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
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
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
, 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