Why do all Ancient Greek statues have small penises?

You have probably noticed that on most ancient statues, the men aren't particularly well-endowed. Why is the case? We'll fill you in!

This is why all greek statues have small penises
© Getty Images
This is why all greek statues have small penises

Their bodies are slender and muscular from head to toe, the proportions are perfect... But the heroes depicted by Greek statues are all adorned with very small penises. What is behind this mystery?

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A question of size

Why did the Greeks systematically reduce the sexual organs of those they were representing? This had nothing to do with virility or a way of saying 'it's not the size that counts.'

In reality, it was rather a question of values and virtue, a way of representing these men in a simple way. A small sexual organ on these statues shows that these warriors, athletes, or gods are thoughtful and above all, that they do not give in to their sexual impulses. Quite the opposite, they can control them and are not ruled by their desires.

A penis at rest and of small size is a visible sign showing that the person can control their emotions, that he is a man who is civilised, rational, controlled by his intelligence and his wisdom, and capable of investing himself in affairs of state.

Small genitals but 'great virtues'

This is the opposite when it comes to lustful or decadent characters such as satyrs, animalistic creatures, barbarians, slaves... In short, those who are uncivilised and who are ruled by madness and lust. These are examples that should not be followed and are represented with enormous or even disproportionate penises, which are most of the time erect.

Aristophanes, in his 5th century BC play The Clouds, wrote:

If you carry out these things I mention, if you concentrate your mind on them, you'll always have a gleaming chest, bright skin, broad shoulders, tiny tongue, strong buttocks, and a little prick. But if you take up what’s in fashion nowadays, you’ll have, for starters, feeble shoulders, a pale skin, a narrow chest, huge tongue, a tiny bum, and a huge skill in framing long decrees.

A tradition which survived the Greeks

This ideal small sexual organ even outlasted the Greeks. First exported to the Romans, it then saw a resurgence during the Renaissance when artists revived nudity and other characteristics from antiquity, such as with the statues in the gardens of Versailles, or with Michelangelo's David.

Michelangelo's David Getty Images

So for the Greeks, size did matter, but above all, one's spirit was of more importance. A small penis as evidence of an enlightened mind? So good news boys—either way, you're golden!

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