Lupanar (the brothel)

LupanarProstitutes were called ‘lupae’, and the word ‘lupanare’ indicated a brothel. In Pompeii, 25 different brothels have been found. There were entire houses used for this purpose such as the one found in Regio VII having 10 small rooms with stone beds that were then covered with matrasses. Five rooms were on the ground floor and five upstairs and could be reached through a small wooden stair. Along the ground floor corridor, paintings of erotic scenes have been found, probably used as a sort of catalogue for the possible requests or more realistically just as a collection of images from the ‘Schemato Veneris’, one of the illustrated manuals of ‘ars amatoria’ written by the female poets Philainis and Elephantis from Samo in the III  and IV centuries B.C.

In this brothel, a number of inscriptions, comments and names were found, which helped to identify at least 80 prostitutes and clients. It is also possible to identify the sexual preferences and sometimes the contagious sexual diseases transmitted. Contraceptive methods were used such as oils and the insertion of wool soaked in lemon juice.

The “lupanares” could be located at the top of the shops such as the ‘cauponae’ or above the baths and sometimes they were just single rooms placed along the roads or inside private houses.

In ancient Rome prostitution was commonly accepted. Catone the censor, although famously strict according to Horace (Satires), once saw a young person coming out of a ‘lupanar’ and praised him because he had let out his sexual appetite with a prostitute rather than doing it with someone else’s wife. Clients usually belonged to low social classes: they were mainly merchants and foreign sailors. Prostitutes were slaves and their earnings went entirely to their owner called Lenone. The average price was 2 aces, the price of a glass of wine.

Published by Emiliano's Archaeological Tours

My name is Emiliano Tufano, I am an archaeologist and tour guide. I run an organization providing archeaological and cultural tours in Campania. When I was ten years old I found a piece of painted pottery on a small piece of land belonging to my family, which is located nearby the ancient Greek city of Paestum. For the whole of that day I kept this piece of history in my hands. I remember that it was decorated with a black figured scene of a Satyr driving a biga. The feeling I had when realized it was a genuine antique object was very strong, and I started asking myself many questions about the people who occupied that area across the centuries and, particularly, about the man who made such a beautiful piece of work. Since then I started collecting all sorts of pots and stones that I found while I wandered through the countryside. I used to divide my finds simply on the basis of their shape and color. They were the first steps of me becoming an archaeologist. At school, history was my favorite subject; therefore my decision of which degree course to choose was an easy one, Archaeology. Today, archaeology is my profession and my passion. Throughout the years I developed skills in fieldwork and academic research. I participated as a field director in several excavation projects of fundamental importance across Italy and I was engaged in significant academic research projects in Sicily, Tunisia and Libya. I now fulfill my ambition with a PhD project about the Sicilian prehistory. However, my interests go beyond just the history. I have a strong creative side and I love photography, and I write articles for a newspaper in my local area, play football and enjoy diving. I enjoy traveling and have been to many different countries, where I always make particular efforts to learn as much of the local language and culture as possible. In 2010 I became qualified to work as a tourist guide of the Campania Region, and today I offer guided tours in Italian, English and Spanish. I live my job with passion and professionalism. With me you can visit the wonders of Campania: the Vesuvian archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and other beautiful sites, such as the historic centers of Naples, Caserta and Salerno, the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Coast, all the major churches and museums. Through exclusive and tailor-made tours, according to your requirements, you will receive quality service and cultural enrichment.

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