Punic masturbation

Masturbation in Ibiza


In the archaeological museum at Ibiza, I found this splendid vase which clearly shows masturbation. The figure behind also appears to be masturbating , holding his penis in his hand.



Here is another fine pot showing a gentleman with a prominent , one might almost say erect penis, but with miniature breasts, and, just to show he is respectable, wearng a neck ring.

They form part of  a fine collection of Punic vases. I thought at first they must be funerary urns with the penis displaying virility in death as in life, but apparently they were dug up in 1907 in Illa Plana, where they were found down two wells, and are thought to be ritual deposits representing some unknown fertility god and dated to the 6th or 5th century BC

One can see clearly that they are not face urns: they are either solid or if they are hollow and they must be entered from underneath. However they both have prominent penises, and both appear to be masturbating, their hand right down by their penis. This must be a masturbatory god like Min in Egypt. I call them the masturbating meerkats

The most interesting period in Ibiza to the archaeologist is the Punic, or Carthaginian period from the seventh to the third centuries BC, when the Carthaginians turned Eastern Spain into a province, and Ibiza became one of their major offshoots.

They soon gave way to a much realistic form. These are incense burners, where incense was burnt in the hollow at the top, and I think they represent the Punic goddess Tanit. But seeing these genuine Punic items makes me think that the ones above reflect much more a local native culture and art style into which Punic realism gradually emerges.

Right is another similar goddess with long ringlets hanging down either side. I think that both these come from the cave-sanctuary of es Cuieram

The masturbating figures seem to come from an earlier phase than the Punic incense burners, and one wonders whether they predate the Carthaginian (=Punic) invaders and mark a phase in the dark ages between the end of the Bronze Age civilisation and the onset of the full Iron age. Do the neck rings indicate that these are figures of people in authority? Was there a ritual whereby the leaders, the Kings, had to show themselves in public with erect penises and masturbating? There would be a parallel to this in ancient Egypt, where the God Min was a masturbatory God and it is sometimes thought that the Pharaohs in their celebration of the Sed festival after 30 years were required to appear in public and display that they have not yet lost their procreative powers.


Kerkouane Phallic jar 117Here is another example of a phallic urn,  this time from the Museum at Kerkouane in Tunisia.

Kerkouane is a small town that lies 40 miles to the East of Carthage and is the best  excavated example of a Carthaginian town. It would appear that such phallic urns were a not altogether uncommon feature of life in the Carthaginian and Phoenician area.







 On to the Greeks

Revised, 1st February 2017