Soter Kosmoi  

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Soter Kosmoi[1] [or Kosmou] (English: The Saviour of the World, Ancient Greek ΣΩΤΗΡ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ) is the informal title of a bronze bust of a human torso with the head of a rooster. Au lieu of a nose or beak, the rooster features a large erect phallus. The creature has a comb on the top of its head and wattles representing testicles. The bust was, and may still be, held at the Vatican, suggests 2012 research by Acharya S[2].

The bust is known as the Albani bronze[3].

It was first visually represented in Richard Payne Knight's A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus[4] (1786). It is verbally described on page 61 of that same book, as follows:

"the celebrated bronze in the Vatican has the male organs of generation placed upon the head of a cock, the emblem of the sun, supported by the neck and shoulders of a man. In this composition they represent the generative power of the Eros(in Greek), the Osiris, Mithras, or Bacchus, whose centre is the sun, incarnate with man. By the inscription on the pedestal, the attribute this personified, is styled The Saviour of the World [Soter Kosmoi); a title always venerable, under whatever image it be represented."

The first photograph of the Soter Kosmoi[5] (or a very similar one) is found in Otto Augustus Wall's Sex and Sex Worship, with the caption "The god Priapus as a cock, from a Greek temple".

Malcolm Jones in The Secret Middle Ages calls these kind of sculptures priapi gallinacei, studied by Lorrayne Baird in "Priapus Gallinaceus: The Role of the Cock in Fertility and Eroticism in Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages." (1981).

See also

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