Fascinus was a minor deity in Ancient Rome. In fact he was not so much a god as part of one - a disembodied penis and scrotum, roaming free and touching lives with his phallic benevolence. This virile member of the pantheon was popular from approximately 753 BC - 100 AD. Roman men, women, and especially children wore Fascinus charms to protect themselves from the ‘evil eye’ and dark magic. When a Roman general celebrated a triumph, Vestal Virgins would hang a charm under his chariot to shield him from the envy of his peers and enemies.
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Fascinus charms (called fascinum) were often made of wood or metal, showing an erect penis and scrotum with miniature wings, a penile tail, or, in the more subtle models, a second penis between little penis-shaped feet. Images of Fascinus have been found in wind chimes, jewelry, and art throughout the former Roman empire.
The terms ‘fascinus’ and ‘fascinum’ were derived from the verb ‘fascinare’: to enchant or bewitch. The same verb is the root of the modern English word ‘fascinate’.
The hitch accessory featured in the second panel is known as ‘truck nutz’, ‘cargonads’, ‘drive-thru danglers’ and ‘trucksticles’, among other things. It is widely available for purchase online, but buyer beware: several U.S. states have already tried to impose fines for using them. Wikipedia.
- The Idea of a Town: The Anthropology of Urban Form in Rome, Italy and the Ancient World. Joseph Rykwert. Massachusetts: MIT Press. 1976, 1988. P. 159. Google Books.
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Sir William Smith. Boston. 1865. P. 521. Internet Archive.