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Sexuality

Ancient Egypt's Sacred XXX

Ancient Egypt's Sacred XXX

Sex has always been of significant importance in our lives, and this was no different in ancient Egypt. It played a crucial role in every aspect, starting from birth to death, and even in the afterlife; it was key to the creation of life. Yet, even though it was the females who bore children, the males were seen as the symbol of fertility.

50 Shades of Pompeii

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Warning: Please be advised that this blog post contains images with nudity. If you feel uncomfortable with such photos, please skip pass the images. Thank you for your understanding! Mount Vesuvius

The Last Day in Pompeii

Pompeii was a flourishing and sophisticated Roman city that was catastrophically destroyed by a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius located near the Bay of Naples in Italy on 24 August 79 AD. Mount Vesuvius’ 24-hour long eruption covered the city and its inhabitants in layers of molten ash and pumice. The encounter of this tragedy was recounted by Pliny the Younger who was at Misenum where he observed these tragic events unfold that also claimed the life of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, who was a senior military officer.

Pompeii became a lost city of the Roman Civilization as it was forgotten and lost for over 2000 years. It was uncovered in the 18th century with its ruins and skeletons of its former residents preserved in their exact location 2000 years before like it was frozen in time. (Fun fact: volcanic ash acts as a really good preservative!)

“...Many besought the aid of gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness.”

- Pliny the Younger, a Roman administrator and poet

Prostitution in Pompeii - House of Pleasure

Venus was Pompeii’s patron deity who was a Roman goddess of love and beauty. The walls of the city’s grand buildings were covered with erotic art that depicted various sexual activities. With its robust distinct social class system, most slaves despite their gender were seen as potential sexual partners of the upper-class men such as aristocrats and merchants.

Pompeii was filled with numerous brothels with Lupanar (which is from the Latin word Lupa for she-wolf, a common term for a prostitute) as the city’s most lavish brothel. Brothels had stone beds, erotic frescoes and graffiti and the phallus, an erected penis, which was painted as a sign of good luck. Lupanare is a two storey building with 10 rooms with a stone bed in each room for clients. The upper floor was more luxuriously decorated to cater to the wealthy. The walls of each room have erotic art of various sexual positions that a prostitute could offer her clients. However, some historians believed that such depiction was not a reflection of the intercourse but rather an idealistic and was seen as a marketing gimmick.

Prostitutes were a mix of slaves and free men and women. The men  forced to work there had very low social status; they were probably slaves or poor commoners. The women who were forced, usually slaves, had an even lower social status and were greatly marginalized. Women were forced to wear men’s togan and were not allowed to put their hair up. They had to work in harsh conditions such as windowless and cramped rooms that were separated merely by a curtain while their earnings go to the managers of the brothel since most of the women are slaves that came from Greece. Prostitutes earned the equivalent of no more than two loaves of bread or a half a litre of wine which was also depicted in the lewd art on the walls.

What Do The Erotic Graffiti Signify?

The graffiti on the walls of the brothel provided a fantasy of sex to the people from Pompeii. The various kinds of erotic art carved into the ancient walls illuminate the sexual practices that took place in the brothel. The images told of quality bedding and pillows, something which far surpassed what was actually found in the rooms of the brothels of the first floor.

They expressed a wide vocabulary of sexually explicit terms between clients and prostitutes. Some of these even described sexual acts that included elements of aggression and force. This comes as no surprise since messages of male dominance and violence permeated Pompeiian households. It is highly likely that these beliefs were brought into the brothels as well.

Masculinity in the Brothels

This then raises the notion of masculinity in Pompeii’s sexual labour. Clients would carve the names of the prostitute involved in the sexual acts and the name of any other participants (if there were any). It may appear to be a form of boasting for the men, as they get to flaunt the number of prostitutes they have committed sexual acts with. Men used those women to solidify their masculinity, albeit bringing societal shame to the women. For the Romans, sex was, for the majority of the time, an expression of power. The person penetrating was someone in control and exerting their power, whereas the person being penetrated is someone who has lost control, thus has been degraded.

