Priapus holding fruit.
The subject entreated by this page finds its origin in a most alluring place: Within the moist, fragrant folds of Aphrodite's most sacred interiority. It was there that either Zeus, Hermes, Adonis, or Dionysus deposited the seed which incited the creation of the magnificent Priapos. Whoever the father was, the act of union offended the sensibilities of Hera, who, with a magic touch to Aphrodite's belly, cursed the child growing there in the way most offensive to Aphrodite: she made him ugly. Priapos was born with a huge belly, huge feet, hands, nose, tongue, and a gigantic, continuously erect phallus, so unusual that its head was said to point to the rear. The obscenity of this creature so offended Aphrodite that she cast him out of her realm and abandoned him in the wilderness.
Priapus holding babies.
There, as we might expect, he was taken in by a herdsman, who found that wherever this incredible creature went, everything grew like crazy: Plants shot up from the ground, and animals hopped upon each other, copulating furiously and giving birth. Priapos soon became known as a fertility god, but this is only a part of his aspect. He also was the tutor of Ares, teaching the young battle god to dance before teaching him to be a warrior. Priapos was said to have tried to rape Hestia and was prevented only by the braying of an ass which woke the goddess in time to avoid this dubious and troublesome fate. He also was said to cure impotence, bring good luck and was particularly adept at warding off the evil-eye.

This outstanding figure was known to the Greeks as Priapos, to the Romans, Priapus. It is rumored that during the early stages of Christianity, the church had succeeded in getting the pagans to give up worship of all the old gods, save Priapus. No matter what threats or enticements were applied, and the latter reportedly included various claims of the possesion of the genetalia of Jesus, the loyal worshipers of Priapus would not give up reverance for their favorite god. The expression of this unwavering reverance included the baking of bread in the shape of phalli on every available celebratory occasion, including church holidays. Unable to disuade the people from this rather un-Christain practice, the wise church fathers sanctified the loaves, providing each had three crosses carved into its top. Thus was the supposed beginning of hot crossed buns.

Priapus weighing his member.
The Priapic images presented on this page imagine him with the appearance of a human man with a somewhat exaggerated phallic magnitude. Many descriptions of him present a different image, however. In his erudite translation of Catullus, Jacob Rabinowitz describes the god as a "pot-bellied garden-gnome with an oversize prick-sort of like a teapot." In other places he is described as having all extremities exaggerated: tongue, ears, nose, hands, feet-- and a prick so humongus that it curves backwards over his shoulder. He is also supposed to posses an ass so pronounced that he appears to be "phallic to the rear". These more gnome-like, eccentric images seem to more accurately reflect the character of the god as revealed in the tales of his adventures.

The Romans who inspired the above images may have made the same mistake made by many modern mythologists, forgetting about his more subtle and sometimes humorous traits and becoming possesed only by the enormity of the god's schlong and its unforgiving erectile power. A parallel mistake is often made in imagining him as only a fertility god. His power as a protector of men and his tutoring of Ares are just as prominant in the life of the god as is his member.

Very soon The Ares Press will present a home-made image of the god, one more persuant to the descriptions found in earlier sources. We will also explore some of the god's adventures, his questionable fatherhood, his appearence and participation in modern life, and much more.

As of July 2004, it would seem that Toyota is preparing to market a hybrid sports car called, quite honorably, the Priapus. What a ride. Check it out.

Copyright ©1995, 2004 The Ares Press

Read Dennis P. Quinn's article on Priapus' exploits in Petronius' Satyricon.

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