tone of the voice, which was supposed to be corrupted by sexual indulgence, while the subsidiary reason was to prevent masturbation. In the Greek form, which was principally adopted by athletes and is represented on Greek statues and vases, the practice consisted in tying up the prepuce with a small band, either because the Greeks were ashamed of a short foreskin associated with uncovering of the glans, or because they believed that physical strength could better be preserved in this way. The phallus curvatus, which is often depicted on the vases and statues of antiquity, especially among the followers of Dionysus, the Sileni, and Satyrs, and was by no means uncommon among revellers and caricatures, is regarded by the author as symbolic of a life of sexual excess, and therefore as having no possible connexion with infibulation. The work, which has obviously involved an immense amount of literary and artistic research, is a valuable contribution to the sexuological department of anthropology.

    Male Infibulation.

    By Eric John Dingwall. Pp. vii + 145. (London: John Bale, Sons and Danielsson, Ltd., 1925.) 10s. 6d. net.

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