The Greeks and Romans were lusty, colorful and sometimes vulgar people. We see the bleached remains of their civilization and do not get the whole picture. This is exacerbated by translations from Greek and Latin. Many classics were translated by church scholars and they glossed over some of the racy bits. When I studied ancient Greek, I was often surprised by the divergence between the English translation and the more earthy and detailed descriptions in the original Greek. Suffice it to say that Plato’s Symposium on Love is not only about the spiritual variety.
Like all cultures, however, cultures of antiquity were complicated and contradictory. The ancients themselves recognized this in their gods. You could emulate Apollo or Athena if you were the more cerebral mood. Dionysus and Aphrodite might appeal at other times. But even Apollo got around and his father Zeus seems to have spent most of his time lusting after mortal women.
You notice that the men depicted in classical statues, however, were not particularly well endowed. Even the ultimate macho man – Hercules – suffered from “shrinkage” as you can see in the photo. What gives? There are a few possible explanation. One would be the simple one that artists did not want to make them so big as to be noticed or so small as to be ridiculed.
Another explanation I read about is that the idealized men shown in portraits were supposed to be of a higher order. They were certainly not neuter, but too much was considered vulgar and animalistic. You can see that lots of examples to show that the Romans had no trouble depicting an exaggerated member. At the Archeological Museum in Naples there were various depictions like this, taken from villas and brothels. Some were pretty vulgar. Suffice to say that their nicknames could be “Bigus Dickus.”
My next photo is from Pompeii. It just shows what ordinary Romans looked like. They would easily fit into Naples today. Finally is the first Emperor Augustus.