I have such papers that grim Cato's wife
May read, and strictest Sabines in their life.
I will this book should laugh throughout and jest,
And be more wicked than are all the rest,
And sweat with wine, and with rich unguents flow,
And sport with boys, and with the wenches too;
Nor by periphrasis describe that thing
That common parent whence we all do spring;
Which sacred Numa once a prick did call.
Yet still suppose these verses Saturnal.
(O my Apollinaris) this my book
Has no dissembled manners, no feign'd look.

-Fletcher's Martial


The Priapeia, now for the first time literally and completely translated into English verse and prose, is a collection of short Latin poems in the shape of jocose epigrams affixed to the statues of the god Priapus. These were often rude carvings from a tree-trunk, human-shaped, with a huge phallus which could at need be used as a cudgel against robbers, and they were placed in the gardens of wealthy Romans, for the twofold purpose of promoting fertility and of preventing depredations on the produce.

Most of these facetiae are by unknown authors. Although they appear in early editions of Vergil, and are attributed to that writer by J. M. Catanaeus, it is, to say the least, doubtful that he played any part in their authorship. Politian attributes them to Ovid; others, such as François Guiet, hold Domitius Marsus to be their author. The general opinion is that they are the collective work of a group of beaux esprits who formed a reunion at the house of Maecenas (the well known patron of Horace), and who amused themselves by writing these verses in a garden-temple consecrated to Priapus. Subsequently Martial and Petronius added several imitative epigrams, and eventually the whole were collected in one volume by the writer of the opening verses. Catullus, Tibullus, Cinna and Anser are also credited with a share in the work. The cento consists chiefly of laudatory monologues by Priapus himself, jocosely and satirically written, in praise of his most prominent part—the mentule—and of fearful warnings to thieves not to infringe upon the Garden God's domains under pain of certain penalties and punishments, obscene and facetious. At times a witty epigram sparkles from the pages, notably numbers 2, 14, 2 5, 37, 47, 69 and 84, the Homeric burlesque in number 69 being merum sal, whilst numbers 46 and 70 show a degree of pornography difficult to parallel.

That the Priapeia has not hitherto been translated into the English tongue is to be expected: the nature of the work is such that it cannot, be included in a popular edition of the classics. But to the philological and anthropological student this collection is most valuable, and the reason for omitting it from the list of translations is not applicable to a version produced for private circulation and limited to an edition of five hundred copies. Putting aside conventionalities, the translators have endeavoured to produce a faithful reflection of the original Latin, shirking no passages, but rendering all the formidably plain-spoken expressions in a translation as close as the idioms of the two languages allow. Indeed the keynote to the volume will be found in Epigrams 1 and 46, on pages 33 and 70, verses probably scrawled on the temple walls of Priapus or scribbled upon the base of his statue by some libertine poet.

Although the value of the work in illustrating the customs of the old Romans may be small per se, yet when read in conjunction with the legacies of certain writers (Catullus, Petronius, Martial, Juvenal and Ausonius, for example), it explains and corroborates their notices of sundry esoteric practices, and thus becomes a supplement to their writings. With the view of making the work an explanatory guide to the erotic dicta of the authors above-mentioned, the bulk of the notes and the excursus explaining and illustrating the text and exceeding its length by some five times is devoted to articles on pederasty with both sexes, irrumation, the cunnilinges, masturbation, bestiality, various figurae Veneris (modes and postures of coition, particularly that in which the man lies supine under the woman); excerpts from the Latin erotic vocabulary, including exhaustive lists of Latin terms designating the sexual organs, male and female; a list of classical amatory writers, and a host of miscellaneous matters, e.g. the habits of the Roman dancing-girls, eunuchism, tribadism of the Roman matrons, the use of phalli, religious prostitution, aphrodisiacs, the 'infamous' finger, tabellae or licentious paintings, the fibula as a preventive of coition, the crepitus ventris, etc., etc., illustrated by poetical versions of many of the epigrams culled from various sources, by parallel elucidatory passages (many hitherto untranslated) from classical writers, and by quotations from authors, ancient and modern.

