Saturday, December 15, 2012

Erotic ancient art in Pompeii

Erotic art was discovered in the ancient city of Pompeii (around the bay of Naples, Italy) after excavations in 18th century. The city was full of erotic paintings and sexually explicit frescoes. They were mostly in brothels (lupanares in latin), small buildings between two and ten tiny rooms where prostitutes offered their services really cheap.

Prostitution was legal and licensed in ancient Rome. It was regulated to some extent, not so much for moral reasons as to maximize profit, even the Emperor Caligula (Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD) inaugurated a tax upon prostitutes as a state impost. Is documented that taxes were collected on brothels of boys available for homosexual sex too.

It is unclear whether the erotic images on the walls were advertisements for the services offered by prostitutes or merely intended to heighten the pleasure of the visitors. But they indicate that the sexual mores of the ancient Roman culture were much more liberal than some present-day cultures.

Lupanar's room
Lupanar of Pompeii


If you wish, you can get some of these paintings in my virtual shop on SL Marketplace

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