However, this also places great stress on the women’s sexuality. Aside from being viewed as sexual objects, the women were shown to have a kind of sexual prowess and are hyper-sexualized as a result of the graffiti. The led to an increase in the number of clients they attended to. The better they were at their job, the greater recognition they would receive, and ultimately greater profit for them.

Society’s Attitude Towards Sex

Paid sex was available virtually everywhere in Pompeii. Often used as a means of flaunting power and an instrument of wealth. It appears that almost everyone indulged in prostitution, one way or another. Prostitution was not only confined to the walls of the brothels, it was rampant in Pompeii. The public baths were a place where sex was sold as well. There, the rich mingled with the poor, hanging out in the nude. It is said that in the Suburban Baths, the men’s locker rooms contain the most sexually explicit images in the whole of Pompeii.    

All in all, it is clear that Pompeii was a city that thrived off of sex. Prostitution existed in virtually every corner of Pompeii, with people from all walks of life indulging in it. However, it is ironic for a city that benefits from prostitution, both sexually and economically, to push the sex labourers into the peripheries of society.

Cheating on your spouse..? BAD IDEA!

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Most of us would have heard about gruesome punishments that existed in ancient times such as the right hand being cut off for theft and being burnt alive or stretched on the rack for committing treason. Thanks to the United Nations for passing the Human Rights Law, openly denouncing the use of any torture for any reason by any nation state. There were specific punishments for various crimes. This blogpost focuses mainly on adultery - having voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse.                

Today, committing adultery might bring humiliations or a divorce. Celebrities such as Princess Diana, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna who cheated on their spouses should be thankful that they were not born in ancient times because if they did, they would most probably be dead now. If you were born in ancient times, you wouldn't want to cheat your spouse as the punishments are extremely gruesome. Adultery is known to be one of the biggest crime back in ancient civilization.

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Princess Diana                   Jennifer lopez                            Madonna

 

Before you scroll down to read, you might want to watch this video to gain some knowledge about the concepts of sex, adultery, guilt and sins.

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVD2Z7ib_nE[/embed]

 

Let’s take a look at Ancient China’s Adultery Punishments.

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In ancient China,  a woman’s chastity is considered a very important virtue. If one committed such crime, it will be an embarrassment for that particular household. If she is not married, she will be betrothed immediately. However, if she is married and had sex with other men, drowning is one of the most common way to punish both of them.

In villages, when one is accused of committing adultery, she would be brought to the village’s community center. The issue will usually be brought up to the Head of the village who will then decide on an appropriate sentence for the one found guilty.She will be forced to identify her partner, and both will deserved punishments.

It involves being tied up and lock in a “Pig Cage”, whereby both of them would be drowned in the nearby river. They will be bound with rope to limit their mobility, and be placed into strong bamboo-woven cages. They use cylindrical cages that were used to transport pigs, also known as “Pig Cages”.

                                                                                                               

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Villagers would then carry the cages and cast the couple into the river. After a considerable lapse of time, their bodies would be retrieved and buried. This drowning verdict is applicable to married women or women soon to be engaged alongside with their adulterers.

 

For married man, they will not be committed with this crime. Princess Diana, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna are very lucky women for being born in the 21st century. Imagine a famous celebrity being tied and drowned in supposedly “Pig Cages”- unimaginable.

You think this the most painful death? Wait till you see Ancient Athens’ adultery punishments.

 

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Moving on to Athens

Adultery, was seen unacceptable and offensive in Greek. The reason is that it had a direct effect on the family, the institution where Athenian society valued highly. Also, Greek is one of the very few civilizations which punishes the men for adultery.