English literary students have good reason to congratulate them selves on the collaboration of a certain talented littérateur, the mere mention of whose name would be a sufficient guarantee for the quality of the work. He has most kindly enriched the volume with a complete metrical version of the epigrams, and this is, indeed, the principal raison d'être of this issue. I have also gratefully to acknowledge obligations of no small weight, not only for his careful and thorough revision of the prose portion of the translation, but also for the liberal manner in which I have availed myself of his previous labours in the preparation of my notes and excursus. The name of Sir Richard F. Burton, translator of The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, has been inadvertently connected with the present work. It is, however, only fair to state that under the circumstances he distinctly disclaims having taken any part in the issue.

And here I may state that a complete and literal translation of the works of Catullus, on the same lines and in the same format as the present volume, is now in preparation. Catullus is, of all the Latin poets, the one who has been oftenest paraphrased and traduced, and even yet, in the year of grace 1890, we have no version of him in our tongue which can be regarded by the student as definitive. Of the merits of Catullus's poesy and the desirability of a trustworthy translation there is no need to speak.

A long dissertation on Priapic worship, the Linga-pújá of the Hindus, considered as an ancient and venerable faith, would be out of place in this recueil; consequently that subject is merely glanced at in the next few pages, most of the information here presented being drawn from modern volumes which contain a digest of the writings of well-known authorities and specialists.

In the earliest ages the worship of the generative Energy was of the most simple and artless character, rude in manner, primitive in form, chaste in idea, the homage of man to the Supreme Power, the Author of Life, the Sun, as symbolised by the reproductive force.

Afterwards the cult became depraved, a religion of feeling, of sensuousness, corrupted by a priesthood who, not slow to take advantage of this state of affairs, inculcated therewith profligate and mysterious ceremonies, union of gods with women, religious prostitution and other sexual rites. Thus it was not long before the emblems lost their real and original meaning, and became licentious statues and debased art.1) Hence we have the debauched ceremonies at the festivals of Bacchus, who became, not only the representative of the creative Energy, but the god of pleasure and licentiousness.

This corrupted religion readily found eager votaries, captives to a pleasant bondage compelled by the impulse of physical luxury: such was the case in India and Egypt, and among the Phoenicians, Babylonians, Hebrews and other Eastern races.

Sex-worship once personified became the supreme and governing deity, enthroned as the ruling god over all; and monarchs, complying with the prevailing faith, became willing devotees to the cult of Isis and Venus on the one hand, and on the other of Bacchus and Priapus, appealing, as they did, to the most tyrannical passion of human nature.

The worship of Priapus amongst the Romans was derived from the Egyptians, who, under the form of Apis, the Sacred Bull, adored the generative Power of Nature; and as the syllable pri or pre signifies (we are assured) principle, production, natural or original source, the word Priapus may be translated principle of production or of fecundation of Apis. The same symbol also bore among the Romans the names of Tutenus, Mutinus2) and Fascinum.3) According to Macrobius, the corresponding deity amongst the Egyptians was called Horus–a personification of the sun. This Horus is painted as a winged youth, with a quoit lying at his feet, a sceptre in his right hand, and in his left a Phallus4) equal in size to the rest of his body. The Phallus was the ancient emblem of creation, and representative of the gods Bacchus, Priapus, Hercules, Siva, Osiris, Baal and Asher, who were all Phallic deities, the symbols being used as signs of the all-creative Energy or operating Power of the Demiurgos, from no consideration of mere animal appetite but in token of the highest reverence.5) The tortoise, believed to have been androgynous, was chosen to accompany statues of Venus. The fig was a still more common symbol, the statue of Priapus being made of that tree, and the fruit being carried with the Phallus in the ancient processions to the honour of Bacchus. In conformity with the religious ideas of the Greeks and Romans, Vergil describes the products of the globe as the result of the conjugal act between Jupiter (the sky) and Juno (the earth). Among the Greeks, the membrum virile was borne in procession to the temple of Bacchus and was there crowned with a garland by one of the most respectable matrons of the city. According to St Augustine the sexual organ of man was consecrated in the temple of Liber, that of women in the sanctuaries of Liberia, these two divinities being named father and mother. Payne Knight states that Priapus, in his character of procreative deity, is celebrated by the Greek poets under the title of Love or Attraction, the first principle of Animation, the father of gods and men, the regulator and dispenser of all things. He Is said to pervade the universe with the motion of his wings, bringing pure light, and thence to be called 'the splendid, the self-illumined, the ruling Priapus'. According to Natalis Comes, the worship of Priapus was introduced into Athens by express order of an oracle.

