The Origin of Circumcision Among English Speaking People  

header1979 38M
404 posts
6/4/2006 6:36 pm

Last Read:
6/8/2006 1:39 pm

The Origin of Circumcision Among English Speaking People

Not too many people understand how circumcision came to be practiced in English speaking nations. In my previous blog on circumcision, I briefly touched on the subject but in light of world events, I thought I would give a more full story. Many people think that Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is solely a result of perceived injustices against Islam by the US or other western nations in modern times. But dislike of western civilization by fundamentalist Islam goes back centuries and is well documented in history books. However, what you don’t read in many history books is the role that circumcision plays in dislike of westerners. According to Islam, uncircumcised men are unclean and defile their land. During the time of the Empire when the British soldiers were sent to Islamic countries, they were forcibly circumcised when captured by Islamic warriors. This was the beginning of circumcision among English speaking people. Since it is a lengthy blog and I don't want to take up the entire first page with it, I am posting the full blog as a comment.

header1979 38M
507 posts
6/4/2006 6:45 pm

Not too many people understand how circumcision came to be practiced in English speaking nations. In my previous blog on circumcision, I briefly touched on the subject but in light of world events, I thought I would give a more full story. Many people think that Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is a result of perceived injustices against Islam by the US or other western nations in modern times. The dislike of western civilization by fundamentalist Islam goes back centuries ‒ certainly to the time of the Crusades but even after. Since its inception, Islam has tried to conquer western civilizations several times. The conquest of the Holy Land being the first and followed by incursions into Spain and later the attempt of the Ottoman Empire to conquer the Balkans and Austria. But what you don’t read in many history books is the role that circumcision plays in the Islamic conquests and the dislike of westerners. According to Islam, uncircumcised men are unclean.

Historically, Islamic people have regarded their land as defiled by the presence of uncircumcised western males. It was not just that foreign nations, such as Britain, occupied their territory, but the added insult of having uncircumcised men living in their land. It was an affront to Islam. The Islamic conquest of the world was, in part, to cleanse the world of the defilement of foreskins. This is why foreigners are not allowed in Mecca. The city would be defiled if uncircumcised men entered it. It is kind of ironic that most of the wrath of the Islamic world is directed at the US which is the most highly circumcised western nation. Those of you who have and like having your foreskins might, give some thought about what it would be like living in a nation controlled by Islamic forces.

As far as I know, no US servicemen that have been captured by Islamic forces have been forcibly circumcised. Most US servicemen are circumcised so it is probable that no uncircumcised servicemen have been captured. Even if it did happen the US Government and the media would not release or print such stories publicly. (The press even doctored photos of naked dead US servicemen in Africa and put boxer shorts on the bodies.) Uncircumcised newsmen and other civilians have been captured and released but were not circumcised during their captivity as far as I know. So, at least in Iraq, it does not appear that forced circumcision of foreigners is happening in the modern world.

The following is information that I have read over the years and from a websites.

Circumcision of English speaking people began around 1661. Two hundred and twenty-six years ago young Warren Hastings was circumcised....forcibly! Twenty-four year old Warren, along with three hundred of his fellow English workers at the Old London Company offices in Cossimbazar, India, was stripped, sodomized, masturbated and publicly circumcised by the Moghul troops who overran the British outpost. Warren watched in fascination and horror as his foreskin was carried away in a bag containing all three hundred freshly severed foreskins....trophies for the Moslem Moghuls. Hastings, destined to become one of Britain's great colonial statesmen, wrote of his ordeal, "I, myself, was carved...."

Hastings' carving was not the first time an Englishman had been circumcised at the hands of Islamic warriors, and it was not to be the last time. The Arabs, Turks and Afghans as well as the Moghuls have had their turns at plucking off British foreskins. In southern India, Ma'ajoon, an intoxicating combination of herbs was employed during the forced circumcision of captives, producing stupification and causing the penis to rise; the aphrodisiac made the ceremony easier and, by being performed on an erect shaft, preserved much of the foreskin. Tippoo Sultaun, the tiger of Mysore, used this method on British troops to make certain they survived and, by incomplete circumcision, to brand them only partially cleansed; quasi-Mohammedans. At a prison in the Mysorean dungeons of Swendroog, Sir David Baird, a prominent Scottish officer, was thus mutilated along with other young subalterns. Baird and his fellow captives were seized by powerful Abyssisian slaves, stripped naked and staked to the ground, their limbs splayed wide. A white bearded old surgeon carefully pried his fingers into each British penis, determining the extent of the foreskin. Then the victims' mouths were forced open, introducing Ma'ajoon. Soon, the drug had taken effect, and each officer experienced masochistic stimulation; teeth gritting, fist clenching, eyes transfixed as they watched their penises rise in anticipation. When each soldier's manhood stood at full flower, the old man announced, "Praise the lord! Thou art now to receive the ordinance of El-Knutneh, creating thee all to True Believer." The razor flashed once over each penis. The foreskins were placed in a fire as an offering to their god..

