French Original Text
Diderot gives the most advanced education on foreskin conditions
in his time (1779) and for at least the following century... Need
we question how seldomly circumcision was performed among the majority
of a poor illiterate European population ... influencing an entire
cultures traditions and relating behaviour.... see European
ARTS AND TRADES;
BY A COMPANY OF MEN OF LETTERS.
Compiled & published by M. DIDEROT, &
concerning the Mathematical Section, by M. D'ALEMBERT
Tantùm series juncturaque pollet,
Tantùm de medio sumptis accedit honoris! HORAT
Edition exactly in conformity with that of PELLET,
IN LAUSANNE AND BERN,
at the TYPOGRAPHICAL SOCIETIES
FIFTEENTH VOLUME- P. 382-383
FRENULUM OF THE PENIS Anat. & Surg. it is thus, that one names the small cutaneous ligament which attaches the prepuce under
the glans. Its structure appears fairly similar to that of the membrane
under the tongue; however in addition to this it swells up, & stiffens.
Its extreme sensitivity shows that it must be covered with a quantity
of nervous papillae; & perhaps for these reasons it merits more attention
on behalf of the anatomists than they have given it up until present;
moreover it is exposed to the flippances of nature, and these demand
It is so short among some people, that it is necessary to cut it
in order that these people are in a position to fulfill the goal of
(on this subject it is clear the frenulum if short leads ...
(hoc enim vinculum si brevius fuerit, hypospadiaeos facit, dum praeputii
depressionem impedit: said Riolan.
In others, the frenulum extends up to the urine channel; so that
during the forceful movements of love, the rigid penis is pulled downwards
by this bridle, & bends very painfully in the form of an arc:
this second eventuality requires the same operation; it must be
performed with care and attention, & all the necessary precautions
so as not to wound the glans: the treatment must avoid the coherance
of the wound with the prepuce.
Tyson reports having been not only obliged to sometimes cut the
frenulum of the penis because it was too short, or because it was too
long, but also of having done this in some subjects, following a scar
that venereal ulcers had there left. (D.J.)
TWENTY FIFTH VOLUME - p. 644-645
PHIMOSIS, this is an ailment of the penis, in which the
prepuce is stuck & tightly closed around the glans; in a manner that
one cannot draw it backwards to uncover the glans. see. GLANS.
PREPUCE. This word is Greek; it correctly means tying with a
string, -Greek word-, meaning bond made with a cord.
Sometimes a phimosis hides ulcers which are on the glans
or around it. It is sometimes so virulent, that it leads to inflammation
& finally gangrene in this part.
One distinguishes between a natural phimosis & an accidental phimosis.
The natural comes from birth; usually it is not at all dangerous, unless
an inflammation occurs there due to acrimony of the urine remaining
between the glans & the prepuce for a long time.
The accidental phimosis can be benign or malignant. The first originates
from something external irritating the prepuce, which becomes inflammed
& swells & tightens so much that a circular rim is formed at its end
which prevents this from being reversed to uncover the glans.
The malignant phimosis is similar to this; but a venereal virus
is identified as the cause ; it often occurs with gonorrhea, ulcers;
& with other venereal diseases which infect the prepuce.
Natural phimosis can require an operation even without an inflammation
occurring there. If the opening of the prepuce does not correspond
precisely to the opening of the urethra, the urine is not able to exit
in a continuous jet, but gets trapped between the glans & the prepuce.
Lack of care in such cases have often given place to the collection
of urine, & consequently to the formation of stones in this area.
If one takes care to press the prepuce after one has urinated one
can avoid this disadvantage, however it is felt, that such people are
not in the position to have children, because the the seminal fluid
would suffer the same fate as the urine.
A small incision of the prepuce on one side of the penis, will
give the facility to uncover the opening of the urethra, & remove the
obstacles which hinder ejaculation.
A small steel instrument has been invented to dilate a prepuce
which is too narrow. The former end is put in the hole of the prepuce,
& one dilates the branches, by loosening the screw between them.
When the phimosis is accidental, it is necessary to bleed the patient
depending on the nature & progress of the inflammation, to make palliative
injections between the prepuce & the glans, to apply pain-killing &
resolvent poultices, while observing the placement of the penis; which
must be lying on the stomach, for the reasons which we explain regarding PARAPHIMOSIS: it is only after employing all
these methods without success, that it is necessary to consider an
Chirurg: The patient may sit in an armchair... The surgeon takes
the penis in his left hand... The perfection of the operation of phimosis
consists in cutting equally the skin & also the internal membrane of
the prepuce... (Y)
TWENTY FOURTH VOLUME - p. 73-74
PARAPHIMOSIS, is an ailment of the penis, in which the prepuce
is inverted & inflated so securely behind the glans that it is no longer
able to cover it. see PREPUCE. GLANS.
This word is Greek, composed of multum, much, & of obligo, constringo:
tie up, constrict, because the paraphimosis clenches the penis as if
it is tied.
