"a multiplicity of Pans whirling a multiplicity of Syrinxes; Lotis attempting to elude Priapus"
A fresco of Priapus found in Pompeii
Public DomainA fresco of Priapus found in Pompeii

In Greek mythology, the shepherd god Pan fell in love with with the water-nymph Syrinx. To help her elude his clutches, her sisters transformed her into a reed. Still infatuated, Pan cut the reeds to make pipes so that he could keep her near him.

A similar tale concerns the nymph Lotis and the fertility god Priapus, known for his exceptionally large genitals. Finding Lotis asleep, Priapus attempted to rape her. But a braying ass caused him to lose his erection and woke the nymph up. Priapus carried on in his attempts until the gods turned Lotis into a lotus plant out of pity.