As the British Empire expanded and England sent soldiers, adventurers and government clerks, to Islamic countries, more and more of men returned home with circumcised penises. Unfortunately, many did not return but instead bled to death as a result of their foreskin amputation. Phimosis, the condition of a tight or unretractable prepuce, seemed to have a high incidence among the English, making circumcisions by Moslem swordsmen risky, and as far back as 1661, the Old London Company realized that many of phimosed employees were in danger of losing their lives by forced circumcision in Moslem countries.

Knowing it was impossible to protect British foreskins from zealot Moghuls, the British governor of Madras proclaimed that all applicants to the Company be "bodily examined" and if a cadet could not "strip his yard" the company surgeon was obliged to "clip ye skin entire". Thus, in 1661, the first circumcision of European Christians by European Christians was commenced, giving impetus to three hundred years of routine circumcision in the English speaking world.
The Old London Company records still exist giving explicit details about who among the illustrious empire builders were "clipcocks" and who were "pillcocks" (or, peelcocks; uncircumcised). These terms gave rise to generations of English schoolboy humor and playful contention, not to mention curiosity, between possessors or the two styles of "cocks". For many generations the "clipcocks", in the minority, were subject to a lot of ridicule and jokes. Robert Clive, the hero in the British takeover of India, was angered when his phimosed penis was circumcised by the company surgeon; "By God, had I known I was to come out here to be clipped I'd have forsaken pork and procured me a scullcap!"

When taunted by the pillcock cadets in his own company Clive "...did menace ye offending cadets with his pen-knife, asking who should be the first in ye loss of his precious skin.''
By the early nineteenth century, however, the clipcock became fashion among the British aristocracy, who wore it as a badge of honor--proof of serving Throne and Empire in foreign service. Richard Burton, the illustrious anthropologist, had himself circumcised as part of the masquerade in his daring entry into forbidden Mecca. His associate, Speke, became a hero to Britain when, during an expedition searching for the source of the Nile, his camp was overrun by hostile Somalis screaming, "Circumcision or death, you Christian Dog!", and he was left on the battlefield stunned and Islamized. Many a young pillcock, observing how many of his peers at the all-boy English public schools” sported their acorns (glans) unmuzzled,” chose to be circumcised to better look the part of being in the privileged class. The English working class, however, remained mostly uncircumcised. Until the time of Queen Victoria!
Suddenly, masturbation became the number one enemy of God, Her Majesty' s throne and, certainly, it replaced the Moslem as the prime enemy of the foreskin. Alex Comfort wrote about the "masturbation hysteria" in England between 1850 and 1900. "Over this period there was truly a remarkable upsurge in what can be termed comic-book sadism. The advocacy of bizarre anti-masturbation therapies was not confined to eccentrics. By about 1880 the individual who might wish for unconscious reason to tie, chain, or infibulate sexually active children, adorn them with grotesque appliances, encase them in plaster, leather or rubber, to frighten or even castrate them...masturbation insanity was now real was affecting the medical profession." Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., ("The Manufacture of Madness", Dell Publishing 1970) wrote that the masturbator became the social scapegoat during this period just as witches had been in previous periods and physicians took the place of clergy as the "inquisitors". One such "inquisitor", Dr. James Hutchinson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, wrote a paper titled, "On Circumcision as Preventive of Masturbation", and the floodgates were opened for routine infant circumcision. Even English working class penises began to get the knife of the Queen's surgeons.

