:.. Home :.. The Greeks and Eros :.. Greek art :.. The phallic amulets of Pompeii

:.. Roman world :.. Roman art:.. Accueil :.. Les amulettes phalliques de Pompéi

:.. Monde romain :.. Art romain :.. Os amuletos fálicos de Pompéia

:.. Mundo romano :.. Arte romana

:.. O falo alado em Pompéia

:.. Delicatæ o famosæ

:.. Lupae

:.. Bustuariæ

:.. Scorta erratica

:.. Blitidæ

:.. Forarie

:.. Fornices

:.. Quadrantariae

:.. Diabolaiæ

The secret of the happiness of the Pompeians of 79 AD?

The foul.

The phallus was the symbol of happiness in Pompeii two thousand years ago.

«Here is the home of happiness – Hic habitat felicitas – Here lives happiness».

In Pompeii, as in other Roman cities, a phallus, often represented in paintings, reliefs and sculptures, with disproportionate dimensions, had a high value:

it favored fertility and attracted good luck.

Or, even more simply, it was just a playful element of a society which, like the Roman one at the time, experienced sexuality without hypocrisy, bigotry and formalism, fully expressing the joy of living everyday life.

:.. The Winged Phallus in Pompeii

For the Greeks and Romans the penis was a symbol of power: in ancient Rome, the size and shape of the penis often facilitated a military career.

Furthermore, among the Romans, the penis served as a lucky charm.

The “fascinum”, for example, was a phallic amulet against the evil eye to be hung on the wrist. Hence the superstitious gesture of “touching” oneself (or touching the horn, phallic-shaped) to draw energy.

«A phallus with tail and paws» in the streets of the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples) in Italy.

«Similar depictions are often found at the crossroads of Pompeii, as a symbol of good luck».

We will begin our journey into the imagination of the Romans with an object that today we would define as obscene, forgetting that this term, in the ancient world, did not have the same meaning that it has for us today.

A Roman would never have defined obscenus, a winged phallus because in his world, this term indicated what was a bad omen, and therefore the exact opposite of what instead identifies one of the best-known images from Pompeii, from the Roman world and from Roman art.

To appeal to all its magical strength, the winged phallus must be reproduced, immeasurable, enormous, propitiatory, capable of driving away evil spirits, capable of giving protection to the home and work environments, a force of nature against evil, flagellating demons and the fascinum: the negative power of the dry eye.

Winged phalluses, twisted phalluses, animal-like phalluses, phalluses that are intertwined with phalluses, phalluses that are grafted onto phalluses.

And it really seems like an endless chase, a real mania, to reproduce this protective symbol on a thousand objects, hanging everywhere.

Also included in the Pompeian road signs, these images, bizarre for us, fluttering here and

there, served to chase away the darkest side of our humanity and through a stylistic mutation

that will land on the horn, they continue their reclamation work even in the contemporary age.

:..  Lupanare :.. Hic Habitat Felicitas

:..”prosperity lives here” :.. happiness :.. luck is at home here

In ancient Lazio the goddess Lupa was venerated and at her temple the priestesses practiced sacred prostitution or financed the temple by giving themselves to the faithful for a fee.

These women were called wolves because they attracted the attention of men by howling like wolves.

The Romans later replaced the goddess Lupa with the god Lupercus to whom they dedicated the festival of Lupercalia.

The name lupa passed from the priestesses of the goddess to normal prostitutes and therefore the places where prostitution took place were called lupanari

The Lupanare of Pompeii represents one of the unmissable destinations for many visitors.

It is a two-storey building reserved exclusively for the practice of prostitution.

Not that there were no other brothels in the city but they were generally located in the upper rooms of taverns and private homes and not located in a specific building.

The environment is made up of 5 cells on the ground floor and 5 on the upper floor and inside each room there is a brick bed on which mats or mattresses were placed.

What arouses interest are the paintings with erotic subjects placed on the doors of Acceslupanare di Pompeiso to the rooms, a probable “advertisement” of the services in which the housed prostitute excelled or a simple way to distinguish the various rooms.

The brothel, being at the crossroads between two secondary roads, is not exactly easy to locate but don’t despair, put yourself in the shoes of an ancient Pompeian and do as he did, follow the phalluses engraved on the paving or on some stones placed on the facades of the houses.

Since the Internet did not exist at the time, customers’ opinions on the service received were not entrusted to online review sites but engraved directly on the walls; around 120 were found.

There was a method that could be equated with our condom.

The dried sheep intestine prevented infections and was reusable, after intercourse it was washed.

It is probable that even among the brothels someone used similar methods.

According to some scholars, the legionaries were equipped with this type of condom and this would not be surprising, soldiers have always been the main users of prostitutes and it is reasonable to think that the commanders wanted to avoid epidemics.

Prostitution in Rome was not exclusively made up of slaves but of a varied and composite world where both women and men prostituted themselves and where many could manage their profession independently.

The lena (not rarely the girl’s mother) or the leno were those who exploited

prostitution by renting a room to a girl or making her work in a tavern or brothel.

From this name comes our term lenocinio.

Some high-class prostitutes are known to have accumulated large capital

and it is believed that actresses and actors prostituted themselves when necessary.

:.. Delicatæ or famousæ

:.. They were the equivalent of our escorts, cultured and refined,

they addressed a wealthy public.

:.. Lupae

Memory of the ancient priestesses who practiced their profession in the brothels

:.. Bustuariæ

They prostituted themselves near funerary monuments, not because they had

a particular taste for horror but because they were isolated and

little-frequented places where they could stay calm.

Erratic supply The street workers, the walkers who still crowd the

peripheral areas of the cities today.

