The genitourinary system in ancient Greece: a historical perspective

Acta Radiol. 2024 May;65(5):513-519. doi: 10.1177/02841851241250346. Epub 2024 May 8.


The Ancient Greeks were great innovators in all academic fields, including medicine. Hippocrates of Kos, the Father of Medicine, established many terms for the genitourinary (GU) system, such as nephros, urethra, urogenital, and adenocarcinoma. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born off the coast of Kythera, from the foam produced by Uranus's genitals, after his son Cronus had thrown them into to the sea. In this review, we present the etymology of the GU vocabulary, review the Ancient Greeks' understanding of the GU system and the origins of Greek myths related to the male genitals.

Keywords: Greece; Urogenital system; ancient; penis; scrotum.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Greece, Ancient
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Urogenital System*