Wilhelmina F. Jashemski, "The Excavation of a Shop-House Garden at Pompeii (I.xx.5),"
American Journal of Archaeology
81.2 (Spring, 1977) 217-227 (at 220-221):
Amulets in the shape of parts of
the body (hand, phallus, vulva) were believed to
have apotropaic efficacy.10 The use of the phallus as
an amulet to protect against witchcraft was so
common that the name fascinum, which means "a
bewitching, or witchcraft" came to be applied to
the membrum virile.11 The phallus even became
deified as the god Fascinus. Babies were put under
the protection of Fascinus12 (i.e., they wore an
amulet in the shape of a phallus or fascinum);
generals also were protected by this deity, for the
image of a phallus was hung under the chariot of a
general at his triumph to protect him from jealousy.13 The walls of towns, all kinds of public and
private property, open and public squares, and
tombs were protected in this way.14 A large number
of amulets have been found at Pompeii "generally
accompanied by phallic tokens of bronze, glass,
lapis lazuli, and amber."15 The phallic symbol
above the ovens in Pompeian bakeries perhaps had
the same function. Best known is the one found in
the bakery located at the corner of the House of
Pansa at VI.vi.17-21. The rectangular niche in the
curve above the oven once held a phallus of red
travertine that had been painted red,16 accompanied
by the legend hic habitat felicitas.17 The baker
Sextus Patulcus Felix at Herculaneum took greater
precautions. Over his oven door there were two
phalli to protect his baking; two more were found
in the dough-room.18 The front of the dye-furnace
at the entrance of IX.vii.2 on the Via dell'Abbondanza is decorated with a winged phallus. There
is a much larger phallus (48 cm. long) on the west
side of the furnace. Various phalli are found on
exterior walls at Pompeii,19 but the one at the street
corner on the shop-house garden wall is unlike any
found thus far.
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum
10 OCD s.v. "Amulets"; Daremberg-Saglio, s.v. "Fascinum";
and RE, s.v. "Fascinum."
11 See Porphyrion on Hor. Epod. 8.18: aeque [fascinum]
pro virili parte posuit, quoniam praefascinandis rebus haec membri deformitas adponi solet.
12 Plin. HN 28.39.
13 Supra n. 12.
14 Otto Jahn, "Über den Aberglauben des bösen Blicks bei
den Alten," Berichte über die Verhandlungen der Königlich-Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Philologisch-historischen Classe
7 (1885) 69-79. For apotropaic phalli on the city wall beside
the gates at Alba Fucens see NSc 1950, 278, 284; G. Picard, The
Ancient Civilization of Rome (Geneva 1969) 223 comments on
the number of phalli to be seen on street corners "which were
considered as particularly dangerous spots."
15 Pierre Gusman, Pompei: The City, Its Life and Art (London 1900) 127.
16 Giuseppe Fiorelli, Pompei (Naples 1875) 105.
17 CIL 4.1454.
18 A. Maiuri, Ercolano: I nuovi scavi 1927-1958 (Rome 1958)
19 A phallus above the entrance door served to identify a cella meretricia.
20 There is a small walking phallus at the street corner at
III. iv. 3; a larger phallus marks the street corner at IX.v.1.