Fertility

Fertility is a prominent theme in ancient artwork, relating to human procreation as well as ideas of agricultural prosperity and abundance. Such was the importance of success in these areas for ancient societies that whilst images of fruit, plants, or feasts were popular depictions of fertility, it was also common practice to honour and invoke relevant deities through visual art. In Ancient Egypt, this was often done with amulets representing figures such as Bes, the protector of households and families, or Taweret, the zoomorphic goddess of childbirth. In Greece, the most prevalent celebrations of fertility pertained to Dionysus. As the fabled inventor of wine, many drinking or storage vessels used at symposia bore his image, whilst cultic worship often used phallic imagery to celebrate the association with virility. Similarly, in Rome, phallic amulets were used to invoke the god Fascinus and the protective aspects common to fertility deities in order to ward off evil spirits.


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