Prostitution in Pompeii

2765 Words6 Pages

Prostitution, as stated by Flemming, is known as a form of sexual activity, a kind of sexual style or category, and a form of economic activity, a way of making a living through the provisions of certain services, by behaving in accordance with, or falling into such a category (39). This definition, though, is controversial. While conducting research for this project, we found that most topics regarding prostitution and its affiliates were controversial. Each author gave a differing interpretation for the same data. Due to this, our project centered on the female prostitutes, even though there is evidence of male prostitutes.

"Virtue is something lofty, elevated and regal, invincible and indefatigable; Pleasure is something lowly and servile, feeble and perishable, which has its base and residence in the brothels and drinking houses" (Cornell & Lomas,39). Prostitution, though, not only took place in brothels and taverns. Women worked as prostitutes in brothels, inns, or baths open to the public (Pomeroy,192). They either walked the streets or stopped and stood outside the brothels, which were not allowed to open until 3 pm (Balsdon, 224). Sometimes prostitutes were used as after dinner entertainment (Edwards, 188), and many hotel owners provided their guests with prostitutes (Shelton, 327).

The perception most Romans had regarding prostitution seems to be incredibly contradictory. On one hand prostitution was seen a necessary part of society that was extremely valuable to the preservation of marriage (Laurence, 71). On the other hand Roman laws and social customs put prostitution at the bottom rung of society (Flemming, 56).

Honor-Shame Syndrome

The honor-shame syndrome is the sexual double standard that most of the Augustan L...

... middle of paper ...

...tory of Women II. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Laurence, Ray. (1996). Roman Pompeii Space and Society. London: Routledge.

Lefkowitz, M., and Fant, M. (2nd. ed. 1982). Women's Life in Greece and Rome. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.

Lindsay, J. (1960). The Writing on the Wall. London: Frederick Muller Limited.

McGinn, Thomas A.J.(1998). Prostitution, Sexuality, and the Law in Ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press.

Pomeroy, Sarah. (1975). Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves. New York: Schocken Books.

Richlin, Amy (ed). (1992). Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shelton, J.A. (1998). As the Romans Did: A Sourcebook in Roman Social History. (2nd ed.) New York: Oxford University Press.

Treggiari, S. (1991). Roman Marriage. Oxford: Claredon Press.

Open Document