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Keywords:

  • Pisa;
  • Roman;
  • Priapus;
  • ithyphallic;
  • apotropaic;
  • navigation

Although the ithyphallic deity Priapus was most generally viewed by the Greeks and Romans as a garden fertility god, there is archaeological and textual evidence that those engaged in maritime activity, especially sea-borne trade, also conceived him as a protective deity. The recent discovery of a terracotta phallus in the remains of Pisa Ship E suggests that apotropaic Priapic icons were carried aboard ancient vessels. This finding, along with two related precedents, allows for a new interpretation with regard to the presence of phallic iconography in the assemblages of Greek and Roman wrecks.