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prostitution

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...
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...
Albertine to See the Police Surgeon.

The Fallen Women: Were Victorian Prostitutes Really Fallen?

The Victorian era is notoriously known as an era of female repression: sex, drugs and rock and roll—or rather, their Victorian counterparts—were believed to be highly taboo topics of conversation,...
Lost in Translation? Understandings and Misunderstandings about the Ancient Practice of “Sacred Prostitution”

Lost in Translation? Understandings and Misunderstandings about the Ancient Practice of “Sacred Prostitution”

In the modern world, the mere mention of “Sacred Prostitution” may receive raised eyebrows or disgusted grimaces. Evidently, this was also the case for the ancients as many ancient authors describe...
Pleasure, Procreation, and Punishment: Shocking Facts about Sex and Marriage in the Ancient World

Pleasure, Procreation, and Punishment: Shocking Facts about Sex and Marriage in the Ancient World

Much of what is considered normal in the present day might have been seen as shocking in the past and vice versa. This idea applies to many of the aspects of daily life, including customs related to...
The Four Great Beauties, and the Arts of the Courtesans in Ancient China

The Four Great Beauties, and the Arts of the Courtesans in Ancient China

The Four Great Beauties are four ancient Chinese women renowned for their beauty which they skillfully exercised to influence Chinese history. Although each of the Four Great Beauties frequently...
Actaeon Surprising Diana (Artemis) in the bath, by Titian

Poet Sappho, the Isle of Lesbos, and sex tourism in the ancient world

The sexual proclivities of ancient Greece is almost as mythologized as their legendary heroes. In fact, the entire Greek pantheon of gods is renowned for its hedonistic sexual antics and exploits...