Don’t Forget, Roman Sex Workers Were SlavesJanuary 4, 2012 1 Comment
Pornographic images and sex acts depicted on tokens dating back to the Roman occupation of Britain have been found in the UK. It is thought that these are tokens that were used at brothels and are considered an important find in terms of the history of pornography and art in general.
But it is also important to remember that the prostitutes who worked in the brothels of the Roman Empire, including Britain, would have been almost exclusively slaves.
It’s very easy to romanticize the existence of brothels in Roman Britain given that we live in the age of Belle De Jour and all that entails. But life for those women would have been pretty brutal to say the least.
So whilst art historians and people interested in the origins of pornographic images can get excited by this find, I’m afraid I can’t. I’m not saying I can’t see the historical significance, I just think you can’t look at a find like this in a vacuum. And women suffered because of these tokens.
What this find really signifies is the act of buying a woman against her will and doing whatever was wanted with her. Not really something to celebrate is it?
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