(φαλλός, nmembrum virile), a representation of the male generative organ, as the symbol of the fertility of nature, was carried among the ancient Greeks in the processions of the Dionysia, and men disguised as women, called Ithyphalloi, followed immediately behind it. The phallus, which was called among the Romans fascinum, was often used by that people as an amulet hung around the necks of children to avert evil influences. The Satyrica signa of Pliny probably referred to the phallus, and he says that these were placed in gardens and on hearths to protect against the fascinations of the envious. From Pollux, also, we learn that smiths were accustomed to place figures of the phallus before their forges for the same purpose. This symbol, which disgusts us by its indecency, conveyed to the ancient heathens, as the Linga (q.v.) does to the modern Hindi's, a profound and sacred meaning. Diodorus Siculus, referring to the veneration in which the phallus was held among the Greeks, tells us that by this they would signify their gratitude to God for the populousness of their country. "It was an object of common worship throughout the nature- religion of the East, and was called by manifold names, such as Linga, Joni, Pollear, etc. Originally it had no other meaning than the allegorical one of that mysterious union between the male and female which throughout nature seems to be the sole condition of the continuation of the existence of animated beings; but at a later period, more particularly when ancient Rome had become the hot-bed of all natural and unnatural vices, its worship became an intolerable nuisance, and was put down by the senate on account of the more than usual immorality to which it gave rise. Its origin has caused much speculation, but no certainty has been arrived at by investigators. The Phoenicians traced its introduction into their worship to Adonis, the Egyptians to Osiris, the Phrygians to Attys, the Greeks to Dionysus. The common myth concerning it was the story of some god deprived of his powers of generation — an allusion to the sun, which in autumn loses its fructifying influence. The procession in which it was carried about was called Phallagogia, or Periphallia, and a certain hymn was sung on that occasion, called the φαλλικὸν μέλος. The bearers of the phallus, which generally consisted of red leather, and was attached to an enormous pole, were the Phallophoroi. Phalli were on those occasions worn as ornaments around the neck, or attached to the body. Aristotle traces the origin of comedy to the ribaldry and the improvised jokes customary on these festivals. Phalli were often attached to statues, and of a prodigious size; sometimes they were even movable. At a procession of Ptolemy Philadelphus a phallus was carried about made of gold, and one hundred and twenty yards long. Before the temple of Venus at Hierapolis there stood two phalli, one hundred and eighty feet high, upon which a priest mounted annually, and remained there in prayer for seven days. The phallus was an attribute of Pan, Priapus, and to a certain extent also of Hermes" (Chambers). The believers in the development theory of course have a way of their own in accounting for the origin and progress of phallic worship. They teach that it is the most ancient and universal of the beliefs of the human race, and that it has prevailed among all known nations of antiquity, and has been handed down in both dead and living forms to the present day. They claim to see evidences of its existence not only in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, but also in Syria, Persia, Asia Minor, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, and Scandinavia, among the mound-builders of North America, in Mexico, Central America, Peru, and Hayti, and in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, and in Africa. They ecen see its traces among the Jews, and in the use of certain symbols in Christianity. Thus, e.g., Westropp teaches: "The origin of the idea is coeval among primitive nations with that of the family, and rests in part upon the natural veneration of the father as the generator, the priest, and the ruler. Marriage derived much of its importance from a veneration of the principles at the foundation of the phallic worship. Its ceremony was attended with rites which marked their significance, and one of its symbols, the wedding-ring, is employed at the present day. Circumcision was in its inception a purely phallic ordinance. Although the O.T. narrative relates that it was instituted as a covenant between Jehovah and Abraham, the rite had been practiced by the Egyptians and Phoenicians long before the birth of the Hebrew patriarch. Serpent symbolism was associated with the phallic emblems, but that there was an identity in their signification has not been clearly established. The serpent was used among most archaic nations as a symbol of wisdom and health, and yet its meaning often included the notion of life and an embodiment of the spirit." Mr. Wake, another essayist of the same school, treats the Mosaic account of the fall of man as a phallic legend, which was borrowed by the compiler of the Pentateuch from some foreign source, probably from the mysteries of Mithra, a Persian deity. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil he identifies with the figtree, which was highly venerated by many primitive peoples. Its leaves, it will be remembered, were sewed into aprons by Adam and Eve after their transgression. The kerub which guarded the tree of life is interpreted as a symbol of the Deity himself, in the form of the sacred bull of antiquity — a form under which the kerub is described by Ezekiel (chapter 1 and 10). The story of the Deluge is also regarded as a myth, with decided evidences of a phallic character. In many of the incidents interwoven into the history of the Hebrews, and in many of their religious observances, Mr. Wake discovers testimony of the influence of the phallic superstition. Abraham was a Chaldaean, and by tradition declared to have been learned in astronomy, and to have taught the science to the Phoenicians. "He had higher notions of the relation of man to the Divine than his ancestors," says the writer, but there was no fundamental difference between his religious faith and that of his Syrian neighbors. The Jewish patriarchs erected pillars and planted groves, both of which were customs connected with phallic worship. Throughout the rule of the judges, and especially after the establishment of the monarchy, the Hebrews were given to derelictions from the purer religion of their nation to the idolatrous practices of their neighbors, which involved worship ofphallicstatues and omphalic emblems in "high places." The religion of Baal, openly denounced by the prophets, was a sort of phallism, and was conducted with lewd and abominable ceremonies, which the Jews too often imitated. Mr. Wake even holds that the basis of Christianity is more purely phallic than that of any other religion. "In the recognition of God as the universal Father, the great Parent of mankind, there is a development of the fundamental idea of phallism. In the position assigned to Mary as the mother of God the paramount principle of the primitive belief is again predominant. The nimbus, the aureole, the cross, the fish, and even the spires of churches, are symbols retained from the old phallic worship." The May-pole festival is cited as having a phallic origin, and, in the beginning, a reference to some event connected with the occurrences in the Garden of Eden. In fact, says Dr. Wilder, also of this class of writers, "There is not a fast or festival, procession or sacrament, social custom or religious symbol, existing at the present day which has not been taken bodily from phallism, or from some successive system of paganism" (comp. Ancient Symbol Worship: Influence of the Phallic Idea in the Religions of Antiquity, by Westropp and Wake; with Introd., etc., by Wilder [N.Y. 1871, 8vo]). These theorists lose sight altogether of the possibility that in the retrogression to which the nations cited became subject they must necessarily have manifested sensual tendencies of the very nature of phallicism, and that only in their lowest estate such worship was extensively indulged in. Absurd it is to point to circumcision as in anywise connected with phallic worship. The Jew practiced it as a rite of admission to the fold to distinguish him, and also as a sanitary precaution which physicians approve of in our day. We do not wonder that such ridiculous and extravagant hypotheses lead to the proposition recently made by one of the same school of thinkers as those quoted, that "there would also now appear good ground for believing that the ark of the covenant, held so sacred by the Jews, contained nothing more nor less than a phallus, the ark being the type of the Argha or Yoni (Linga worship) of India" (Sellon, in Anthropol. Society of London, 1863- 4, page 327 sq., 12th paper). (J.H.W.)

Bible concordance for PHALLU.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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