Although uncertain, this is thought to be a Roman figurine of Priapus. It has an even surface patina, which may be the result of touching as a safeguard against the evil eye.
In Greek mythology, Priapus was a fertility god and is usually depicted with an oversized, permanent erection. A fresco, rescued from Pompeii following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, depicts Priapus.
In Hellenistic times the worship of Priapus was widespread. Sophisticated urban society looked on him with ribald amusement, but in the country he became the god of gardens. Primitive statues of the god were set-up in vegetable plots to promote fertility with the added benefit of acting as a type of ‘scarecrow.’