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Penis size and it's role in culture

Penis size in art

Art and literature, especially from ancient Greece and the age of the Renaissance has a culturally-biased attitude towards human male penis, with penis shape deemed to be important, whilst penis size less interesting. More important were the correct proportions and closeness to the image of an ideal male, which is often youthful, innocent and therefore shows signs of a small, uncircumcised penis is best. Read on.


Perceptions of penis sizes and attributes related to penis sizes are largely culture-biased

In Ancient Greece and various vassals of the Greek city states an uncircumcised, small penis was seen as a sign of nobility and cultural superiority, whereas a penis of a bigger size was regarded as vulgar and inappropriate, mostly associated with barbarian culture (this may have been because many barbarians surrounding Greece whom had raided and warred with Greece had demonstrated their penis worship and such practices were therefore a sign of barbarism and cultural vacuum in the eyes of the Greeks).


Ancient Greeks and penis size

Greek culture has left a legacy in terms of portraying penis size as small in art. Although Greeks have demonstrated an interest in the genitals, but they were not preoccupied with size. This coincides with the nature of the Greek art as Greeks considered a large phallus to be humorous, and their art was supposed to be austere. In the arts, small penis identified the ideal or intellectual aspect of the human male, whilst in theatre for example, the person playing the "fool" role wore something like an oversized phallus to indicate his stupidity, the idea being he was therefore closer to animals and less human than his opponent.

Zeus throwing a thunderbolt
Zeus throwing a thunderbolt, 450BC



Greek gods and their penis size

To the right you can see a statue of Zeus, fished out of the sea last century. Zeus, being a God is very close to the ideal in the classical Greek understanding of art and human body. Gods were often portrayed superior to men, sculpted with carefully outlined proportions in order to preserve and protect their perfection. The penis had to be portrayed as proportionally correct, although it may seem small, the ancient Greek culture paid little attention to size of a penis, it was in no way a sign of virility as opposed to barbaric tribes that surrounded Greece. Instead, virility, in the Greek ideal, or the ability to give life and create offspring were correlated with the moral and intellectual capacity of a being, power or wealth to a lesser extent and whilst Zeus had fathered up to 45 offspring with various goddesses and mortal women, the size of his penis was unimportant. Chorus: My Comedy's a modest girl: she doesn't play the fool By bringing on a great thick floppy red-tipped leather tool To give the kids a laugh.... Aristophanes, "The Clouds" translated by Alan H. Sommerstein

Athlete with a smallish penis, 200BC
Athlete. Approx. 200 BC. Realistic small penis


Athletes were sculpted with small penises

This bronze statue of a victorious athlete touching the olive wreath on his brow was fished out of the Adriatic Sea near Fano, Italy in 1964. Though realistic, like the sculpture of Zeus above, his penis is small after the Greek ideal. Despite centuries of submersion and encrustation, what may be the realistic detail of a superficial dorsal vein has survived which would again indicate the drive towards realism and austerity, as a serious piece of art it had to overt disproportional characteristics and therefore the penis appears to be small. This statue is regarded to be one of the best examples of ancient Greek sculpting genius, the male - a victorious athlete. A male in perfect physical state whilst also an image of a successful male.


Renaissance art and penis size

In Renaissance art, many painters and sculptors mimicked the Greek style in terms of drawing and sculpting genitals, where an uncircumcised small penis was also admired and seen as aesthetically pleasing. Especially as many of the paintings included saints and biblical characters were not supposed to concentrate on the genitals despite showing nudity of the individuals portrayed, instead the penis size should not have been noticeable. Since sculptors ere obsessed with proportions an oversized penis on a statue would look highly unprofessional.

David, small penis
David is depicted with a small penis but looking confident and attractive

A nude male statue in itself is a celebration of masculinity and whilst the genitals remain a part of that idea, it was more important to show a sophisticated male, hence the realistic proportions, an ideal male body with a civilized penis size. A large penis size would diminish a male' image of a balanced individual and taint it with animalistic traits and characteristics. Age is seen on the other hand as more important. The standard for beauty in the classical era in Greece was the prepubescent male. Penis size increases during puberty. Extrapolating from this, the smaller your penis is the closer you are to the ideal and the more attractive you're considered. Please visit this site if you want more information about Penis's depictions in art and perceptions in ancient cultures. It is a website dedicated to the fight against circumcision, so if you feel strongly about it, we recommend signing up for their work.


Romans and the penis size

Romans were far more open about sex and displayed a far more positive attitude towards larger penises. in 79 AD, Vesuvius erupted and buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. This resulted in a substantial loss of life but preservation of the pieces of Roman culture and art both from other environmental factors and human activity such as raiding and religious censorship. Romans enjoyed a richly erotic, even pornographic culture. The Pompeian frescos depict all kinds of sex-related images, revealing an interest in male penis and particular the size of the penis. Unlike the Greeks whom preferred a smaller penis, Romans were fond of larger penises, the art on the walls of formerly ash-buried cities depict men and gods with larger penises than average. However the Romans were not too keen on idealistic principles of the Greeks and instead preferred hedonism, many people attribute this to the eventual fall of the Roman empire.

Priapus with an oversized penis
Priapus is depicted with an enormous penis, an exaggeration 

Priapus, a well known in the West as God of plenty and fertility as well as fun and leisure is seen depicted with a large penis, weighed against a pot of gold with a basket of fruit. Whilst in Greek culture large penises were associated with ugliness, animals, or half-animal creatures such as satyrs (who often had a negative role in various stories), in Roman culture males with large penises were often portrayed as fools but harmless or benevolent, such as god Priapus.