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A kynodesme (Greek: κυνοδέσμη, English translation: "dog tie") was a cord or string or sometimes a leather strip that was worn by some athletes in Ancient Greece and Etruria to prevent the exposure of the glans penis in public. It was tied tightly around the akroposthion, the part of the foreskin that extended beyond the glans. The kynodesme was worn temporarily while in public and could be taken off and put back on at will. It could either be attached to a waist band to expose the scrotum, or tied to the base of the penis so that the penis appeared to curl upwards. The public exposure of the penis head was regarded by the Greeks as dishonourable and shameful, something only seen in slaves and barbarians. Modesty and decency demanded that men who showed themselves naked in a public setting, such as athletes or actors, must conceal their glans.
It is first alluded to in literature in the 5th century BC, in the partially preserved satyr play Theoroi by Aeschylus. There is earlier evidence from the images of athletes on Ancient Greek pottery. The Kynodesme was also used by the Etruscans and Romans who called it a ligatura praeputii. The Romans however preferred to use a ring, rather than a band, to conceal the glans known as a fibula.
In Greek and Roman medical practice, the uncontrolled dispersing of semen was thought to weaken men, and was particularly thought to affect the quality of the masculine voice. In ancient Rome, this form of non-surgical infibulation might thus be used by singers as a regimen for preserving the voice.
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