Routine circumcision of English boys remained at a high rate until the start of World War I when, according to British author Dr. Douglas Baker, M.D., 85% of the upper class males were circumcised as were nearly 50% of the working class. During the first decade of the twentieth century anti-masturbation was excuse enough for circumcising young boys. As we all know circumcision doesn’t stop guys from masturbating. Circumcised guys just learned to do it differently. During the second decade the medical "inquisitors" came under some question and the circumcisers began looking for other "excuses" which, after all provided them with a financial bonus. Among the new "excuses" was the theory that circumcision helped to prevent VD. And, with British soldiers mired in the trenches and back-alleys of France, VD replaced masturbation as the favored reason to cut off foreskins. Military doctors went to work! That was WWI...then came WWII, the blitz, loss of empire and the coming of socialized medicine. After a debate in which a surprisingly large number of medical professionals (said to be the most highly circumcised group in the UK) spoke out against routine circumcision, it was decided that the National Health Plan would not include payments for routine neonatal circumcision. The curtains came down on the British clipcock. Today, England once again has a generation of mostly pillcocks. Prince William was not circumcised at birth and reportedly the Queen was not amused.. There are rumors that he was circumcised later in life but that has not been confirmed. He had what the Palace reported to be a hernia operation which gave rise to speculation. We will never know until someone checks him out in the shower and reports what he or she saw.

England, benevolently sharing its high civilization with the colonies, exported circumcision along with jurisprudence, etc. The English-speaking nations became the only Christian nations (besides the Philippines and the Christian Coasts of East Africa) ever to practice routine circumcision. At one time in, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (except for French Canadians) reportedly 80% of the men were circumcised until the advent of their national health program which basically eliminated circumcision in these countries. The South Africans of British ancestry have remained almost entirely intact to match their Boer fellow-countrymen.

But, in America--that is a different story! The majority of US men were not circumcised until after World War II. The “baby boomers” were the ones who were the first mass-circumcised generation in the US. The US is now the only nation in the world that still routinely circumcises newborn baby boys for non-religious reasons. In my previous blog on this subject I gave an account of the fanaticism of Dr Kellogg, the creator of corn flakes, for the hysteria about circumcision in the US that began in the late 1800’s at the same time that it began in England.. Although circumcision is on the decline in the US and may now be down as low as between fifty and sixty percent, the hysteria of those who favor circumcision continues unabated. You see a lot of Americans posting nonsense about the benefits of circumcision on this website. They seem just about as fanatical about circumcising men as the Islamic warriors since the 1600’s. Hopefully, this hysteria will go the way of the hysteria that gave rise to the Salem witch trials.

Those of you who are circumcised today owe it all to Islamic warriors in the 1600’s who forcibly circumcised British soldiers and set in motion the historical train of events that cost you your foreskin.

cactusass 57F

6/4/2006 7:01 pm

i never had my son circumcised, too cruel a practice as far as i'm concerned.

rm_oneforshow 38M

6/4/2006 7:40 pm

I've never understood why forskin or circumcision is such a big issue. For jews, it's the sign of our covenant with God. For me it's a sign of my cultural hertiage, if it is anything - but it's nothing I lament or would even bother to change if I could.

mustang1960a2 57M
49 posts
6/4/2006 7:49 pm

It may be possible that in your unique analysis you may have omitted some facts.

Hippink 36F  
4498 posts
6/4/2006 7:57 pm

VERY informative... I'll be putting a link to this in my blog. Thanks!
Hippie XXX

How to Get Laid on AFF The Basics
Have fun, play safe!

Blue_eyes_smile 43F

6/4/2006 8:06 pm

Hey, I love guys with foreskin...yummy!!!

LustyTaurus 50M
21253 posts
6/4/2006 8:09 pm

To circumsize or not to circumsize...that is the question.

header1979 38M
507 posts
6/5/2006 10:27 pm

Hey Mustang,

You need to do some research to back up your comment with facts. No relevant fact has been omitted from this summary. This is all well documented in reputable and historical original texts. You should do an internet search for the history of circumcision if you want to go beyond the brief summary presented here. You will find what I have said is all there in the history without distortion.

This summary does not discuss the medical aspects of circumcision that have been proved false. I have touched on that in another blog and you can also find this information by doing an internet search. Nor I have I gone into the US experience and the role of Dr. Kellogg. I have discussed that in another blog. But you can find out all this information yourself by doing an internet search for circumcision Kellogg.

I am a professional writer in Washington whose material is printed in the news. Anything that I write is well documented. When you write in the media for a living, you can't afford to get it wrong. I take the same care in my blogs.

