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Symbolum Salacitatis

A Study of the God Priapus as a Literary Character


Eugene O'Connor

The ithyphallic garden-god Priapus became a well-known literary character, particularly at Rome during the late Republic and early Empire. He appears, as both a lustful and foolish deity, in the works of Catullus, the elegists, Petronius, Martial, and in the anonymous Carmina Priapea. This study shows that the Priapea, although they may document an actual breakdown in Priapic worship, should be regarded primarily as literary pieces, whose ribald language and scabrous themes derive from the larger body of Greco-Roman satire, epigram and epic burlesque.
Contents: The development of Priapus as a literary character and his Nachleben in English literature - the Greek and Latin Priapic literature outside the Corpus Priapeorum - the eighty poems of the Corpus Priapeorum (ed. Clairmont, 1983).