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A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus

A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus

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Published by: S82BV on Jun 26, 2012
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07/02/2012

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A Discourse on theWorship of PRIAPUS
 ANDITS CONNECTIONWITHTHEMYSTICTHEOLOGYOFTHE ANCIENTS
by
RichardPayne Knight
TO WHICH IS ADDED
 ANACCOUNTOFTHEREMAINSOFTHEWORSHIPOFPRIAPUSLATELY  EXISTINGATISERNIAINTHEKINGDOMOFNAPLESBYSIRWILLIAM  HAMILTON,K.B.
LondonPrinted by T. Spilsbury, Snowhill., M.DCC.LXXXVI
BasiliscOccultdocuments/SexualityNo.6
© pdf 
Benjamin Adamah
2010
www.luxnoxhex.org
 
PDF make up after a text that was originally scanned and proofed by Eliza Fegley at sacredspiral.com, June2003. Additional, and formatting (illustrations, footnotes, page numbers, Greek Unicode) by John B. Hare atsacred-texts.com, June 2003.
ON THE WORSHIP OF PRIAPUSINTHE KINGDOM OF NAPLES
Naples, Dec. 30, 1781
.SIR,HAVING last made a curious discovery, that in a Province of this Kingdom, andnot fifty miles from its Capital, a sort of devotion is still paid to PRIAPUS, theobscene Divinity of the Ancients (though under another denomination), I thoughtit circumstance worth recording; particularly, as it offers a fresh proof of thesimilitude of the Popish and Pagan Religion, so well observed by Dr. Middleton,in his celebrated Letter from Rome: and therefore I mean to deposit theauthentic
1
proofs of this assertion in the British Museum, when a properopportunity shall offer. In the meantime I send you the following account, which,I flatter myself, will amuse you for the present, and may in future serve toillustrate those proofs.I had long ago discovered, that the women and
p. 14
children of the lower class, at Naples, and in its neighbourhood, frequently wore,as an ornament of dress, a sort of Amulets, (which they imagine to be apreservative from the
mal occhii
,
evil eyes
, or enchantment) exactly similar tothose which were worn by the ancient Inhabitants of this Country for the verysame purpose, as likewise for their supposed invigorating influence; and all of which have evidently a relation to the Cult of Priapus. Struck with thisconformity in ancient and modern superstition, I made a collection of both theancient and modern Amulets of this sort, and placed them together in the BritishMuseum, where they remain. The modern Amulet most in vogue represents ahand clinched, with the point of the thumb thrust betwixt the index and middle
1
 
finger; the next is a shell; and the third is a half-moon. These Amulets (except theshell, which is usually worn in its natural state) are most commonly made of silver, but sometimes of ivory, coral, amber, crystal, or some curious gem, orpebble. We have a proof of the hand above described having a connection withPriapus, in a most elegant small idol of bronze of that Divinity, now in the RoyalMuseum of Portici, and which was found in the ruins of Herculaneum: it has anenormous Phallus, and, with an
PLATE IEX VOTI OF WAX, FROM ISERNIA p. 17
arch look and gesture, stretches out its right hand in the form above mentioned
1
;and which probably was an emblem of consummation: and as a further proof of it,the Amulet which occurs most frequently amongst those of the Ancients (next tothat which represents the simple Priapus), is such a hand united with thePhallus; of which you may see several specimens in my collection in the BritishMuseum. One in particular, I recollect, has also the half-moon joined to the handand Phallus; which half-moon is supposed to have an allusion to the female
menses
. The shell, or
concha veneris
, is evidently an emblem of the female part of generation. It is very natural then to suppose, that the Amulets representing thePhallus alone, so visibly indecent, may have been long out of use in this civilizedcapital; but I have been assured, that it is but very lately that the Priests haveput an end to the wearing of such Amulets in Calabria, and other distantProvinces of this Kingdom. A new road having been made last year from this Capital to the Province of  Abruzzo, passing through the City of Isernia (anciently belonging to the

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