The Priapi were of different forms, some having only a human head and the Phallus, some with the head of Pan or of a faun–that is, with the beard and ears of a goat. Among the paintings found in Pompeii there are several representations of hircine sacrifices and offerings of milk and flowers to Priapus. The god is represented as a Hermes on a square pedestal, with the usual characteristic of the deity, a prominent Phallus. Similar Hermae or Priapi were placed at the forkings of two or three roads, and were confounded with the divinities Mercury and Terminus presiding over boundaries. When furnished with arms, in his character of 'Terminus', Priapus held with one hand a reaping hook and, like Osiris, grasped with the other the characteristic feature of his divinity which was always of a monstrous size and in a state of statant energy. One of the paintings discovered at Pompeii represents a sacrifice or offering to Priapus, made by two persons. The first is a young man with a dark skin, entirely naked, except for the animal's skin which is wrapped round his loins, his head being encircled with a wreath of leaves. He carries a basket wherein are flowers and vegetables, the first offerings of his humble farm; and he bends to place them at the foot of a little altar, on which there is a small statue in bronze representing the god of gardens. On the other side is a woman, also wearing a wreath, and dressed in a yellow tunic with green drapery; she holds in her left hand a golden dish and in her right a vase and she appears to be bringing an offering of milk:

Sinium lactis et haec te liba, Priape, quotannis
Expectare sat est; custos es pauperis horti.

                                    Vergil, Eclogues

Offerings were made to Priapus according to the season of the year:

Vere rosa, autumno pomis, oestate frequentor
Spicis: una mihi est horrida pestis hiems

                                    Epigram 86

In another painting Priapus is represented as placed on a square stone, against which rest two sticks. His head is covered with a cap, he has a small mantle on his shoulder, and exhibits his usual prominent characteristic.6) According to Herodotus and Pausanias statues of Mercury were represented as ithyphallic,7) and the latter mentions one in particular at Cyllene.

In the towns Priapus had public chapels, whither devotees suffering from maladies connected with his attributes repaired for the purpose of offering to him ex-votos figuring the parts afflicted; these ex-votos being sometimes paintings and, at others, statuettes made of wax or of wood, and occasionally of metal, stone and marble. Females as superstitious as they were lascivious might be seen offering in public to Priapus as many garlands as they had had lovers. These they would hang upon the enormous phallus of the idol, which was often hidden from sight behind the number suspended by one woman alone. Others presented to the god as many phalli, made of willow-wood, as the men whom they had vanquished in a single night. St Augustine informs us that it was considered by the Roman ladies a very proper and pious custom for young brides to seat themselves upon the monstrous member of Priapus; and Lactantius says, 'Shall I speak of that Mutinus, upon the extremity of which brides are accustomed to seat themselves in order that the god may appear to have been the first to receive the sacrifice of their modesty?'

These facts prove that the worship of Priapus had greatly degenerated amongst the Romans since, losing sight altogether of the object typified, they attached themselves to the symbol alone, in which they could see only what was indecent; and hence religion became a pretext for libertinism. Respected so long as Roman manners presented their pristine simplicity, but degraded and vilified in proportion as the morals of that people became corrupted, the very sanctuary itself of Priapus failed to protect him from the biting sarcasm of the poets, and the obloquy and ridicule of the wits. Thus his statue8) was placed in orchards as a scarecrow to drive away superstitious thieves, as well as children and birds.

