'Veneri servit amica manus'--'Thy hand serves as the mistress of thy pleasure,' writes Martial (See Epigram 33, page 59). Elsewhere he speaks of the Phrygian slaves masturbating themselves to overcome the amorous feelings which the sight of their master having connection with his wife provoked in them. Martial has many allusions to the subject, which is treated at some length by Forberg and Mirabeau, the latter of whom tells us that Mercury taught the art to his son Pan, who was distracted by the loss of his mistress, Echo, and that Pan afterwards instructed the shepherds. Further on, Mirabeau mentions a curious practice which he declares to be prevalent amongst the Grecian women of modern times: that of using their feet to provoke the orgasm of their lovers.
Pacificus Maximus says, 'Is there no boy nor girl to hear my prayers? No one comes? then my right hand must perform the accustomed office.' Juvenal deplores the habit amongst schoolboys of mutually
[1. The word is generally derived from manu stuprare--to defile with the hand.
2. 'Cause thou dost kiss thy boy's soft lips with thy
Rough chin, and with strip'd Ganymede dost he,
Who does deny thee this? 'tis well. At least
Frig not thyself with thy lascivious fist,
This in light toys more than the prick offends,
Their fingers hasten and the man up sends,
Hence Goatish rankness, sudden hairs, a beard
Springs forth to wond'ring mothers much admired.
Nor do they please by day when in the bath
They wash their skins. Nature divided hath
The males: half to the girls born to be shown
The other half to men: use then thy own.
rendering this service to one another. Aristophanes, in the Wasps, touches on the subject, and one of the most charming of the shorter poems of Catullus contains an allusion--
Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,
Illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
Plus quam se atque amavit omnes,
Nunc in quadriviis et angiportis
Glubit magnanimos Remi nepotes
O Caelius, our Lesbia, Lesbia, that Lesbia whom Catullus more than himself and all his kin did love, now in the public streets and in alleys husks off the magnanimous descendants of Remus.
Glubit may possibly be read as referring to irrumation, the word 'husking' being appropriate in describing either action. Plutarch says that Chrysippus praised Diogenes for masturbating himself in the middle of the marketplace, and for saying to the bystanders: 'Would to Heaven that by rubbing my stomach in the same fashion, I could satisfy my hunger.'