:.. Blitidae :.. they worked in taverns

:.. Forarians

:.. They worked on country roads

:.. Fornices

:.. They worked under the arches (fornices), the term fornicate comes

from this practice.

Arches are a very common architectural element in Rome, especially in the

construction of aqueducts, bridges and sports structures.

These types of structures were located outside the urban environment and

offered a minimum of shelter.

:.. Quadrantariae

:.. Really cheap prostitutes who took a quarter of an ace for each service.

:.. Diabolaiæ :.. Practically the most disinherited women in Roman society.

They prostituted themselves in the poorest neighborhoods of the cities.

They could attract customers of the lowest level and with spending

capacity close to zero.

:.. Le phallus ailé à Pompéi

Nous commencerons notre voyage dans l’imaginaire des Romains avec un objet que nous définirions aujourd’hui comme obscène, en oubliant que ce terme, dans le monde antique, n’avait pas la même signification qu’il a pour nous aujourd’hui.

Un Romain n’aurait jamais défini obscenus, un phallus ailé car dans son monde, ce terme indiquait ce qui était un mauvais présage, et donc l’exact opposé de ce qui identifie au contraire l’une des images les plus connues de Pompéi, du monde romain et de Art romain.

Pour faire appel à toute sa force magique, il faut reproduire le phallus ailé, incommensurable, énorme, propitiatoire, capable de chasser les mauvais esprits, capable de protéger l’environnement domestique et professionnel, force de la nature contre le mal, les démons flagellants et le fascinum : le pouvoir négatif de la sécheresse oculaire.

Phallus ailés, phallus tordus, phallus animaliers, phallus entrelacés de phallus, phallus greffés sur phallus.

Et cela ressemble vraiment à une course-poursuite sans fin, une véritable manie, de reproduire ce symbole protecteur sur mille objets, accrochés partout.

Incluses également dans les panneaux routiers pompéiens, ces images, bizarres pour nous, flottant ici et là, ont servi à chasser le côté le plus sombre de notre humanité et, par une mutation stylistique qui atterrira sur la corne, elles continuent leur travail de récupération même dans le époque contemporaine.

:.. O falo alado em Pompéia

Começaremos a nossa viagem no imaginário dos romanos com um objecto que hoje definiríamos como obsceno, esquecendo que este termo, no mundo antigo, não tinha o mesmo significado que tem para nós hoje.

Um romano nunca teria definido obscenus, um falo alado porque em seu mundo este termo indicava o que era um mau presságio e, portanto, exatamente o oposto do que identifica uma das imagens mais conhecidas de Pompéia, do mundo romano e de Arte romana.

Para apelar a toda a sua força mágica, é necessário reproduzir o falo alado, incomensurável, enorme, propiciatório, capaz de afastar os maus espíritos, capaz de dar proteção aos ambientes doméstico e de trabalho, uma força da natureza contra o mal, os demônios flageladores e os fascinum: o poder negativo do olho seco.

Falos alados, falos retorcidos, falos semelhantes a animais, falos entrelaçados com falos, falos enxertados em falos.

E realmente parece uma perseguição sem fim, uma verdadeira mania, reproduzir este símbolo protetor em mil objetos, pendurados por todos os lados.

A religião e a superstição estão interligadas num mundo em que tudo parece girar em torno do sexo que, fonte de vida e de alegria, é para os romanos um fenómeno positivo, mágico, por vezes dotado de um poder espiritual que dirige a vida e, através da reprodução, o transcende.

Também incluídas nos sinais de trânsito de Pompeia, estas imagens, bizarras para nós, esvoaçantes aqui e ali, serviram para afugentar o lado mais negro da nossa humanidade e através de uma mutação estilística que vai pousar na buzina, continuam o seu trabalho de recuperação mesmo no idade contemporânea.




«Alex il viaggiatore» Roma, Italia.


:.. For those who would like to learn more:

Eva Björklund, Lena Hejll, Luisa Franchi dell’Orto, Stefano De Caro, Eugenio La Rocca (ed.), Reflections of Rome.

Roman Empire and Barbarians of the Baltic, exhibition catalog

(Milan, Altri Musei a Porta Romana, from 1 March to 1 June 1997), Bretschneider’s Herm, 1997.

Megan Cifarelli, Laura Gawlinski (ed.), What shall I say of clothes? Theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of dress in antiquity, American Institute of Archaeology, 2017.

Carla Conti, Diana Neri, Pierangelo Pancaldi (ed.), Pagans and Christians. Forms and attestations of religiosity of the ancient world in central Emilia, Aspasia editions, 2001.

Jacopo Ortalli, Diana Neri (ed.), Divine images.

Devotion and divinity in the daily life of the Romans, archaeological evidence from Emilia Romagna, exhibition catalog (Castelfranco Emilia, Civic Museum, from 15 December 2007 to 17 February 2008),

All’Insegna del Giglio, 2017. Adam Parker, Stuart McKie (eds.), Material approaches to Roman magic.

Occult objects and supernatural substances, Oxbow Books, 2018.

Varone, Erotica Pompeiana (Love inscriptions on the walls of Pompeii, L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2002.

To learn more about the phenomenon of prostitution in Roman society:

:.. Catharine Edwards – Unspeakable Professions Public Performance

and Prostitution in Ancient Rome – Princeton University Press – 1997

:.. Thomas A. McGinn – The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World:

A Study of Social History and the Brothel – University of Michigan Press – 2004

:.. Thomas A.J. McGinn, Prostitution, Sexuality and the Law in Ancient Rome,

Oxford University Press, 1998

:..  Jill Harries – “Men without Women:

Theodosius’ consistory and the business of government”

:.. Kelly, Christopher – Theodosius II:

Rethinking the Roman Empire in Laten Antiquity

:.. Cambridge University Press – 2013