The Commons had ordered to be printed, among other papers, a report of the inspectors of prisons on Newgate, which stated that an obscene book, published by Stockdale, was given to the prisoners to read.
According to C. Sittl (Die Gebeirden der Griechen and Romer, Leipzig, 1890), the word refers to an obscene gesture of phallic significance (see also A.
Nothing so much as a hideous scramble of ravening beasts and obscene fowls for the dismembered limbs of a headless carcase,.
The Orphic poems also played an important part in the controversies between Christian and pagan writers in the 3rd and 4th centuries after Christ; pagan writers quoted them to show the real meaning of the multitude of gods, while Christians retorted by reference to the obscene and disgraceful fictions by which the former degraded their gods.
Here he began to write plays and obscene novels.
He was an ardent social reformer; he secured the abolition of corporal punishment in the schools, the suppression of lotteries, of houses of ill-fame and of obscene literature; he instituted reforms in the hospitals, and insisted on the honours of public burial for the poor.
In a street of Benares similar devotions meet the eye, as dainty maidens pour out phials of holy water over erect stones of the same obscene pattern that was common also in Greece and Italy.
How little effect this had, however, is shown by the fact that in 1265 Odo, archbishop of Sens, could do no more than prohibit the obscene excesses of the feast, without abolishing the feast itself; that in 1444 the university of Paris, at the request of certain bishops, addressed a letter condemning it to all cathedral chapters; and that King Charles VII.
There is also in existence a letter of Calvin, dated 1 533, in which he speaks of Pantagruel, but not of Gargantua, as having been condemned as an obscene book.
They make counter attacks on polytheism as a folly and on the shamefulness of obscene myths.