Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities
2005—2006 Forum on Word and Image
Classical Studies, Archaeology
The Phallus: An Apotropaic Symbol in Ancient Rome
The art and literature of the first-century A.D. Roman world are replete with exaggerated images of the phallus. Believed to protect against outside evil, images of the phallus adorned frescoes, amulets, statues, etchings, drinking cups, vases, and more. It was also discussed in literature, satire, elegy, and poetry. What was the public function of this most private symbol?