15 Facts About Priapus


In Greek mythology, Priapus is a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia.

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Priapus is marked by his oversized, permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism.

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Priapus 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.

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Priapus was described in varying sources as the son of Aphrodite by Dionysus; as the son of Dionysus and Chione; as perhaps the father or son of Hermes; or as the son of Zeus or Pan.

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Priapus was eventually found by shepherds and was brought up by them.

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Priapus joined Pan and the satyrs as a spirit of fertility and growth, though he was perennially frustrated by his impotence.

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Priapus won the contest, and then killed the donkey, which was put by Dionysus among the stars.

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Originally worshipped by Greek colonists in Lampsacus in Asia Minor, the cult of Priapus spread to mainland Greece and eventually to Italy during the 3rd century BC.

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Lucian tells that in Bithynia Priapus was accounted as a warlike god, a rustic tutor to the infant Ares, "who taught him dancing first and war only afterwards, " Karl Kerenyi observed.

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Outside his "home" region in Asia Minor, Priapus was regarded as something of a joke by urban dwellers.

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Priapus was regarded as the patron god of sailors and fishermen and others in need of good luck, and his presence was believed to avert the evil eye.

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Long after the fall of Rome and the rise of Christianity, Priapus continued to be invoked as a symbol of health and fertility.

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Priapus' iconic attribute was his priapism ; he probably absorbed some pre-existing ithyphallic deities as his cult developed.

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Priapus was represented in a variety of ways, most commonly as a misshapen gnome-like figure with an enormous erect phallus.

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Statues of Priapus were common in ancient Greece and Rome, standing in gardens.

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