The 'personal' history of Priapus represents him as the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite. It is said that Aphrodite, who was in love with Dionysus, went to meet him on his return from India, but soon abandoning him, made for Lampsacus, and there gave birth to her child by the god. Hera, who was dissatisfied with her conduct, caused her to bear a babe of extreme ugliness, who was presently named Priapus. The earliest Greek poets, as Homer and Hesiod, do not mention this divinity, and it was only in later times that he was honoured with divine worship. He was adored more especially at Lampsacus on the Hellespont, whence he is sometimes called Hellespondiacus.9) By some writers Priapus is said to have been the son of Dionysus and a nymph called Chione. He was regarded as the promoter of fertility both in vegetation and in all animals connected with an agricultural life, and in this capacity he was addressed as the protector of sheep and goats, of bees, of the vine, of all garden produce and even of fishing. Like other divinities presiding over agricultural pursuits, he was believed to be possessed of prophetic powers and he is sometimes mentioned in the plural. As Priapus had many attributes in common with other gods of fertility, the Orphics identified him with their mystic Dionysus, Hermes, Helios and others. The Attic legends connect Priapus with such sensual and licentious beings as Conisalus, Orthanes and Tychon; in like manner he was confounded by the Italians with Mutunus or Muttunus, the personification (as has been shown) of Nature's fructifying power. The sacrifices offered to him consisted of the firstlings of gardens, vineyards and fields; of milk, honey, calves, rams, asses and fishes. He was represented by carved images, mostly in the form of Hermae, carrying fruit in the sinus of the garment and either a sickle or cornucopia in the hand; the statues of Priapus in Italy, like those of other rustic divinities, were usually painted red, whence the god is called ruber or rubicundus.10) A chief seat of the worship of this god was Priapus, a city of Mysia, on the Propontis, a colony of the Milesians; in Spain he was worshipped under the name of Hortanes, and in Slavonia under the appellation of Pripe-gala.

Antwerp was the Lampsacus of Belgium, Priapus being the tutelary god of that city; Ters was the name given to him by the inhabitants, who held this divinity in the highest veneration. Females were accustomed to invoke him on the most trivial occasions, a custom which, Goropius informs us, continued as late as the sixteenth century; and in order to eradicate or replace that superstition by the ceremonies of the Christian Church, Godefroy de Bouillon, the illustrious leader of the First Crusade, sent from Jerusalem, as a present of inestimable value, the foreskin of Jesus Christ, of which no less than twelve are still said to be extant.

Sir W. Hamilton's account of the worship paid to St Cosmo and St Damiano is very curious:

On the 17th September, at Isernia, one of the most ancient cities of the kingdom of Naples, situated in the Contado di Molise, and adjoining the Abuzzo, an annual fair is held which lasts three days. In the city and at the fair, ex-votos of wax, representing the male parts of generation, of various dimensions, sometimes even of the length of a palm, are publicly exposed for sale. There are also waxen vows that represent other parts of the body; but of these there are few in comparison with the Priapi.

The distributors of these vows carry a basket full of them in one hand, and hold a plate in the other to receive the money, crying out, 'Saints Cosmos and Damiano!' If you ask the price of one, the answer is 'Più ci metti, più meriti'—the more you contribute, the more the merit. The vows are chiefly purchased by the female sex and they are seldom such as represent legs, arms, etc., but most commonly the male parts of generation. The person who was at the fête in the year 1780, and who gave me this account (the authenticity of which has since been confirmed to me by the Governor of Isernia), told me also he heard a woman say, at the time she presented a vow, 'Santo Cosmo, benedetto, cosi lo voglio!'—'Blessed St Cosmo, let it be like this!'. The vow is never presented without being accompanied by a piece of money, and is always, kissed by the devotee at the moment of presentation.

But, as might naturally be expected, this ghostly voluptas does not suffice to fructify barren women; and, consequently, another ceremony, doubtless more efficacious, was required. The votaries who resorted to this fair slept there for two nights, some in the Church of the Capuchin friars and the others in that of the Cordeliers; when these two were insufficient to contain all the devotees, the Church of the Hermitage of St Cosine, received the overflow.

In the three edifices the women during the two nights were separated from the men, the latter lying under the vestibule, and all the others in the chapels. These, whether in the Church of the Capuchins, or in that of the Cordeliers, were under the protection of the father guardian, the vicar, and a monk of merit. In the Hermitage it was the hermit himself who watched over them. From this it may easily be imagined how the miracle was effected without troubling St Cosmo and St Damiano, as well as that the virtue possessed by these two saints extended to young maidens and widows.

