The fascinus or fascinum, personification of the divine phallus in the magic and religion of Ancient Rome.
The word can also refer to the deity Fascino (Fascinus) himself, to effigies or amulets of the phallus and to spells used to invoke his divine protection. Pliny the Elder calls him a medicus invidiae, a “doctor” or remedy for envy (invidia) or the evil eye.
In Spanish we have the term fascinate, which the Royal Spanish Academy explains as..
1. tr. Deceive, hallucinate, obfuscate.
2. tr. Attract irresistibly.
3. tr. Do evil eye.
Height: 14 cm
Minor width: 3.4 cm
Largest width: 4.4 cm
Thick: an average of 2.8 cm
Weight: 302.65 gr
Composition: Gray quartzite with quartz inclusions
What is it about, what is it?
The Roman-Veton Phallus is a 14 cm long, gray quartzite stone, not carved, perhaps a pebble, but re-polished with enough abrasion or by soft percussion in three specific areas. It presents two well-defined anatomical parts of the phallus.
What was its use?
It is not easy to find out with what eyes the people who created this phallus saw. Why they did it and for what, what was the point, what was its functionality, how and what did they use it for …
Discovering its functionality is giving meaning to this original piece. That is to say, what was its practical use, what was it used for and with what idea it was manufactured. In other words, it could be determined if it is an object of worship, perhaps for personal use as an amulet, or of a family nature in the house, perhaps of the entire castro community, used for certain festivals or fertility rites and cults or fertility. Possibly it is something similar to an amulet with a protective power.
Venturing the time and function of this stone phallus is not easy either, but it could be placing us in the first years of the first millennium or in the last century BC.
PROTECTION AGAINST THE EVIL EYE
The evil eye (fascination) was a widespread belief in Roman society, it was the pernicious influence that a person can exert on everything around him, without resorting to any ceremony or magic formula, sometimes without intending to or against even of his will.
On the other hand, we see how various mythological creatures were related to this oculus malignus, such as the Cyclopes or the myth of the Gorgon itself. Even some philosophical schools as well as great classical authors, admitted the existence of the evil eye and sought a rational explanation for this phenomenon.
Furthermore, the Roman was a very superstitious individual and feared the evil eye almost as much as death. So they looked to magic, witchcraft and superstition for causes and solutions to everything that traditional medicine could not cure. So there was a whole repertoire of amulets, spells and talismans against the evil eye, where the use of phallic symbols stood out especially.
All these remedies devised against the evil eye tried to make the fascinator look away, for which he was shown an unusual, extravagant (átopori) or ridiculous (geloíon) object, or at least to concentrate his gaze on those objects, so that They prevented them from looking directly at the wearer of them, thus escaping from this evil eye. In addition, these amulets had a triple effect: they drove away the evil eye, but they also fought it and could even heal the cursed.