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Curing cut or ritual mutilation? Some remarks on the practice of female and male circumcision in Graeco-Roman Egypt

, : Curing cut or ritual mutilation? Some remarks on the practice of female and male circumcision in Graeco-Roman Egypt. Isis; An International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences 92(2): 317-338

Ancient texts and archaeological artifacts provide the starting point for a review of the surgical aspects of female genital mutilation (FGM) in ancient Egypt. Analysis of the ancient surgical procedure incorporates modern experience on the subject as well as ancient literary and cultural perspectives. Comparison of FGM with ancient Egyptian male circumcision and consideration of motivations for the practice contribute to our understanding of FGM. In particular, the documented association between male circumcision and generative ability suggests a novel comparison with a natural process in the female--the breaking of the hymen on first intromission--and ultimately a new hypothesis for the origin of ancient FGM.


PMID: 11590895

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