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Question: What did some soldiers who guarded Caesar in ancient days wear as battle souvenirs?

Answer: Just the dessicated phalluses of their slaughtered enemies.

Talk about realism. One of these dried male organs is actually on display at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s 2nd annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition. It hangs around the neck on a leather strap,  part of a guard’s costume from "Rome," HBO’s critically hailed series that was nominated for six Emmys, including costume design.

So, um, whom did this belong to? "Oh, we don’t know," said chuckling costume designer April Ferry, who won an Emmy for her "Rome" work last year and is nominated for it again this year.  "It was a common practice and the soldiers used to bring them home as souvenirs." Beats refrigerator magnets, I guess.

April2Ferry was at FIDM last Saturday talking about the gruesomely authentic accessory and how sad it was to have the their award-winning show canceled. Ferry and her fellow Emmy ’07 nominees Catherine Adair ("Desperate Housewives") and Eduardo Castro ("Ugly Betty") were presented with congratulatory certificates for their Emmy nods. Castro missed picking up his award due to a last-minute photo shoot with the "Betty" cast. 

If you’re a "Rome" fan, you’re in and out of luck. Sadly, the series is still canceled. Don’t get me started on that. But at least "Rome: The Second Season" is coming out on DVD. And in addition to the ongoing FIDM display, the windows at Barney’s on Wilshire will be done up in Roman Emperor fashion this week for the DVD launch party set for Saturday evening. Lucius Vorenus, Mark Antony and Atia will be on hand to keep April company.

If you can’t swing an invite to Saturday’s event, you can always hit FIDM. There you can check out wardrobes from other 2007 Emmy costume nominees "The Tudors"  and "Jane Eyre," as well as fashion flashbacks from iconic shows such as  "I Dream of Jeannie," "Charlie’s Angels" and "Bewitched"; current hits including "24" and "Entourage"; and last year’s Emmy costume winner, "Elizabeth."

The TV costume collection will be open to the public at FIDM from July 31 through Sept. 29. Click here for more information.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the dried phallus.

Photo Credits: Alex Berliner/ Berliner Studio/BEImages

Posted by:Elizabeth Snead