Roman phallic magic bibliography

This bibliography highlights papers, articles, and books relating to ancient phallic imagery. It was started to support a presentation I am giving to the Roman Finds Group in May 2021; a seminar on Roman phallic imagery in Britain.

There are a few caveats to note for this bibliography: It is not intended to cover the topics of sexuality, lovemaking, and gender (on which see: Un-Roman Sex, 2020 and the bibliography at the end of Johns 1983). It is undoubtedly biased towards anglophone publications as well as those relating to Roman Britain and the NW provinces.  It is a dynamic list and should not be thought of as complete – I welcome messages of additional papers to add in.

Where select pages are relevant, these are noted in square brackets at the end of each entry. Open access copies of texts can be found on the relevant hyperlinks.

Alexander, M. and Bird, J. 1996. ‘Two Roman Phallic Pendants from Surrey’, Surrey Archaeological Collections 83, 245-246.

Bishop, M. 1988. “Cavalry equipment of the Roman army in the first century AD”, in J.C. Coulston (ed.), Military Equipment and the Identity of the Roman Soldier. Proceedings of the Fourth Roman Military Equipment Conference (BAR International Series 394). Oxford, 67–195 [see, especially, type 10]

Bird, J. 1997. “A Romano-British linch pin head from Chelsham”, Surrey Archaeological Collections 84, 187-189.

Blasquez, J.M. 1985. “Tintinnabula de Merida y de Sasamon (Burgos)”, Zephyrus 38, 331-335.

Clarke, J.R. 1996. “Hypersexual Black men in Augustan Baths: Ideal Somatotypes and Apotropaic Magic”, in Kampen, N. B. (ed) Sexuality in Roman Art. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 184-198.

Clarke, J.R. Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 BC – Ad 250. Berkely and Los Angeles, University of California Press.

Collins, R. 2019. Stone-carved phalli: A typology. Roman Finds Group datasheet 10

Collins, R. 2020. “The phallus and the frontier: The form and function of phallic imagery on Hadrian’s Wall”, in Ivleva, T. and Collins, R. (eds), Un-Roman Sex: gender, Sexuality, and Lovemaking in the Roman Provinces and Frontiers (Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies). London and New York, Routledge, 274-309.

Dasen, V. 2003. ‘Les amulettes d’enfants danse le monde gréco-romain’, Latomus 62(2), 275-289.

Dasen, V. 2015. “Probaskania: Amulets and Magic in Antiquity”, in Boschung, D. and Bremmer, J. N. (eds) The Materiality of Magic (Morphomata 20). Paderborn, Wilhelm Fink. 177-204. [see pp185-190].

Deschler-Erb, E and Božič, D 2002 A late Republican bone pendant from the Münsterhügel in Basel (CH). Instrumentum Bulletin 15, 39–40

Faraone, C. The Transformation of Greek Amulets in Roman Imperial Times. [see pp. 59-60, 75-79].

Grant, M. 1997. Eros in Pompeii: The Erotic Art Collection of the Museum of Naples.

Greep, S. J. 1983a. Objects of Animal Bones, Antler, Ivory and Teeth from Roman Britain (Vol I). PhD thesis, University College Cardiff. [see pp274f]

Greep, S. 1983b. “Note on Phallic Amulets Usually Associated with the Roman Army.” In Colchester Archaeological Report 2: The Roman Small Finds from Excavations in Colchester 1971-9, edited by N. Crummy. Colchester: Colchester Archaeological Trust.

Greep, S. 1994. “Antler Roundel Pendants from Britain and the North-Western Provinces”, Britannia 25, 81-97.

Hawkes, C. F. C. 1948. ‘A Romano-British phallic carving from Broadway, Worcs.’, The Antiquaries Journal. 28 (3-4). 166-169.

Holland, L. 2017. “Phallic Amulet/Pendant made of Bone or Horn”, in de Grummond, D. (ed) Wells of Wonder: New Discoveries at Centamura del Chianti. Florence, Edifir edizioni Firezenze. [p154]/

Jelski, G. 1984. “Pententifs phallique clochettes et peltae dans les tombes d’enfant de Gaule Belgique. Une decouverte a Arras”, Revue du Nord 66 (260), 261-280.

Johns, C. 1982. Sex and Symbol? Erotic Images of Greece and Rome. London, British Museum Press.

Johns, C. and Wise, P.J. 2003. “A Roman gold Phallic Pendant from Braintree, Essex”, Britannia 34, 274-276.

