Phallic emblems are found on a wide range of Roman objects, from amulets to frescoes, from mosaics to lamps. Such symbols were a representation of fertility, as well as performing an apotropaic function. Some amulets, such as this example, presented extra loops from which small chains with extra pendants used to hang, creating elaborate compositions, similar to wind chimes, whose clinking warded off evil spirits.
The phallic deity was called Fascinus, from the Latin word ‘fascinare’, meaning “to cast a spell”. Charms and amulets shaped as phalluses were worn to invoke the god’s protection against evil spells, and were a common piece of jewellery in ancient Rome. According to Pliny the Elder, charms of this kind were worn even by babies and soldiers.