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prostitute

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...
Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Pirate Lord

Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Pirate Lord

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...
A Pompeii brothel mural.

Paying for Services: Illicit Brothel Coins of Pompeii Show What’s on The Menu

Today, there is a strong, negative stigma surrounding the occupation of prostitution. It is often looked upon as “sinful”, “detestable”, and “shameful”—both for the prostitute and the participant. In...
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...