Historical Reprints Religion WORSHIP OF THE GENERATIVE POWERS

WORSHIP OF THE GENERATIVE POWERS

WORSHIP OF THE GENERATIVE POWERS
Catalog # SKU0818
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Thomas Wright
 
$14.95
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THE WORSHIP OF THE GENERATIVE POWERS
by THOMAS WRIGHT


THE WORSHIP OF THE GENERATIVE POWERS:
DURING THE MIDDLE AGES OF WESTERN EUROPE
by THOMAS WRIGHT

Excerpt

The mediaeval worship of the generative powers, represented by the generative organs, was derived from two distinct sources. In the first place, Rome invariably carried into the provinces she had conquered her own institutions and forms of worship, and established them permanently. In exploring the antiquities of these provinces, we are astonished at the abundant monuments of the worship of Priapus in all the shapes and with all the attributes and accompaniments, with which we are already so well acquainted in Rome and Italy.

Among the remains of Roman civilization in Gaul, we find statues or statuettes of Priapus, altars dedicated to him, the gardens and fields entrusted to his care, and the phallus, or male member, figured in a variety of shapes as a protecting power against evil influences of various kinds. With this idea the well-known figure was sculptured on the walls of public buildings, placed in conspicuous places in the interior of the house, worn as an ornament by women, and suspended as an amulet to the necks of children. Erotic scenes of the most extravagant description covered vessels of metal, earthenware, and glass, intended, on doubt, for festivals and usages more or less connected with the worship of the principle of fecundity.

When we cross over to Britain we find this worship established no less firmly and extensively in that island. Statuettes of Priapus, phallic bronzes, pottery covered with obscene pictures, are found wherever there are any extensive remains of Roman occupation, as our antiquaries know well. The numerous phallic figures in bronze, found in England, are perfectly identical in character with those which occur in France and Italy. In illustration of this fact, we give two examples of the triple phallus, which appears to have been, perhaps in accordance with the explanation given by Plutarch, an amulet in great favour. The first was found in London in 1842. As in the examples found on the continent, a principal phallus forms the body, having the hinder parts of apparently a dog, with wings of a peculiar form, perhaps intended for those of a dragon. Several small rings are attached, no doubt for the purpose of suspending bells. Our second example was found at York in 1844. It displays a peculiarity of action which, in this case at least, leaves no doubt that the hinder parts were intended to be those of a dog. All antiquaries of any experience know the great number of obscene subjects which are met with among the fine red pottery which is termed Samian ware, found so abundantly in all Roman sites in our island. They represent erotic scenes in every sense of the word, promiscuous intercourse between the sexes, even vices contrary to nature, with figures of Priapus, and phallic emblems. We give as an example one of the less exceptional scenes of this description, copied from a Samian bowl found in Cannon Street, London, in 1828. The lamps, chiefly of earthenware, form another class of objects on which such scenes are frequently portrayed, and to which broadly phallic forms are sometimes given. One of these phallic lamps is here represented, on the same plate with the bowl of Samian ware just described. It is hardly necessary to explain the subject represented by this lamp, which was found in London a few years ago.

All this obscene pottery must be regarded, no doubt, as a proof of a great amount of dissoluteness in the morals of Roman society in Britain, but it is evidence of something more. It is hardly likely that such objects could be in common use at the family table; and we are led to suppose that they were employed on special occasions, festivals, perhaps, connected with the licentious worship of which we are speaking, and such as those described in such strong terms in the satires of Juvenal. But monuments are found in this island which bear still more direct evidence to the existence of the worship of Priapus during the Roman period.

In the parish of Adel, have been a place of some importance, and which certainly possessed temples. On the site of these were found altars, and other stones with inscriptions, which, after being long preserved in an outhouse of the rectory at Adel, are now deposited in the museum of the Philosophical Society at Leeds. One of the most curious of these, which we have here engraved for the first time, appears to be a votive offering to Priapus, who seems to be addressed under the name of Mentula. It is a rough, unsquared stone, which has been selected for possessing a tolerably flat and smooth surface; and the figure and letters were made with a rude implement, and by an unskilled workman, who was evidently unable to cut a continuous smooth line. The middle of the stone is occupied by the figure of a phallus, and round it we read very distinctly the words.

End Excerpt

Table of Contents
Antiquity
Middle Ages and Renaissance
Shelah-na-Gigs
Priapus Worship
Priapic Amulets
The 'Fig'
Sexual Demons
Phallic Festivals
May-day
Midsummer Night
Plants and Flowers
Other Festivals
Mediaeval Secret Societies
The Knights Templar
The Witches' Sabbath
Inniskea


Softbound, 176 pages

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