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Picture of a classical Greek athlete wearing the kynodesme (attributed to the Triptolemos painter, dating from about 480 BCE.)

A kynodesme (Greek: κυνοδέσμη, English translation: "dog tie"), was a thin leather strip worn by some athletes in Ancient Greece to restrain the penis such as to prevent the exposure of the glans. It was tied tightly around the akroposthion, the part of the foreskin that extended beyond the glans. The kynodesme could then 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.

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.


  • Frederick M. Hodges The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme, The Bulletin Of The History Of Medicine, Volume 75: Pages 375–405, Fall 2001.
  • Osborne, Robin (2004). Greek History. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415317177.  page 10
  • Keuls, Eva (1985). Reign of the Phallus. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. ISBN 0520079299.  page 68
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