Entertainment / Literature / Apotropaic: Designed to ward off evil influence or malevolent spirits by frightening these forces away. In many cultures, elaborate artwork depicting monsters would be created to have an apotropaic affect. For instance, the fierce 'celestial dogs' (Fu dogs) carved outside the entrance to Tibetan temples would keep evil spirits from entering the holy ground, and Amerindian shamans would wear frightening, grotesque 'medicine masks' when they visited sick members of their tribe to terrify the evil spirits making them sick. It has been suggested that the presence of gargoyles and grotesques on medieval cathedrals is a remnant of older pagan practices, in which monstrous apotropaic figures would be carved on the front of ships and over the entrances to buildings to ward off evil influences.
Entertainment / Literature / Herm: (plural herma or hermai) In Greco-Roman archeology, a herm is a stone, bronze, or terracotta marker--originally placed at cross-roads or at estate and territorial boundaries, though in classical Athen MORE