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Archaeology of Prostitution

Literary and Material Evidence


In stock

ISBN : 9788130718071


Author : R. Cefaratti


Pages : 100 pp


Year of Publishing : 2020


Binding : Hard Bound



The daily lives of prostitutes in the early Roman Empire are difficult to recover from the ancient sources; the evidence is scattered throughout various genres of literature as well as throughout the documentary and archaeological records. Such a distribution of sources renders scholarship on the subject difficult because the scholar often must split her time between so much diverse evidence. As Judith Hallett so eloquently penned, “”the paucity of ancient Greco-Roman evidence which pertains to women has made it especially necessary for those of us interested in recovering women’s lived reality and even women’s cultural image in Greece and Rome to engage in interdisciplinary and ingenious research efforts.”” For this reason, this research limits the scope of its focus as much as possible (though, obviously, not completely) to the physical remains of prostitution that have survived in the archaeological and art historical records. Such data may remain in the form of the actual material culture from a site thought to have been a brothel, or in the spatial position of brothels (i.e. where the structures are located in the urban plans in relation to the rest of the city). The erotic art and graffiti that are interspersed throughout various structures also provide much information about sexual life and prostitution. When this thesis was first undertaken, its aim was to look at the archaeology of prostitution per se and the information that it could provide on the daily lives of this population of women. However, since the research was begun, the fact that there is very little material culture that can be positively associated with prostitution has presented itself as a major obstacle. Furthermore, when a site is excavated, it is often difficult to judge what was a brothel and what was a domestic/public/civic structure that happens to have contained erotic art. Because of this, the focus of the thesis has shifted, and I am now looking at Pompeii as a test site for assessing the methodological problems of using material culture as evidence for prostitution. In other words, the obstacle has instigated the questions for the research, and Pompeii offers an ideal subject because it is relatively well excavated and documented. The work is a rare piece of research and remains a very important part of the frugal material available on the subject,

• Aims and Methods
• Why Study the Archaeology of Prostitution?
• Context for Prostitution
• Literary
i. Comedy
ii. Comedic Representation in Livy
iii. Description of Brothels
iv. Personal Attack

• Non-Literary
i. Law
ii. Evidence from Papyri
iii. Pompeii – A Test Case
iv. Evidence for Brothels
v. Location
vi. Graffiti
vii. Interior Architecture and Wall Paintings
viii. Public Buildings
ix. Bathing and the Suburban Baths
x. Palaestra and Latrines
xi. Domestic Structures
xii. House of the Vettii
xiii. House of Caecilius lucundus
xiv. House of the Centenary

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