Antwerp was the Lampsacus of Belgium, Priapus being the tutelary god of that city. Ters was the name given to him by the inhabitants who held this divinity in the greatest veneration. Females were accustomed to invoke him on the most trivial occasions, a custom which Goropius informs us continued as late as the 16th century, †

So inveterate was this superstition that Godefrey de Bouillon, marquis of that city, the illustrious leader of the first crusade, in order to eradicate it, or to replace it by the ceremonies of the Christian church, sent to Antwerp, from Jerusalem, as a present of inestimable value, the foreskin of Jesus Christ* This precious relic, however, found but little favour with the Belgian ladies, and utterly failed to supersede their beloved Fascinum. † In the kingdom of Naples, in the town of Trani, the capital of the province of that name, there was carried in procession, during the Carnival, an old wooden statue representing an entire Priapus, in the ancient proportions; that is to say, that the distinguishing characteristic of that god was very disproportioned to the rest of the idol's body, reaching, as it did, to the height of his chin. The people called this figure il Santo Membro, the holy member. This ancient ceremony, evidently a remains of the feasts of Bacchus, called by the Greeks Dyonysiacs, and by the Romans Liberalia, existed as late as the commencement of the 18th century, when it was abolished by Joseph Davanzati, archbishop of that town.

* Historie Religieuse du Calendrier, p. 420.

†Johannis Goropii Becani, Origines Antwerpianae, 1569, lib, i,, p.p. 26 and 101.

Sir W. Hamilton's account of the worship paid to St. Cosmo and St. Damianus is very curious."On the 27th September, at Isernia, one of the most ancient cities of the kingdom of Naples, situated in the province called the Contado di Molise, and adjoining the Aruzzo, an annual fair is held which lasts three days. On one of the days of the fair the relics of Sts. Cosmo and Damianus are exposed. In the city and at the fair, ex-votos of wax representing the male parts of generation, of various dimensions, sometimes even of the length of a palm, are publicly exposed for sale. There was also waxen vows that represent other parts of the body mixed with them, but of those there are few in comparison of the number of the Priapi.

* The foreskins, still extant, of the Saviour, are reckoned to be twelve in number. One was in the possession of the monks of Coulombs; another at the Abbey of Charroux; a third at Hildesheim, in Germany; a fourth at Rome, in the Church of St. Jean-de-Latran; a fifth at Antwerp; a sixth at Puy-en-Velay, in the Church of Notre Dame, ξc.,ξc. So much for relics! † Dulaure, Singularites Historiques de l'Historie de Paris, p. 77. Paris, 1825.

Silver Ex Voto.


Dudaim or Mandrake

Fig. 2. DUDAIM.

Plate VI.

The distributors of these vows carry a basket full of them in one hand, and hold a plate in the other, to receive the money, crying out, "Saints Cosmo and Damianus!" If you ask the price of one, the answer is, "piu ci metti, piu meriti;" the more you give, the more the merit. The vows are chiefly presented by the female sex, and they are seldom such as represent legs, arms, etc., but most commonly the male parts of generation. The person who was at the file, in the year 1780, and who gave me this account (the authenticity of which has since been con- firmed to me by the governer of Isernia) told me also that he heard a woman say, at the time she presented a vow, "Santo Cosmo, benedetto, cosi lo voglio."Blessed St. Cosmo,"let it be like this!" The vow is never presented without being accompanied by a piece of money, and is always kissed by the devotee \ at the moment of presentation.*

But, as might naturally be expected, this does not suffice to fructify barren women; and consequently another ceremony, one which is doubtless more efficacious, was required.

The parties who resort to this fair, slept for two nights, some in the church of the Capuchian friars and the others in that of the Cordeliers, and when these two churchs were found to be insufficient to contain the whole of such devotees, the church of the Hermitage of St. Cosmo received the surplus.

* Letter of Sir \V. Hamilton prefixed to Payne Knight's"Worship of Priapus".

For a representation of the ancient, Ex voto, in silver, the size of the original see Plate VI., figure 1. It is copied from an additional plate inserted by M. Panizzi, late librarian of the British Museum, in the fly-leaf of Payne Knight's "Worship of Phallus".

In the three edifices, the women were during the two nights, separated from the men, the latter lying under the vestibule, and the women, in the church, these, whether in the church of the Capuchins or in that of the Cordeliers, were under the protection of the Father guardian, the vicar, and a monk of merit. In the hermitage, it was the hermit himself who watched over them.

From this it may easily be imagined how the miracle was effected without troubling Saint Cosmo and Saint Damianus at all, in the matter, as well as that the virtue, possessed by those two saints was extended even to young maidens and widows.