Kovač, D. and Koščević, R. 2003. Falosom Uroka Archaeološka Zbrirka Dr. Damir Kovač (The Phallus vs The Curse: The Archaeological Collection of Dr. Damir Kovač). Zagreb.

Lee, A. 2021. “Flexible phalli: contextualising the magic and materiality of a Romano-British antler phallus from Colsterworth Quarry, Lincolnshire”, The Archaeology Journal [10.1080/00665983.2021.188210]

Moore, C. N. 1975. “A Roman Phallic Carving from Long Bennington”, Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 10. 58-59.

Moser, C. 2006. “Naked Power: The Phallus as Apotropaic Symbol in the Images and Texts of Roman Italy” (MA Dissertation, Brown University).   

Neilson, H.R. 2002. “A terracotta phallus from Pisa Ship E: more evidence for the Priapus deity as protector of Greek and Roman navigators”, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 31(2), 248-253.

Parker, A. 2015. “The Fist-and-Phallus Pendants from Roman Catterick”, Britannia 46, 135-149.

Parker, A. 2017. “A New Perspective on a Roman phallic Carving from South Kesteven, Lincolnshire”, Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, 49, 91-98.

Parker, A. 2017. “A Copper Alloy Bowl with Phallic Decoration in the Collection of the Yorkshire Museum”, Lucerna 52, 5-8.

Parker, A. 2017. “Protecting the Troops? Phallic Carvings in the North of Roman Britain”, in Parker, A. (ed) Ad Vallum: Papers on the Roman Army and Frontier in Celebration of Dr Brian Dobson (BAR British Series 631). Oxford, Archaeopress, 117-130.

Parker, A. 2020. “His and Hers: magic, materiality and sexual imagery”, in Ivleva, T. and Collins, R. (eds), Un-Roman Sex: gender, Sexuality, and Lovemaking in the Roman Provinces and Frontiers (Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies). London and New York, Routledge, 90-113.

Parker, A. 2021. “Phalli Fighting with Fluids: Approaching images of Ejaculating phalli in the Roman world”, in Bradley, M., Leonard, V., and Totelin, L. (eds) Body Fluids in Antiquity. Routledge. 173-190.

Parker, A. and Ross, C. 2016. “A New Phallic Carving from Roman Catterick”, Britannia 47, 271-279.

Peña, A. G. 2008. “Amuleto fálico Romano hallado en la Puebela del Rio (Sevilla)”, SPAL: Revisita de Prehistoryia y Archquelogia de la Universidad de Sevilla 17, 329-334.

Plouviez, J. 2005. “Whose Good Luck? Roman Phallic Ornaments from Suffolk”, in Crummy, N. (ed) Image, Craft, and the Classical World: essays in honour of Donald Bailey and Catherine Johns. Montagnac, Editions Monique Mergoil. 157-164.

Richlin, A. 1992. The Garden of Priapus: Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humour. London and New York, Oxford University Press.

Shaffrey, R. Forthcoming. “Meaning in Millstones: Phallic Imagery on Romano-British Millstones”, Britannia

Stewart, P. 1997. “Fine Art and Coarse Art: the image of Roman Priapus”, Art History 20(4), 575-588.

Turnbull, P. 1978. “The Phallus in the Art of Roman Britain”, Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology, University of London 15, 199-206.

Whitmore, A. M. 2017. “’Fascinating Fascina: Apotropaic Magic and How to Wear a Penis”, in Cifarelli, M. and Gawlinski, L. (eds), What Shall I Say of Clothes? Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to the Study of Dress in Antiquity. Boston, MA, Archaeological Institute of America. 47-65.

Whitmore, A.M. 2018. “Phallic Magic: A Cross Cultural Approach to Roman Phallic Small Finds”, in Parker, A. and McKie, S. (eds) Material Approaches to Roman Magic: Occult Objects and Supernatural Substances (TRAC Themes in Roman Archaeology 2). Oxford, Oxbow. 17-32.

Whitmore, A.M. 2020. “Egyptian faience flaccid phallus pendants in the Mediterranean, near East, and Black Sea regions”,  in Ivleva, T. and Collins, R. (eds), Un-Roman Sex: gender, Sexuality, and Lovemaking in the Roman Provinces and Frontiers (Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies). London and New York, Routledge. 310-345.


Additional resources:

Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani (various)
Roman Inscriptions of Britain – RIB 631, RIB 983, RIB 2157
Portable Antiquities Scheme [Search Roman + Phallic]
Artefacts.mom.fr [Object type AMP ‘Phallic amulet]

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