In the neighbourhood of Brest stood the chapel of the famous Saint Guignole or Guingalais, whose Phallic symbol consisted of a long wooden beam, which passed right through the body of the saint, and whose forepart was strikingly characteristic. The devotees of this place, like those of Puy-en-Velay, most devoutly rasped the extremity of this miraculous symbol, for the purpose of drinking the scrapings, mixed with water, as an antidote against sterility; and when, by the frequent repetition of this operation, the beam was worn away, a blow from the mallet in the rear of the saint propelled it to the fore. Thus, although it was being continually scraped, it appeared never to diminish, a miracle due exclusively to the mallet.

I will conclude this hasty sketch of the Priapic cult with a brief description of the Dionysia, or festivals celebrated in honour of Bacchus, which throw considerable fight on this worship. They were brought from Egypt into Greece by Melampus, the son of Amithaon, and the Athenians celebrated them with more pomp than the other Greeks. The principal Archon presided over diem, and the priests who celebrated the religious rites occupied the first places in the theatre and in the public assemblies. Originally these festivals exhibited neither extravagance nor splendour, they were simply devoted to joy and pleasure within the houses; all public ceremonies were confined to a procession, in which there appeared a vase full of wine and, wreathed with vine leaves, a goat, a basket of figs and the Phalli. At a later period this function was celebrated with greater pomp; the number of priests of Bacchus increased; those who took part therein were suitably dressed, and sought by their gestures to represent some of the customs which faith attributed to the god of wine. They dressed themselves in fawn skins; they wore on head a mitre; they bore in hand a thyrsus, a tympanum or a flute and their brows were wreathed with ivy, vine leaves and pine-branches. Some imitated the dress and fantastic postures of Silenus, of Pan and of the Satyrs; they covered their legs with goatskins, and carried the horns of animals; they rode on asses, and dragged after them goats intended for sacrifice. In the town this frenzied crowd was followed by priests carrying sacred vases, the first of which was filled with water, then followed young girls selected from the most distinguished families, and called Canephori, because they bore small baskets of gold full of all sorts of fruit, of cakes and of salt; but the principal object among these, according to St Croix, was the Phallus, made of the wood of a fig tree. (In the comedy of the Acharnians, by Aristophanes, one of the characters in the play says, 'Come forward a little, Canephoros, and you, Xianthias, slave, place the Phallus erect.')

After these came the Periphallia, a troop of men who carried long poles with Phalli11) hung at the end of them; they were crowned with violets and ivy, and they walked repeating obscene songs. These men were called Phallophori;12) these must not be confounded with the Ithyphalli, who, in indecent dresses and sometimes in women's costume, with garlanded heads and hands full of flowers, and pretending to be drunk, wore at their waist-bands monstrous Phalli made of wood or leather; among the Ithyphalli also must be counted those who assumed the costume of Pan or the Satyrs. There were other persons, called Lychnophori, who had care of the mystic winnowing-fan, an emblem whose presence was held indispensable in these kinds of festivals. Hence the epithet 'Lychnite', given to Bacchus.

Outside the town, the more respectable persons, the matrons and modest virgins, separated themselves from the procession. But the people, the countless multitude of Sileni, of Satyrs and of Nymph-bacchantes, spread themselves over the open spaces and the valleys, stopping in solitary places to get up dances or to celebrate some festival and making the rocks re-echo with the sound of drums, of flutes, and more especially with cries, constantly repeated, by which they invoked the god: 'Evohé Sabæe! Evohé Bacche! O Iacche! Io Bacche!' The first of these words recalls the words with which Jupiter encouraged Bacchus when, in the Giants' War, the latter defended his father's throne.

The description here given applied chiefly to the greater Dionysia, or to the new Dionysia; there were six other festivals of this name, the ceremonies of which must have borne some resemblance to those already mentioned. There were, in the first place, the ancient Dionysia, which were celebrated at Limnae, and in which appeared fourteen priestesses called Geraerae, who, before entering on their duties, swore that they were pure and chaste. There were the lesser Dionysia, which were celebrated in the autumn, and in the country; the Brauronia of Brauron, a village of Attica; the Nyctelia, whose mysteries it was forbidden to reveal; the Theoina; the Lenean festivals of the wine press; the Omophagia in honour of Bacchus Carnivorus, to whom human victims were formerly offered, and whose Priests ate raw meat; the Arcadian, celebrated in Arcadia by dramatic contests; and, lastly, the Trieterica, which were repeated every three years in memory of the period during which Bacchus made his expedition to further Ind.