If the adulterer was caught in the act, the protector was allowed to kill him on the spot . Moreover, the husband is allowed to shove foreign objects such as spiky scorpionfish or a large radish into the wife’s seducer’s anus to teach him a lesson.                                                                                         

 The rationale behind this method of punishment was to make the men feel “less manly”. Such sex acts did nothing to harm the husband's reputation, however as for the wife's seducer, he would be ruined and embarrassed for the rest of his life. As for the wife, the husband could decide if he wanted to forgive and accept her back or chase her out of the house.

 

Punishment for adultery in the Medieval Era

 

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                                                                       Adulteress getting her breast ripped    

The Breast ripper was an instrument used to punish

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unfaithful women in the Medieval Era. The claws were sometimes heated before being placed on the woman’s exposed breasts after which the breasts will be ripped of by the torturer, leaving a permanent scar for life. Most women would eventually die due to excessive blood loss.

Another similar tool would be “The Spider” which is attached to a wall. The lady’s breasts would be fixed to the claws of the tool  and the torturer will pull the woman away from the wall causing the breasts to tear apart.

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The Pear of Anguish also known as the “vaginal pear” was another tool used in the Medieval Era to punish unfaithful women. The pear-shaped instrument which contained four leaf-like extensions which opens up when the torturer turned the screw at the top of the instrument was believed to be inserted into the woman’s mouth or vagina causing the skin to tear and the vagina to expand, thus causing extreme hurt and devastation.

 

 

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At this point, we would like to emphasise that in most civilisations treated men and women differently even though they were guilty of the same crime. It does not matter which gender initiate the adultery, women would always suffer the most painful and dreadful punishments as compared to man in ancient times. In fact, women who are raped are also blamed and punished for cheating on their spouse as they were expected to put on the chastity belt to prevent it from happening.

Majority of  men were left unpunished whereas women had to endure so much of pain and sufferings for committing adultery because they were seen as bringing shame to their husband, family and their society. In some occasions, women were shaved bald and brought around the village to be humiliated and was also used to warn other women. Women were expected to be faithful to their husbands, however a man could have many concubines. Moreover, men of the upper class could get away without being punished at all while other men  bribed the leaders in their village so that their crimes will be overlooked. This double standards clearly shows that women were treated unfairly and also how justice favoured only the men.

 

You can watch this documentary to have a better understanding of how gruesome punishments were and also see many other ancient torture devices used in ancient times. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE!!!

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxrJF97kr_Q[/embed]

All Hail The Queen, Cleo.

Queen Cleopatra's name in Greek letters Cleopatra VII was the last & only female ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty, in which she ruled Egypt at the age of 18 till her death at 39  - c 51 to 30 BCE.  She was one of the very few legendary woman that we talk about even today. She was highly intelligent, had a magnificent lifestyle, was beautiful and charismatic and also had a very interesting sexual life which most believe not only helped her save the throne but also managed to bring peace and prosperity to her nation.

Let's explore her royal practices - have a peek into Cleopatra ’s lifestyle?

A head-on shot of the Bust of Cleopatra at the Royal Ontario Museum

 

                                                                                    Royal Gastronomy

Cleopatra is well-known  for her exquisite beauty. Have you ever wonder how exactly did she achieve such flawlessness? Not only from her luxurious usage of  cosmetics, but also ancient regimens that involves eating high quality health foods.

She adapt the famous Mediterranean diet, such as extra-virgin olive oil, light cheeses, legumes, grains & herbs.Olives were Cleopatra’s significant part of diet as well as figs, peaches, dates , grapes-both wine and fruit forms and beers in moderation. These superfoods support her overall skin health, consisting of anti-aging properties thus leaving a glowing and porcelain skin that every woman envy.

Queen’s Sweet Tooth:

Dulcis Coccora (sweet honey balls) is a famous ancient Egyptian dessert. It is believed to be Cleopatra’s favourite! This dish was named after her, till today if you visit an authentic Egyptian restaurant, this particular dessert is definitely a “MUST TRY”.

If the Queen of Egypt loved this,you have to try it no matter what!    *P.S - Here's how to make it.

