A Roman Bronze Phallic Amulet, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE
A Roman Bronze Phallic Amulet, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE
A Roman Bronze Phallic Amulet, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE

A Roman Bronze Phallic Amulet, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE

RB2111

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An Ancient Roman bronze amulet featuring a manus fico to the left and phallus to the right. There features a realistic representation of phallus and testicles in the center. The amulet has a suspension loop at the top.

Used as a fertility and good luck charm, the clenched fist (manus fico) amulet was also designed to ward off evil. The gesture has survived to modern times, regarded in some areas a good-luck sign and in others as an insulting gesture. In modern Italian, for example it is known as mano fico, mano meaning: “hand,” and fico meaning: “fig.” In antiquity, the fig was ubiquitously used as a symbol of several goddesses because the fruit’s oval red interior strikingly resembles a vulva. Ancient Greeks used the word “fig” as slang for the female genitalia so the gesture is often thought to represent sexual intercourse. Some Roman amulets combine a phallus and a mano fico gesture, as can be found in this example, which would have been considered the ultimate powerful source for protection and good fortune.

Condition: Rejoined but complete and in very good condition overall, with excellent green-brown patina,

Dimensions: Length: 3.5 inches (8.8 cm), height: 2.6 inches (6.6. cm)

Provenance: Collection of Mr. L.B. Godó, Barcelona, acquired in the 1960s-70s.

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