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Bronze amulet with horses' hooves and pendants, Graeco-Roman, 100 BCE-400 CE

Made from bronze, this amulet on the right shows a phallus with the hindquarters and hooves of a running horse. Phallic-shaped amulets were popularly worn as symbols of fertility and strength. They were essentially good luck charms. An amulet was, and for many people still is, believed to have magical and spiritual powers, bringing good fortune and good health and protecting against bad luck, which includes disease and sickness. It is shown here with two other examples (A67895 and A97578).

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    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

    Glossary: fertility

    The natural capacity to give birth.

    Glossary: phallus

    An object shaped like a penis