Ancient Egypt Cleopatra's Dulcis Coccora

 

                                                     Royal Enchantress - A guide to her beauty regime

Queen Cleopatra’s beauty intrigued many for centuries. She is one of the most famous figures of ancient times. How did she turn the heads of so many men?What are her beauty secrets? One of her beauty tips  was to sleep with a facial mask on, particularly a golden mask.

From various facials, treatments, body soaps to baths,Queen Cleopatra is a ultimate vain-pot. She loved her body, taking care of every aspect of it. Besides her attractive physical appearance, she is incredibly charming and intelligent as well which in turn adds up to being irresistible.

It was rumoured that Cleopatra wrote a book of her personal beauty tips & recommendations, such as her legendary homemade masks & treatment recipes. However, this book was lost/ destroyed, and only a number of Cleopatra’s wonderful secrets has been known in modern times.

Her Makeup Stash:

Cleopatra was obsessed with beauty and the idealised version of herself.

Her makeup were only made from natural whole ingredients, without any trace of chemicals.

She used red ochre as a natural pigment, for lipsticks & cheek stains. Kohl is used as eyeliner, in which Cleopatra draw as a winged eyeliner. Egyptians were the first purveyors of the Cat eye liner we all loved (and struggle with) so much.

Besides, she used burnt almonds to paint and fill out her brows. Egyptians were on top of the eyebrow game before it even got started.In addition, henna was also used to naturally dye her fingernails yellow/orange, and oils such as castor, sesame & moringa oil were applied to prevent wrinkles, thus preserving her everlasting youth.

Egyptian Papyrus-wearing makeup

This painting is a great example of some of the makeup Egyptians used

 

                                                                    Royal Temptress- Her thirst for power

Caesar giving Cleopatra the Throne of Egypt

Most of us believe that sex toys are insane objects that were created recently. However, did you know that Cleopatra used to own a solid gold dildo? Yes, it is rumoured that she got it as a gift from Julius Caesar. Cleopatra is said to have been a sexually active person.

Cleopatra’s infographic (sex toys)

Plutarch an ancient Greek historian said, “her own beauty so we are told was not of that incomparable kind which instantly captivates the beholder, but the charm of her presence was irresistible and there was an attraction in her person and her talk, together with a peculiar force of character which pervaded her every word and action and which laid all who were associated with her, under her spell.” Even though a couple of historians believe that Cleopatra was blessed with a very strong character, many believe that it was her sexuality that aided her growth and enabled her to attain such great power.

There has been many controversies about Cleopatra’s sexuality/sexual life and it is still excessively discussed and debated by historians today. Some assume that she used her sexuality to gain power and get her own way. They stand by it because they believed that she seduced two of Rome’s greatest generals, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony with political intentions and motivations.

Cleopatra and Mark Antony: Portrait of a Couple

It is also rumoured that Cleopatra used to have intimate relationships with over thousand people in less than ten days to become a high priestess thus fulfilling a sacred sexual ritual. She has also been accused of sleeping with her slaves and even killing men after having sex with them. Even though such accusations surfaced about Cleopatra, some historians believe that they were rumours spread by the Romans who wished to portray Cleopatra as a sexual predator or a prostitute to the rest of the world.

Limited tangible evidence and completely opposing views from dramas, poets, movies and historians have left us with a blurry image of Cleopatra’s actual image and also what type of person she really was.

In the midst of all these differing judgements about Cleopatra, we personally felt that there was no reason for Cleopatra to have taken her life after the death of her beloved, Mark Antony if she was sleeping around with many other men.  Some may rebut and claim that she took her life because she lost the political protection and support that Mark Antony was providing her with and that she did not know what to do after his death. We would like to add that she could have always seduced another General with her charisma and moved on with her life.

"The Death of Cleopatra," painted in 1892 by Reginald Arthur.

We hope to believe that Cleopatra was a powerful women who fought for her place in a male dominated era and her healthy lifestyle, beauty, character and seductive attitude were all tools that helped her climb her way to the top.