Concept

History of circumcision

Summary
Circumcision likely has ancient roots among several ethnic groups in sub-equatorial Africa, Egypt, and Arabia, though the specific form and extent of circumcision has varied. Ritual male circumcision is known to have been practiced by South Sea Islanders, Aboriginal peoples of Australia, Sumatrans, Incas, Aztecs, Mayans and Ancient Egyptians. Today it is still practiced by Jews, Muslims, Coptic Christians, Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, Druze, and some tribes in East and Southern Africa, as well as in the United States and Philippines. There are four types of circumcision. As practiced in Judaism and in the United States, the foreskin is completely removed. However, in ancient Egypt and elsewhere in Africa, only part of the foreskin was removed. In the Pacific Islands, the frenulum was snipped but the foreskin was left unmodified. Circumcision and/or subincision, often as part of an intricate coming of age ritual, was a common practice among the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and Pacific islanders at first contact with Western travellers. It is still practiced in the traditional way by a proportion of the population. In Judaism, circumcision has traditionally been practised on males on the eighth day after birth (after the First Temple era). The Book of Genesis records circumcision as part of the Abrahamic covenant with Yahweh (God). Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BCE, lists first of all the Egyptians being the oldest people practicing circumcision, then Colchians, Ethiopians, Phoenicians, and Syrians as circumcising cultures. In the aftermath of the conquests of Alexander the Great, however, Greek dislike of circumcision (they regarded a man as truly "naked" only if his prepuce was retracted) led to a decline in its incidence among many peoples that had previously practiced it. The writer of 1 Maccabees wrote that under the Seleucids, many Jewish men attempted to hide or reverse their circumcision so they could exercise in Greek gymnasia, where nudity was the norm.
About this result
This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.
Related publications

Loading

Related people

Loading

Related units

Loading

Related concepts

Loading

Related courses

Loading

Related lectures

Loading

Related MOOCs

Loading