rome artifact

Rome unveils 'museum' metro station packed with hundreds of ancient artefacts found during construction

For Romans, the daily commute will never be the same again.  The city on Friday unveiled a brand new underground station that boasts a trove of archaeological treasures that were found during its construction.

They range from iron spearheads and gold coins decorated with emperors’ heads to a delicate perfume bottle made from turquoise glass and marble statues of scantily-clad nymphs.

There are giant amphorae, bronze fish hooks from an ancient Roman fish farm, the remains of a first century BC woven basket and even a collection of 2,000 year old peach stones, from when the area was a rich farming estate providing food for the imperial elite. Read more.

alright kids so guess who got to play with ancient pottery today? that’s right. this kid. 

take a look at this amphora. it’s got a huge fucking dick on it. the donkey is very well endowed and you might be thinking why?? why did this ancient greek artist decide “yo imma paint a donkey with a huge boner it’s gonna be great”? 

well lemme tell you a thing.

so the other side of this amphora has dionysus (your friendly neighborhood wine god) and some maenads (crazy ass drunk ladies – look ‘em up) and some satyrs. 

it shows the continuation of this myth about hera and hephaestus where heph, my boy, builds this throne for his lovely mother. keep in mind that the relationship between him and hera is spotty at best – his mom basically threw him off of mt. olympus for various reasons (there are different variations of the myth) and he (rightly) has a grudge against her.

ok so back to the throne. heph, by the way, is this master craftsman like that’s his divine skill (just like zeus’s is lightning and not keeping it in his pants) and so he’s like “i’m gonna fuck hera over it’s gonna be great” (cuz remember he is a total prankster and also did the same thing with his wife, aphrodite, and ares and he caught them in a huge metal net while they were doing the dirty). anyway, so he builds hera this gorgeous ass throne and she’s like whoa this is the shit like it’s tiffany and versace and whatever. it’s the luxury sportscar of thrones. so she’s super excited and she sits down and BAM 

she’s trapped. 

she can’t get up from this beautiful throne, and to her dismay, all of the gods on mt. olympus are cracking the fuck up. she’s embarrassed as hell and angry as fuck and she still can’t get up off this goddamn throne.

heph, as you’ll imagine, is laughing his ass off and having a great time. he decides that now would be a great time to go on a huge trip around the world (basically as far away from his mom as possible) since he’s the only one who can un-trap her. so he leaves and she’s still stuck sitting on this throne.

eventually, hera and the other gods are like “aight hephaestus come on make the throne let go” and he flat up refuses. so they decide to send dionysus after him (remember he’s the god of wine and tomfoolery) to forcibly bring him back. that’s where this amphora picks up. so on one side is dionysus and his maenads and satyrs.

they track down hephaestus and trick him into getting wasted. like blackout drunk. so drunk he can’t even walk. that’s what this side of the amphora is. so they pop him on a donkey and march him back up to olympus to let his mother (now thoroughly chagrined) out of the trap and that’s the end.

now you may be thinking “well that’s all well and good but what does that have to do with this huge donkey dong?” 

i’m so glad you asked. so as i’m sure you know by now, dionysus is all about drunkeness and moral laxity. his bros, the satyrs, are almost depicted in ancient art in an ithyphallic manner:

so basically all of dionysus’s friends are just always hardcore turned on. they’re horny as fuck (which is funny/punny because hello satyrs are half goat so horns) and the artist of this amphora wanted anyone who was looking at it to know that yes, this donkey too was horny as fuck and a part of dionysus’s big ole friendly gang of drunks (in case the satyrs weren’t enough of a clue). the amphora on the penis is another clue, just in case you missed literally every other clue. 

and so that, friends, is the story of how hephaestus pranked his mom so bad that she had to get his cousin/half-brother/whatever relation they are to get him so drunk that he had to be carried on a donkey with a hard on. 

Fantastical Phalli

The Romano-Germanic Museum, Germany

While wandering around the Romano-Germanic Museum, I noticed quite a number of urns, amulets, and statuary with big phallic imagery.  Why?  Who on earth would want to wear a phallic charm around their neck?  The Romans, that’s who!  The phallus was an ever-present image throughout Roman culture, specifically in the form of the fascinum or phallic charm.  These charms could ward off the evil eye and any other malevolent forces.  Roman boys would wear an amulet, a bulla, containing a phallic charm to protect them.  Archaeologically, anthropologically, etc etc etc, I can appreciate the concept, but I don’t see this coming back as a trendy fashion statement.

Relief depicting a king making offerings the the god Amun and the goddess Hathor, 1st or 2nd century A.D.  Originally from the ancient site Memphis, Egypt now at the Pelizaeum-Museum in Hildesheim, Germany.

The king of right is actually believed the be the Roman emperor Trajan and represents Rome’s dominance over Egypt and Rome’s ability to syncretize religions and deities.  Note that the arches about the figures is not typical of ancient Egyptian architecture and design.  Also note how Hathor is facing forward when she should be facing sideways.