IN ancient Roman religion and magic, the fascinus or fascinum was the embodiment of the divine phallus.
Phallic imagery was everywhere in Ancient Rome: inscribed on paving stones, on pendants and jewelry and as decorative hangings, such as this terracotta fascinus found in Pompeii.
The deity Fascinus was tended by the Vestal Virgins who blessed phallus effigies, amulets and talismans, and spoke enchantments invoke his divine protection.
Pliny calls it a medicus invidiae, a "doctor" or remedy for envy (invidia, a "looking upon") or the evil eye.
Tintinnabulum hanging wind chimes in gardens warded off insect pests and blights from plants.
A fascinus ring on a child's finger, or pendant around the child's neck served to protect the tot from harm.
Phallic emblems on paving stones were intended to keep away evil spirits who might cause traffic accidents.
A winged phallus whisked harm away with the beat of its wings.