Own A Piece Of History
Roman Bronze Statuette Of The Fertility God Priapus
A small Ancient Roman bronze statuette of the fertility god Priapus.
He wears a hat on his head.
The god is depicted as he stands in a contrapposto stance, He is grasping the sides of his garment, lifting it upwards to create a fold which overflows with fruit.
In lifting his tunic, he reveals his erect phallus, the focal point of his depictions in Classical art. Some detailing to his facial features is still visible, including deeply-set eyes, a prominent nose, and a long beard.
Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD
PRIAPOS (Priapus) was the god of vegetable gardens. He was also a protector of beehives, flocks and vineyards.
Priapos was depicted as a dwarfish man with a huge member, symbolising garden fertility, a peaked Phrygian cap, indicating his origin as a Mysian god, and a basket weighed down with fruit.
His cult was introduced to Greece from Lampsakos (Lampsacus) in Asia Minor and his mythology subsequently reinterpreted. Primitive statues of the god were set-up in vegetable gardens to promote fertility. These also doubled as scarecrows, keeping the birds away.
Priapos was identified with a number of phallic Greek deities including Dionysos, Hermes and the satyrs Orthanes and Tykhon (Tychon).
In a well-known Pompeiian wall fresco (right or above) the god is shown weighing his phallus against the produce of the garden. He is crowned with a peaked Phrygian cap, wears Phrygian boots, and has a Bacchic, cone-tipped thyrsus resting by his side.