This inconvenience is often a symptom of venereal disease. It can
occur accidentally when the prepuce is naturally narrow, & when one
forcefully pulls it behind the crown of the glans ; from whence the
width prevents the prepuce from subsiding & recovering the end of the
This often happens with children whose glans had not ever yet been
uncovered, & who, from creativity & curiosity, have retracted their
prepuce by force.
This also happens to newly married men, who make the attempt to
deflower the young girls who they have married. Dionis says that he
reduced a young man's paraphimosis which happened to him on the day
of his marriage, &, who accused his wife of having given him this venereal
problem. The author comforted this young man a great deal, by telling
him everything which could possibly reconcile him to the pain which
his wife had been able to save him, if she had been less wise.
Chirurg.; There are various methods of reducing the prepuce, according
to the circumstances. If the prepuce has not strangled the glans for
a long time ... initially one sprays cold water...or one soaks these
parts in a vessel ... If the inflammation has reached a certain point...he
then has need of the surgeons hands ... He takes the penis between
the two index fingers between the two hands, the backs of which show
towards the patient's stomach & he moves the prepuce over the glans,
which is compressed laterally with the two thumbs to stretch it out
...... If the inflammation is large, it will be necessary to make an
incision on the internal membrane of the prepuce, to eliminate the
strangulation. .... (Y)
TWENTY SEVENTH VOLUME - p. 284-285
PREPUCE Anatomical term, extension of the penile
skin which covers the glans or the end of the penis. See PENIS
Doctor Drake observes that in none of the works of nature does
one see as many variations as in the prepuce; & that among different
men, the shape & the proportion there is always completely different.
It is more than apparent that the development of circumcision,
practised so universally throughout the East, is necessary to consider
less as an act of religion, but as a means of keeping the part
clean, & of eliminating the diseases which originate in these regions
due to the retention of mucosity which is provided by glands which
are underneath the prepuce ;
& the same author adds that he saw Orientals, who having large
inflated prepuces, were frightened to see a mucosity seeping out, which
undoubtedly would not have been there, except that it built up between
the prepuce & the glans; & it is without doubt this disadvantage among
others, that the divine legislator of the Jews wished to prevent, by
making the law of circumcision. see CIRCUMCISION.*
The skin of the prepuce is double: at the place where the inner
skin joins with the other parts, there are a number of oval or almost
round glands, placed irregularly around the union of the glans with
the corpus cavernosum, & on the glans itself.
Their use is to filter a liquid which eases the movement of the
prepuce on the glans. When this liquid becomes rancid from old age,
or following a venereal ailment, the glans grazes the prepuce; & even
sometimes tightens the latter, so much so that it is sometimes necessary
to make an incision there to uncover the glans. See PHIMOSIS
This loose fold of penile skin which one names prepuce & which
usually embraces the base of the glans, is sometimes attached to it
owing to malformation; & this cohesion demands all the dexterity of
a skilful operator in order to avoid wounding the prepuce & the glans.
Another malformation is sometimes the end of the prepuce is so
narrow that it is neither possible to urinate without pain, nor to
be able to uncover the glans in any manner.
At other times the prepuce is very elongated beyond the glans,
& this elongation is so narrow that in addition to the problems of
urination, a certain quantity of urine always remains there, retained
between this elongation of the prepuce & glans, as in a small tank,
it then runs out by itself little by little; or by pressing the extremities
of the prepuce; these two natural forms of phimosis can be cured by
Palsyn reports having seen a 70 year old man with a phimosis accompanied
by a small stone which was placed between the glans & the prepuce,
directly infront of the opening of the urethra; so that each time he
wanted to urinate, the patient was obliged to move the small stone
with a suitable instrument, from the front of the opening of the urethra.
He had tolerated his discomfort for nearly fourty years, during which
time he had ejected several small stones. He was cured by the operation.
The same Palsyn reports having seen another 60 year old man, who
had a natural phimosis, & a very long prepuce; in addition he had many
problems urinating, a portion of urine always remained between the
glans & the prepuce, it was retained there as if in a purse, leaking
imperceptibly in his breeches; it was necessary to relieve him of this
inconvenience by a circumcision.
It is believed that the Turks & several other peoples, where circumcision
is practised, would have a too long prepuce, if one would not have
the precaution of cutting it.. Boulaye says that he saw in the deserts
of Mesopatania & Arabia along the rivers of the Tiger & Euphrates,
a quantity of little Arab boys, who had a prepuce which was so long,
that he thought that, without the help of circumcision these people
would be incompetent in marriage.
Finally sometimes children are born without any opening in the
prepuce; in this case, it is necessary to immediately make a suitable
small incision there, which one then bandages with a piece of linen.
Relig. critiq. Jews... St. Paul... Leviticus xix. 23,-.
These fruits that must be cut from the tree without eating them, are
those of the first three years; perhaps up until the fourth year, the
fruits of young trees are worthless in Palestine..... some Jews put
themselves in the hands of the doctors, to restore their prepuce. ....
* (Diderot on Circumcision is totally outdated for example he writes
"Circumcision started at the time of Abraham")
French Original Text