When asked about the coolest founding father, few people would
The art left behind by cultures says a lot about the values of the people. Based on that, we can definitively say that the Ancient Romans valued penises. A lot.
Little statue penises
We’ll start with the easiest, and most abundant “bawdy” thing to be found in Ancient Rome and Greece – statues of men with their little penises hanging out. This is an influence almost purely of Greek origin, because the Ancient Greeks really loved the human (most often male) body.
Fun fact: the statues from this period with fig leaves over their genitals have been permanently damaged by a succession of prudish popes who just couldn’t seem to stand being around a bunch of small, marble penises all day.
On top of the non-erotic statues with little penises hanging around everywhere, Pompeii and Herculaneum contained erotic statues, including the most famous piece in the Naples “Pan copulating with a goat.” That is exactly what it sounds like, and is very NSFW.
The penis has a lot of symbolism. If it works correctly, a penis can bring fertility, so children and fortune to a house. As a result, certain people started placing penises in the entryway to homes as a good luck charm.
Speaking of penis good luck charms, the Romans had things called tintinnabulae. These were little figures with bells attached to them, often shaped with big ol’ penises, including one penis beast, and one of a gladiator whose penis is turning into a beast.
It wasn’t just in sculpture that the Romans got filthy – it turns out they had some pretty dirty mouths. Great examples (100 percent authentic) from Pompeii and Herculaneum include:
“Restituta, take off your tunic, please, and show us your hairy privates,”
“Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!”
“Celadus the Thracian makes the girls moan!”
And finally, the hilarious simple, “I have buggered men.”
While it’s a little unclear what exactly the paintings found inside Pompeii’s brothels were for, one possible explanation is that they served as advertisements and menus for incoming customers. Prices at the brothels could be very cheap – at the lower end, services only cost about as much as a loaf of bread.