School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Projects

The Phallus and the Frontier

A phallic stone recovered from the Roman fort at Carlisle, held in the Tullie House collection
A phallic stone recovered from the Roman fort at Carlisle, held in the Tullie House collection

Stones bearing a phallus and other objects bearing phallic imagery are ubiquitous not only with Hadrian's Wall, but with Roman material culture. The paper considers this imagery relative to its form, chronology, and 'presence' along the corridor of Hadrian's Wall, arguing that phallic stones are seminal to our understanding the Wall frontier, imbuing it with magical as well as physical defences, challenging modern perceptions of Roman liminal space. This in turn allows us to recast Hadrian’s Wall as it relates to border control, defence, and movement.

Related publication: in prep, Collins, R. The Phallus and the Frontier: The form and function of phallic imagery along Hadrian’s Wall, in R. Collins and T. Ivleva (eds.) Un-Roman Sex, to be published by Routledge