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φαλλός). The male organ of generation; but most often the figure of that organ used by both Greeks and Romans as symbolizing the generative and creative force of nature, and therefore displayed as a sort of charm to promote manly vigour, to prevent decay, and to avert the displeasure of those spirits on whom the fertility of men, animals, and plants was supposed to depend. It was especially the symbol of Priapus (q.v.), whose image was provided with an enormous phallus, and was set up in gardens both to drive away birds, like the modern scarecrow (Hor. Sat. i. 8), and to secure productiveness. The most primitive use of the phallus was devoid of any indecent suggestion, but was regarded as harmless and natural; yet this was not true in later times,

Stone cut in Phallic Form. (Schliemann.)

when it was worshipped as a part of the obscene cults that sprang up, and was depicted with pornographic intention. Thus it was used as a sign for houses of prostitution (see Meretrix), and decorated the walls of drinking-shops. By the lower classes, small images of the same kind were worn about the neck as amulets (see Amuletum), to avert the evil eye, as is the case in Italy to-day, where the peasants carry them made of coral. Pastry was made in the same form, and also lamps. A similar superstitious custom obtains in some parts of India, and the ancient Egyptians associated the phallus with the worship of Osiris. Many specimens of the phallus of various materials are preserved in the National Museum at Naples. See De Is. et Osir.; Augustin. De Civ. Dei, vi. 7, 9; vii. 21, 24; and Dulaure, Des Divinités Génératrices; ou du Culte du Phallus (Paris, 1805).

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    • Horace, Satires, 1.8
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