In Pompeii ancient Romans kept their babies safe by tying a bell in the shape of a penis around their neck. This guaranteed extra protection. Penis statues brought fertility but also warded off evil, and the noise from the bell scared away malevolent spirits. Once the baby finally arrived with the help of the fertility inducing clay penis, the Roman mother couldn’t risk losing the baby to evil forces. Terra cotta statues of Priapus, the god of fertility, depicted with a large, erect penis also kept away robbers. The placard in the Naples National Archaeological Museum explained that a statue of Priapus strategically placed in the garden guarded against thieves because “anyone trying to steal the garden produce risked being impaled on his out-sized member.”
A glass case in the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Naples displayed 25 terra cotta penises, 3 breasts and 4 uteri all plucked from the ashes of Pompeii. For years they couldn’t be seen because the secret sex room housing Roman erotica was declared obscene. More recently it was decided that modern day viewers and 14-year-olds accompanied by a parent could handle the sexual content. During Roman times, the terra cotta body parts were scattered around the home to bring fertility and they were openly viewed by everyone.
Copyright © 2013 Victoria Hopewell