ERIKA CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ERIKA CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Roman fresco of the god Priapus on the wall of the House of the Vettii in the Roman city of Pompeii, Italy. Priapus was the Greek god of the phallus, male sexuality and fertility. He was also a god of the gardens and a patron of seafarers and shepherds. His cult spread to Greece, and later to Italy, from Turkey. A fresco is constructed by applying coloured pigments dissolved in water to a wet, lime-plastered wall surface. A chemical reaction between the pigments and the plaster makes the picture a permanent part of the wall. Pompeii was a small city on the slopes of the volcano Mount Vesuvius. It was largely decimated by an eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.
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