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106515.  Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:30 pm Reply with quote

I know Stephen said not to contact him regarding lead shot but...

Actually, I'm not going to discuss its development in Bristol or the council's short-term attitude in demolishing a building that is (was) of world-wide historical importance. I will say that a photo of the lead shot tower in Bristol, thankfully still standing, was acknowledged as a late comer in the quest to find the most phallic building in the world.

Go to to see mine then follow the links to see the others.[/url]

106530.  Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:46 pm Reply with quote

Thanks for that.

I wonder where the habit of referring to anything that isn't either spherical or cubical as "phallic" came from? I read a straight-faced feminist critique of Harry Potter recently which decried the use of wands as phallic. This is something which cultural historians must have attempted to ascertain. Anyone know the earliest use of the word "phallic" to describe something which manifestly isn't?

106595.  Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:07 pm Reply with quote

Alexander Hislop, in his 1858 book 'The Two Babylons', claimed the Roman Catholic Church was a Babylonian mystery cult. In his attempt to dismiss Catholicism as paganism he described church steeples as phallic - something they are patently not, (and obvious to all except perhaps hard-line Freudians). The book has been severely criticized for its numerous misconceptions, factual errors and lack of evidence in many other areas.


It would be qi if there were earlier ones.

gerontius grumpus
106613.  Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:52 pm Reply with quote

Anyway, back to the question of shot towers. SF said he didn't know why the shot didn't flatten out on hitting the water.
The point is that the reason for dropping the lead in a tower is that it has time to cool and solidify before hitting the water at the bottom. Otherwise they might just as well have been shot bungalows.

106622.  Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:00 pm Reply with quote

Everything's flipping phallic these days. Especially where feminist criticism is concerned.

Then you get Freudian criticisms on that, saying that we all (women) have penis envy because some woman said a crutch was a phallic symbol (with reference here to Brick's crutch in 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof').

106679.  Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:41 pm Reply with quote

Crutch, crotch *\^/*

106699.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:30 am Reply with quote

Thanks for that, costean. The bidding starts at 1858. Do I hear 1840 anywhere? Come on, now, give me 1840. I'll take 1850, then. 1850, anyone? Come on, ladies & gennlemen ...

106709.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:14 am Reply with quote

According to etymonline, First record of "phallic symbol" is from 1907.

106734.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:10 am Reply with quote

What is this, a Dutch auction?

106759.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:07 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
According to etymonline, First record of "phallic symbol" is from 1907.

True, but the same source also claims the first use of 'phallic' to be from 1789. As the 1858 citation shows, you can label something as symbolically 'phallic' without using the term 'phallic symbol'.

106764.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:19 am Reply with quote

Sorry, I wasn't attempting to undermine Costean's post - rather to point out that it was a remarkably early citation.

Effectively Hislop is describing something is a phallic symbol fifty years before anyone actually thought about putting the two words together. It was also over forty years before Freud said:

"All elongated objects such as sticks, tree-trunks and umbrellas (the opening of these last being comparable to an erection) may stand for the male organ - as well as all long, sharp weapons, such as knives, daggers and pikes."

Karl Jung was supposed to have said:

"the penis is itself a phallic symbol"

106772.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:28 am Reply with quote

The earliest citation in the OED, the one from 1789, is in a treatise on Aristotle and places phallic in italics. It notes that phallic songs can still be heard in many cities, even in these days.

The first citation in a work not about Ancient Greece seems to be from Thomas Hardy in 1892 - he refers to "myriads of loose white flints, in bulbous, cusped and phallic shapes". Perhaps the first reference in print to the well known concept of "two round ones and a long one".

The word phallus goes back further, to 1613 in fact. A work named Pilgrimauge refers to "two phalli, or priapi (huge images of the priuie part of a man)".

106774.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:37 am Reply with quote

So, any other mentions earlier than that are likely to be a total phallus-y?




106790.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:04 am Reply with quote

The first citation in a work not about Ancient Greece seems to be from Thomas Hardy in 1892

this doesn't seem to fit in with:

Alexander Hislop, in his 1858 book 'The Two Babylons' [...] described church steeples as phallic

Are we to take it that Hislop didn't use the actual word?


Well I've just searched through the online text of this book, and the only use of the word phallus/phallic that I can find is relating to Isis' consecration of the phallus of a dismembered Horus.

106794.  Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:13 am Reply with quote

How can a penis be a phallic symbol?


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