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A Gallery of Intact Penises in Art

2. Pompeii (and Herculaneum)


The destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum by the eruption of Vesuvius (on August 24, 79 CE) froze a moment in Roman time, protecting it from Christian censors and preserving for us relics of a richly erotic culture. The penis, often erect but often still strikingly posthetic ("beforeskinned"), was a centre of attention - the close-ups are hardly necessary.


This humorously phallic gilded bronze image of a "placentarius" (cake-seller) holds a dish for sauces. He was still packed in his box in the House of the Ephebe at the time of the eruption.

Placentarius (cake-bearer)Placentarius' penis

The folding in the inner margin of his foreskin is accurate.

Artistic depictions of erections follow.













Fountain Fountain's penis

The lower margin of this handsome figure's foreskin projects forward as they do in life, but more so, much like a teapot and perhaps for the same reason, to prevent drips, because here it serves as a fountain.

House of the Vetii


Priapus weighing his penis

The fertility god Priapus (who can also be identifed by his basket of fruit) weighs his penis. As Friedman observes, his penis is literally "worth its weight in gold".

House of the Vetii


This tripod, formed of three young satyrs, supports a basin.

Priapus tripod Pripus tripod's penis

Though their penises are erect, their foreskins are not at all retracted - this is seldom seen in life.

All items are in
the National Museum of Naples


Reclining athlete
Reclining athlete, from aboveReclining athlete's penis
This reclining athlete from the Villa dei Papiri has the classically ideal, small penis but a long foreskin and an acroposthion.

replica at the Getty Villa


Reclining satyr
Reclining satyr's penisThis drunken satyr with a wineskin from the Villa dei Papiri has a more adult-sized penis and pubic hair, but again a distinct acroposthion.

replica at the Getty Villa


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