A century before Dupuytren, in 1743, Francois Gigot de la Peyronie, personal physician to King Louis XIV, who also lectured at the Hotel Dieu, examined three patients and described changes in the penis that were to become known as ‘Peyronie’s disease’: “rosary beads of scar tissue to cause an upward curvature of the penis during erection.” Peyronie considered the condition to be caused by trauma. It’s likely that Peyronie’s name became attached to the disease because he was so well known.
The condition was known to exist before Peyronie’s day. Guilio Cesare Aranzi, a famed Italian anatomist from Bologna, wrote in 1587 in his book “Tumores Praeter Naturam”, that it was “palpable like a bean in the flaccid penis, causing a deformity similar to a ram horn during erection”.
Guilielmus de Saliceto (ca 1210-1276 AD) described a condition ‘nodus in virga’ of a nodule found in a penis.
Some people claim this statue of Silenus in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens is proof of early Peyronie’s.
However, many people have some curvature of the penis without having Peyronie’s. Moreover Silenus is one of a company of phallic or half-animal tutors of the gods, a group that includes Priapus – and thus would be expected to have an exaggerated phallus. It’s not Peyronie’s if the penis does not have lumps as curvature alone is not enough. Also given the mythological nature of Silenus, it’s quite likely that his penis was modelled on that of a horse. (Note his horses hooves and tail.)