The Bacchic mysteries and orgies are said to have been introduced from Southern Italy into Etruria, and thence to Rome. Originally they were celebrated only by women, but afterwards men were admitted, and their presence led to the greatest disorders. In these festivals, the Phallus played a prominent part, and was publicly exhibited. At Lavinium the festival lasted a month, during which time a Phallus, remarkable for its proportions, was carried each day through the streets. The coarsest language was heard on all sides and a matron of one of the most considerable families placed a wreath on this suggestive image.

Pacula Annia, pretending to act under the inspiration of Bacchus, ordered that the Bacchanalia should be held during five days in every month. It was from the time of these orgies being carried on after this plan that, according to the statement of an eye-witness (Livy xxxix, 13), licentiousness prevailed and crimes of every description were committed. Disorder was carried to such an excess that the Senate in 186 B.C. issued a decree to suppress and prohibit these festivals; and it was ordered that no Bacchanalia should be held in Rome or in Italy.

I may here offer a few bibliographical details on the principal editions of the Priapeia. Five leaves in some copies of the Editio Princeps of Vergil (Rome, 1469) contain part of the work and a complete reproduction (nine leaves) is in the second edition of Sweynheym and Parnnartz, also published in Rome (1470). Other early editions of Vergil, presumably issued under authority, which contain the Priapeia are those of Venice, 1472 (Virgilii opera, necnon reliqua opuscula, cum priapeiis); Milan 1472; sine loco, 1472, 1473, by L. Achates; Rome, 1473, Milan, 1474; Milan, Zarot, 1475; Vicenza, 1476; and Venice (in aedib. Aldi), 1501. Other Aldine editions of Vergil do not contain such recueil, but this famous family of printers issued in 1517 (and reprinted in 15 34) Diversorum veterum poetarum in Priapum lusus, with other pieces falsely attributed to Vergil. The work is also found with the corrections of J. Avantius in the edition of Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius, published in Venice in 1500, in folio. The edition of Martial given by Gruter in 1600 (reprinted 1602, 1619, etc.), the edition of Deux Ponts (1784), and that issued in 1804 (Vindobonae, 2 volumes, 8vo) all contain these poems; as also do some editions of Petronius, notably that of Paris, 1601; Amsterdam, 1669 (the text of which edition the translators have used in preparing the present volume); Paris, 1677; Amsterdam, 1677 (32mo); and the edition of Deux Ponts. In the Vergil of Basle, 1613, the Priapeia is inserted, and a portion is to be found in volume ii, pp. 203-30 of the Meursius of 1770 (Birminghamiae). The separate editions of the Priapeia sive diversorum poetarum in Priapum lusus are Francof., 1596, 1606; cum Scaligeri commentariis ac F. Lindenbruch notis, Batavii (Amst.), 1654, 1664, 1667, 1694; s. 1. 1780, 1781. The edition of 1606 contains the commentary of G. Scioppius: and there are added five epigrams and Heraclii et aliorum epistolae de prupudiosa Cleopatrae libidine. In 1781 was published Priapeia sive diversorum poetarum in Priapum lusus aliaquae incertorum poemata emendata et explicata. Acc. Episolae de priapismo s. propudiosa Cleopatrae libidine, Jos. Scaligeri versiones duorum Priapeiorum et Index (cur. J. C. Anton, Lipsiae, 8vo). In the recueil published by François Noël under the title of Erotopaegnion, sive Priapeia veterum et recentorum, Veneri jocosae sacrum (Paris, 1798, in 8vo), these poems occupy pages 1-85 of the first part of the volume. Modem editions are the version printed in Weber's Corpus Poet. Lat., 1833; the variorum edition published in 1853 (J.A. Wernicke, Thoruni, 8vo) which contains the notes of Scaliger, Lindenbruch and P. Burmann; the Liber Priapeiorum, edited by F. Büchelor, added to his edition of Petronius (1862); and two editions privately printed in England in 1888 and 1889, under the imprint of Athens, the former of which contains, in addition to the text, a translation into English prose with notes, etc. In the Berlin (1827, tome i, pages 206 et seq.) and other editions of Lessing may be found a dissertation by him on the subject. In 1866, M. Gustave Brunet issued a little volume under the tide of Les Priapeia, Note de Lessing, translated from the German with a commentary by Philomneste Junior (Bruxelles, Mertens, 12mo; published for J. Gay). Müller's Catullus (Leipzig, Teubner, 1870) may also be consulted; and many carmina inscribed to Priapus are to be found in the Greek Anthology, the French translation of which, published in 1863 (2 Volumes, 12mo), includes about thirty of these pieces, mostly, however, of an innocent nature.

