Tintinnabulum

In ancient Rome, a tintinnabulum was a wind chime or assemblage of bells. A tintinnabulum often took the form of a bronze phallic figure with wings, or fascinum, a magico-religious phallus thought to ward off the evil eye and bring good fortune and prosperity. It was hung outdoors in locations such as gardens, porticoes, houses, and shops, where the wind would cause them to tinkle. The sounds of bells were believed to keep away evil spirits [From Wikipedia].

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Dutch Christians in the middle ages wore badges shaped like flying, erect penises as a sign that they had made their pilgrimage.

They got the idea from the Romans, who used them as protective amulets. They were called fascinum and were considered to be the “embodiment of the divine phallus.”

That’s where the word fascinating comes from, by the way. From flying penises.



Fascinum: Old World Truck Nuts

From Wikipedia.org

Sometimes, when you’re just casually doing historical and mythological research, you stumble upon things you kind of wish you didn’t know.  Fascinum (pictured above) were charms or carvings of the divine, erect phallus created by Romans to invoke the blessings of the deity Fascinus and the generative male force.  They were also a good way to bless and counter invidia, which is basically the Roman version of the evil eye.  All that is well and good, but Wikipedia also specifically notes that, "When a general celebrated a triumph, the Vestals hung an effigy of the fascinus on the underside of his chariot to protect him from invidia.”

Yes, that’s right.  Fascinums served as the pagan Roman version of truck nuts.  Excuse me, truck nutz.

Is this a bizarre mythological case of convergent evolution?  The world is a strange place.

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  • An Account of the remains of the worship of Priapus, lately existing at Isernia, in the kingdom of Naples; in two letters, one from Sir William Hamilton to Sir Joseph Banks and the other from a person residing at Isernia; to which is added, A discourse on the worship of Priapus, and its connexion with the mystic theology of the ancients (1786).
  • A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus, and Its Connexion with the Mystic Theology of the Ancients. Richard Payne Knight, esq. London: R.P. Knight, 1865
  • Roman Fascinum.
  • In ancient Roman religion and magic, the fascinus or fascinum was the embodiment of the divine phallus. The word can refer to the deity himself (Fascinus), to phallus effigies and amulets, and to the spells used to invoke his divine protection. Pliny calls it a medicus invidiae, a “doctor” or remedy for envy (invidia, a “looking upon”) or the evil eye. […] The English word “fascinate” ultimately derives from Latin fascinumand the related verb fascinare, “to use the power of the fascinus,” that is, “to practice magic” and hence “to enchant, bewitch.”