A Lasting Reminder of the Oldest Profession

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One of the best remnants of Roman ruins in Ephesus is this Brothel

I recently posted about the unique Roman toilets here. The toilets are part of a massive complex called the State Agora in Ephesus, Turkey. One of the main streets is Marble Street, which is covered with guess what? That’s right: Marble slabs, as far as the eye can see! One of the marble slabs looks like this:

Brothel information
Brothel information

This stone is generally accepted as the earliest advertisement in the world for the profession in the brothel.The footprint on the slab indicates the direction of the brothel and that it is on the left (foot) side of the street. The face with crown indicates that the lady of the night was as beautiful as a queen. The hole was an indication of the cost for the interlude (one had to have enough to fill the hole}.

I found it interesting that one of the most intact ruins was the actual brothel. It was a huge two story building with the ladies upstairs and the social area below.

The nearly intact Brothel facade
The nearly intact Brothel facade

As you can see by the humans standing in front of it the building was impressive and beautiful! It is one of the best preserved Roman buildings I have seen. Here is a view of one of the arches:

Roman arch

In its heyday, the inside of the brothel was sumptuously decorated with murals of the four seasons, and according to some documentation “The statue of Priapus which is exhibited in the Ephesus Museum was found in the  brothel. Priapus was the son of Aphrodite and Dionysus. Portrayed as a grotesque  little man with a huge penis, he was associated particularly with fertility  rites and also protected crops and gardens from animals, birds and  thieves.According to the legend Priapus was a very handsome boy who took the  attention of all the girls including Athena the godess of wisdom. Athena wanted  to have a relation with Priapos. Priapus ignored Athena and Athena punished Priapos. The punishment was the continously erected penis. Today the medical  desase (sp.) priapism is originated from Priapos.”

Who knew?

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