Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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A Pompeii brothel mural.

Spintriae, The Roman Sex Coins That Showed What Was on The Menu

There is a curiosity that belongs to ancient Roman history which historians are yet to solve; there exists a collection of Roman brass coins or tokens that depict sexual acts on one side and a...
Marble body lines of young naked Roman women of Renaissance Era Source: Neurobite / Adobe Stock)

A Guide to Exploring Love, Sex, and Homosexuality in Ancient Rome

When people think about love and sex in ancient Rome, it tends to be pretty scandalous: orgies here, there, and everywhere! But the truth is rarely black and white. Were the Romans more sexually...
Marie Antoinette was entirely innocent of the crime. Source: oksana_bondar / Adobe Stock.

Marie Antionette’s Diamond Necklace: The Fraud That Killed A Queen

This is the story of Marie Antoinette, the 18 th century Queen of France, and a diamond necklace that was never actually hers. Although the story seems so outlandish as to be fiction, it is all true...
Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Infamous Female Pirate Lord

Ching Shih – From Prostitute to Infamous Female Pirate

Ching Shih (or Zheng Shi) was a Chinese prostitute who became a powerful female pirate, controlling the infamous Red Flag Fleet. The fleet grew under her command, with expanding reserves of loot, and...
‘The Slave Market’ (1882) by Gustave Boulanger. From her childhood as a slave, Neaera was trained for the life of a Classical Greek courtesan. Source: Public Domain

Neaera: Tragic Life of an Athenian Child Slave Raised in a Brothel

Marguerite Johnson / The Conversation The ancient worlds of Greece and Rome have perhaps never been as popular as they presently are. There are numerous television series and one-off documentaries...
Old man beguiled by courtesans.

Protection or Profit? The 1000 Prostitutes Employed by the Church in 12th Century London

The modern Christian church does not condone prostitution and would never consider getting involved with it. However, in 12 th century England, a borough of London known as Southwark had eighteen...
Mosaic - Empress Theodora and Retinue, San Vitale in Ravenna.

Theodora: How a Poverty Stricken Prostitute Became an Empress

The history of Theodora is a classic rags to riches tale, as she is thought to have started life in the lowest class of Byzantine society but became one of the most powerful women in civilization’s...
Mural from a Pompeii brothel.

The Grim Reality of the Brothels of Pompeii

Like the anxious men who began excavations at Pompeii in the 18th century and discovered more about the ancient Italians than they had bargained for – such as phallic-shaped lamps – historians of sex...
Phryne, The Ancient Greek Prostitute Who Flashed Her Way to Freedom

Phryne, The Ancient Greek Prostitute Who Flashed Her Way to Freedom

Phryne the Thespian was a famed courtesan of Athens, better known for the court case she won by baring her breasts. Her actual name was Mnesarete but people referred to her as Phryne (“toad”) because...