Thanks for posting.

header1979 38M
507 posts
6/5/2006 11:33 pm

Hey Oneforshow,

I too never understood why foreskin or circumcision is such a big issue. I never thought it mattered to anyone, one way or the other until I joined this website. Some guys had foreskins and some guys didn't and nobody seemed to care. This only an issue in the US where a majority of men are circumcised for non-religious reasons. Non-religious circumcision is almost non-existent in the rest of the world outside the US.

I was dumbfounded by all the ignorant comments made about guys with foreskins by people in the US. Every week, insulting, demeaning and offensive comments were regularly posted on the Advice Line about guys with foreskins. People would say that guys with foreskins were dirty, smelly and carriers of disease. What bullshit. I and some others on the website began calling them out on their ignorant and offensive comments. I have posted some articles in various parts of the website correcting a lot of the myths and misinformation that was being stated by people in the US. A foreskin is a lot easier to keep clean than a pussy. Most women manage to keep their pussies clean. What makes people think that most men can't do the same thing? Can you imagine what would happen if some ignorant person posted a comment saying that women's pussies where dirty, smelly and carriers of disease. Yet people in the US think nothing of posting insulting demeaning things about guys with foreskins.

This has nothing to do with circumcision for religious reasons. There is a purpose to that. Whereas, there is no purpose for routine non-religious circumcision.

The following is a quote from THE GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED by Moses Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish rabbi, physician and philosopher, that more fully explains bris:

"Similarly with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible. It has been thought that circumcision perfects what is defective congenitally. This gave the possibility to everyone to raise an objection and to say: How can natural things be defective so that they need to be perfected from outside, all the more because we know how useful the foreskin is for that member? In fact this commandment has not been prescribed with a view to perfecting what is defective congenitally, but to perfecting what is defective morally. The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished. The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened. The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision.

"According to me circumcision has another very important meaning, namely, that all people professing this opinion-that is, those who believe in the unity of God-should have a bodily sign uniting them so that one who does not belong to them should not be able to claim that he was one of them, while being a stranger. For he would do this in order to profit by them or to deceive the people who profess this religion. Now a man does not perform this act upon himself or upon a son of his unless it be in consequence of a genuine belief. For it is not like an incision in the leg or a burn in the arm, but is a very, very hard thing.

"It is also well known what degree of mutual love and mutual help exists between people who all bear the same sign, which forms for them a sort of covenant and alliance. Circumcision is a covenant made by Abraham our Father with a view to the belief in the unity of God. Thus everyone who is circumcised joins Abraham's covenant. This covenant imposes the obligation to believe in the unity of God: To be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. This also is a strong reason, as strong as the first, which may be adduced to account for circumcision; perhaps it is even stronger than the first."

You should also know that circumcision today is not the same as it was in ancient times. About four thousand years ago, the original Jewish circumcision consisted of cutting off only the tip of the foreskin, the floppy part that extends past the head in the normal male infant. Called bris millah, the procedure left most of the foreskin intact.

This is the way King David was circumcised. If you recall, King David complained about not looking circumcised enough and wanted to be circumcised again. Many people have said that Michelangelo's statue of David is not historically correct because the statue appears to have a foreskin. However, it is historically accurate for the way circumcision was done at the time of King David. If you will look closely at the statue, you will notice that the tip of the head of the penis can be seen and the foreskin does not extend beyond the head of the penis. Compare this with other statues and you will notice that other statues have the foreskin extending beyond the head. That gives you an idea of how men looked in ancient Israel.

Also, Christians who get circumcised so that they would be like Jesus, should know that Jesus was circumcised in the same manner as King David and had most of his foreskin intact. It is considered offensive to depict a naked Jesus on the cross. but historically, people were crucified naked and not with loin cloths. Michaelangelo made a crucifix of a naked Jesus on the cross with most of a foreskin like the statue of David. That crucifix is not generally seen in public but can be seen in Michaelangelo's house in Florence, Italy.

Two thousand years ago, Jewish hellenists, wanting to assimilate characteristics of the Greek way of life, obliterated the sign of their "tip" circumcisions. The "tip" circumcisions did expose some the head of the penis, which was offensive in Hellenic culture. The penis was not considered offensive but exposing the head of the penis was. In athletic competition, Greek athletes ties ribbons on their foreskins so that the head of the penis would not pop out during public sports competitions. In an effort to not offend the surrounding culture during nude sporting events or in public bathhouses, Jewish men kept their foreskin remnant stretched over the glans, eventually re-covering the head of the penis. It made them look as if they had not been circumcised at all. This practice was unacceptable to ancient rabbis. In 140 A.D. after the rabbis became aware of this "obliteration of the covenant," they instituted a radical procedure that stripped away the entire foreskin from infants, making any attempt at adult restoration exceedingly difficult. Ever since, Jewish boys have had total foreskin removal.

