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Ancient Amulets

Roman, Bronze Priapus Amulet, c. 1st Century B.C. - 1st Century A.D.

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Priapus or Priapos was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his absurdly oversized permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia. The word "amulet" comes from the Latin word amuletum, which Pliny's Natural History describes as "an object that protects a person from trouble."
AS91386. cf. Rolland, H. Bronzes Antiques de Haute Provence, Paris, 1965, #136; 41mm (1 5/8") tall, 14.4g, Choice, complete and intact, Priapus standing, bearded, wearing long garment and boots, holding open drapery to expose his large phallus; from a New England Collector; $250.00 (Ä220.00)


Egyptian, Carved Aqua Blue Stone Frog Amulet, New Kingdom, 1567 - 1085 B.C.

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The frog was a symbol of the Egyptian goddess of birth, Heget. Her priestesses were midwives and women often wore frog amulets during childbirth. Heget was said to have breathed life in to the new body of Horus and some of her amulets include the phrase, "I am the resurrection." Curiously, early Christians adopted the frog as a symbol of Christ's resurrection.
AS34523. Frog amulet; 1.6 cm (5/8") long; semi-clear aqua blue stone, seated, holed for suspension, Superb, very rare; SOLD


Roman (Nemausus?), Bronze Phallic Amulet, 2nd Century A.D.

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From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.

"The Worship of the Generative Powers" by Thomas Wright (1866) discusses phallic worship, which appears to have flourished across the Empire, especially at Nemausus, modern Nimes in the south of France. At Nemausus the symbols of this worship appeared in bizarre fanciful sculptures on the walls of its amphitheater and on other buildings. An engraving from Wright's book, shown here, depicts a Roman bas relief found on a monument at Nimes, on which a penis forms the tail of a crested bird that sits upon a nest of egg-like vulvas. This amulet is likely related to worship at Nemausus.
Alexander's Empire
AS36085. Bronze erotic phallic amulet; 4 cm long; male figure (a squirrel?), arms together out front, standing on large erect phallus (the squirrel's tail?), Superb, very strange!; of greatest rarity; SOLD











Catalog current as of Sunday, December 8, 2019.
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Amulets