Neaniskos (Leonard C Smithers)
July 1890

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Sir R. F. Burton, in his paper read before the Anthropological Society on 'Certain Matters connected with the Dahoman', describes the Dahoman Priapus as 'a clay figure of any size between a giant and the pigmy, crouched upon the ground as if contemplating its own attributes. The head is sometimes a wooden block, rudely carved, more often dried mud, and the eyes and teeth are supplied by cowries. A huge penis, like a section of a broomstick, projects horizontally from the middle.'
According to Festus, Mutinus or Mutenus is a god differing wholly from Priapus, having a public sanctuary at Rome, where the statue was placed sitting with penis erect. Newly-mated girls were placed in his lap, before being led away to their husbands so that the deity might appear to have foretasted their virginity, this being supposed to render the bride fruitful. In Primitive Symbolism we read, 'The Romans named Mutinus or Tutenus, the isolated Phallus, and Priapus, the Phallus affixed to a Hermes.'
Fascinum primarily means a bewitching, an enchantment. It gained its topical meaning from a custom practised by the ancients of hanging a Phallus round the neck of children as a charm or preventive against witchcraft, and hence the word became synonymous with penis.
Phallus, or privy member (membrum virile), signifies 'he breaks through or passes into'; German (pfahl); English (pole); of Phoenician origin, the Greek word, pallo–'to brandish preparatory to throwing a missile'; in Sanskrit, phal–'to burst, to produce, to be faithful', 'a ploughshare', and also the names of Shiva and Mahadeva, who are Hindu deities of destruction. The kteis, or female organ, as the symbol of the passive or reproductive powers of nature, generally occurs on ancient Roman monuments as the concha Veneris, a fig, barley, corn and the letter delta.
Survivals of this worship may be seen in our maypole, the steeple, the ecclesiastical cross, etc.
The statue is evidently placed by the roadside, and holds a stick in its hand to point out the way to travellers.
Ithyphallus, a piece of wood shaped like the erect virile member, which was carried about in the festivals of Bacchus. Hence, applied to Priapus, who was represented with an erect member. Priapus was also called Triphallus (triphallos), a threefold phallus, an immense phallus, on account of the extraordinary size of his member.
The statue of Priapus was generally chopped roughly out from the trunk of a standing tree. It was usually shaped from fig-tree wood, dry oak or cypress; sometimes of marble or even of wheaten dough.
The enormous size of his member so endeared him to the women of Lampsacus that their husbands banished him from the city, whereupon a fell disease attacked their pudenda and continued until, by the oracle's command, he was recalled and crowned as the garden god.
The Hindus follow a similar custom of painting their gods with vermilion.
In the Thesaurus Eroticus Linguae Latinae, four kinds of Phalli are described:
1 Those made of wood, chiefly of the fig tree, used at the festivals of Priapus and Bacchus.
2 Those of glass, ivory, gold and silken stuffs and linen, which Giraldus tells us were used by the Lesbian women to satisfy their passions.
3 Wheaten images shaped like the male pudenda.
4 Drinking vessels of gold or glass of a like shape.
Herodotus speaks of these Phallophori in the festivals of Bacchus as men who bore statues of a cubit's length, with members almost equal in size to the rest of their bodies.