Significantly, most rabbis today erroneously refer to total foreskin removal as milah but milah actually only means removing the tip.

Certainly you should not want to change nor should any one say that you should. For you it is an important sign of the covenant with God and part of your cultural heritage. And that is the way it should be.

Since you brought up the subject, I added this information about the history of Jewish circumcision to provide a context for circumcision today. I hope it will be helpful to the reader.


Cousin_Norman 64M

6/6/2006 3:03 am

Brilliant post header. A great read and very educational.

ThaRealLiv 44M

6/6/2006 10:51 am

I think circumsision, has it's pros and cons. I'm circumsised, and have never found it to be a problem. I actually know a woman who will not have sex with a man unless he is circumsised. She believes it is cleaner. I don't see it as a cruel practise in anyway. If it is done forcibly, that is a different story, however. But just as Kellogg's supposed practises are irrelevant to the people who head (pardon the pun) tha corporation today, tha same holds true for Islamic people, if what you said about them not forcing it anymore is true.

header1979 38M
507 posts
6/6/2006 2:39 pm

Hey Liv,

There is no problem with being circumcised, if that is the way you are. The issue is that no one says insulting and demeaning things about circumcised guys, nor should they. A circumcised guy can't do anything about it even if they wanted to. And circumcised guys seem to enjoy sex good enough and women have have no complaints, at least with regular intercourse.

However, the ignorant, insulting and demeaning things that some people, partricularly in the US, say about guys with a foreskin is really as about offensive as a person can be. And the people who say these things seem to think nothing about the insults that they are hurling at uncircumcised guys. The woman that you mentioned is a very ignorant woman. No guy with a foreskin would want anything to do with a woman that ignorant and shallow anyway. A woman that would refuse to have anything to do with a guy because he was circumcised or uncircumcised isn't worth the time and effort. It is the skin attached to other end of the dick that counts - that is the guy himself. Any woman who can't comprehend that is going to have hard time having any type of good relation with a guy. It would be the same as a guy who wouldn't have anything to do with woman because she didn't have big tits. People who hung up on things like that and can't relate to a person as a person are really sad.

The purpose of the blog was to summarize how circumcision started among English speaking people. It was recounting what happened in history not a statement of what is happening today. But, even though there are no known forced circumcisions happening today, Islam still regards uncircumcised men as unclean and will not permit uncircumcised in certain areas. Today an uncircumcised man is still forbidden to enter Mecca. However, the current Kellogg corporation no longer holds the beliefs of Dr. Kellogg.

Routine non-religious circumcision is on its way out as more and more people learn that there are no benefits to routine circumcision. all the past reasons given have been proved false. The US is the last country in the world where routine non-religious circumcision is done on a large scale. And it is declining in the US.

Thanks for your comment.

header1979 38M
507 posts
6/8/2006 10:39 am

I recently came across the following article on the website of the The Board of Guardians of British Jews concerning the circumcision of Prince William and Prince Harry. It is well known that they were not circumcised at birth but there has been much speculation if they were circumcised later in life. I don't know if this article can be considered authoritative last word on the subject but it is certainly something to take seriously. Also I have heard of a picture of Prince William playing soccer when he was much younger that indicates that he is circumcised. But the way pictures are altered these days, it could very well be a bogus picture. The following is the quoted article:


1st April 2005
Chief Mohel to attend Royal wedding
Filed under: Board News– webteam @ 8:21 pm
The Board is delighted to annouce that Minister Jacob Levinson, the Chief Mohel will be attending the forthcoming wedding of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Minister Levinson has been known to the Royal family for over 40 years and has taken the honour of performing the circumcisions of members of the Royal family including William and Harry.

“I’m deeply honoured that Prince Charles has invited me along as the sole Jewish representative. I have known the family for a number of years and was deeply honoured when invited to perform the bris for William and Harry,” Minister Levinsion said.

Minister Levinson heads the Board’s circumcision division. Since 1994, the number of circumcisions taken place have exceeded one million. As well as attending to the Jewish community, Minister Levinson oversees a team of 36 freelance circumcision experts who advise other diverse communities of their needs.


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