Slave Infibulation in Ancient Greece and Rome
Slave Infibulation in Ancient Greece and Rome
It is well known that slave infibulation was practiced in ancient Greece and Rome. Precisely how this was done is less well known. This article is based on what documentary evidence exists together with some research of my own.
Infibulation of Male Slaves:
There are two enormous Roman statues, more than life-size, of naked slaves in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Both have their penises bent double so that the head points towards the body. In the one on the left, the penis head lies on top of the shaft; in the other the penis head is on the left of the shaft. In both, the sculptor has been exact in his work, and it is possible to make out the size and position of the rings.
Taking the one on the left first, the ring is clearly quite large, possibly
an inch and a quarter in the original. The ring passes horizontally
through the shaft of the penis, a little behind the glans. The other half
of the ring is attached close to the trunk of the slave, and, judging from
its position, passes horizontally either through the shaft of the penis at
its point of attachment or through the suspensory ligament.
In the second case, the ring is a little smaller. It has passed vertically
through the shaft of penis again close behind the glans, and a little to
the side of the urethra. The other side of the ring is again attached
close to the torso and passes vertically either through the shaft of the
penis close to its base, or through the suspensory ligament.
The two slaves are clearly a matched pair, heavy, muscular, with short curly hair, and as alike as brothers. The body proportions suggests a possibly Germanic origin.
There is documentary evidence to suggest that the rings were fitted shortly
before puberty or just at its onset. They would be of bronze, and welded
shut by pieces of red-hot charcoal and a blow-pipe. Erections must have
been very painful, and it is certain that the slaves could never achieve
penetration. Orgasm and ejaculation would have been infrequent. and
probably avoided as far as that was possible.
Such slaves were preferred to eunuchs. Eunuchs were prone to a number of health problems and would never be as strong as a fully mature man. Infibulated like this, there would be no risk of pregnancy amongst the female slaves, (and they would be infibulated also), nor of violation of the free-women and children of the house-hold. The slaves would tend to avoid thoughts of sex, because of the pain of erections, and would thus concentrate on working hard for their master.
Infibulation of Female Slaves:
There are references in the literature of the period to "chastity chains" being used on female slaves; there is, however, no description or illustration of how this was achieved. There are also many references stating that female slaves were infibulated, but again, no description or illustration of how this was done. I have seen two exhibits in the British Museum in London, England, which I think may well be an example of such a chastity chain or infibulation chain. They are labeled as "unknown, possibly horse harness ornaments". There is a diagram of the site where they were found showing that the pieces were found near the crotch positions of two skeletons, identified on the diagram as "females, probably slaves". Nothing else of horse origin was noted in this diagram.
Each exhibit consists of a small portion of what looks like poor quality
chain maile. The rings are of bronze, rather larger and thinner than one
would want for effective armour. Each ring is about 3/4 inch diameter and
about 1/16 inch thick. They are welded shut rather untidily, some have
large blobs at the point of union, some rings are off-set at the join: they
are not ornaments. Each exhibit is symmetrical with about twelve rings
along the centre-line. There is a row of ten rings on either side, each
ring interlocking with two in the centre-line. There is a further row of
eight either side of this, again each ring interlocks with two in the
adjacent row. The whole thing is about six inches long and about two and a
half inches wide. Roughly at the centre of the group, two of the rings are
heavily corroded, and in one of the exhibits, one ring has a short gap.
It is possible to imagine that these might be infibulation or chastity chains. Each ring in the centre-line pierces both of the large lips along the whole line of the vulva, holding the two sides in close proximity. The rows either side would penetrate deep into the flesh of each of the large lips. The whole of the sensitive area of the vulva would be impossible to touch or stimulate. It is possible that some of the links would deliberately pass through the crura of the clitoris so as to give pain on arousal and thus discourage any interest in sex. Certainly, if fitted before puberty, the growing of the parts would apply tension to the rings so that any attempt to masturbate would be painful.
If these are, indeed, infibulation chains covering the vulva of a female slave, the positions of the corroded and damaged links would exactly correspond to that of the urine flow.
From the owner's point of view, infibulation of the female slaves has all
the advantages of the infibulation of male slaves. They are there to work
and nothing else, and so any possibility of distraction is removed without
impairing their health in any way.
From the slave's point of view, I just wonder what it felt like as the 48 rings were put into position and then welded shut.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 Nov. 1998