However, these representations from the Greek and Roman periods might not be as sexual as many perceive. It was during this time, and even today, that certain people had an “Evil Eye.” This “Eye” could cause great harm when cast, and many people of the time employed devices to protect themselves from the danger of the Evil Eye. Defense mechanisms used against the Evil Eye are known as apotropaic devices. These objects often took many different representations. During the Greek and Roman period, a common form seen was the penis. They could be seen on amulets worn around the neck, on rings, decorating walls, and even on objects worn by animals. Knowing this information, viewers can now look at these objects that once seemed “pornographic,” with fresh eyes and see how these phallic images were not meant to entice, but to protect.
The Evil Eye is the belief that just one glance could cause damage to life and property. This idea of the Evil Eye was not only prevalent in Greco-Roman period, but is still found today. The Evil Eye was dangerous in not only the sense that it could destroy life and property, but that it could be possessed by anyone and that everyone was susceptible to its dangers. Almost anybody could possess the Evil Eye if they were to become envious of others in such areas as beauty, wealth, and health. This envious nature put more prominent people in danger because of their status. Babies and young children were thought to be susceptible as well. Animals were also thought to be effected by the Eye, especially horses, because of their economic productivity. With this deep belief in the Evil Eye, certain measures were taken to protect oneself from the destructive powers imposed by the Eye. As a result of this belief of the Evil Eye one can see the adoption of jewelry and home goods with apotropaic designs on them, such as amulets, rings, paintings, mobiles, and other objects.
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