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The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World: A Study of Social History and the Brothel Hardcover – February 18, 2004


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The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World: A Study of Social History and the Brothel + Prostitution, Sexuality, and the Law in Ancient Rome
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (February 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472113623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472113620
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,646,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
No, this book will not be of interest to anyone looking for something sexy--there's nothing like that in this book. Instead, this is a social history book, and a good one.

McGinn investigates the evidence we have regarding prostition in the Roman economy.

Prostitution was a perfectly legal institution in Rome. A brothel could be located next to a temple or the house of a wealthy person and cause no comment.

Although it was legal, the workers in a brothel had a very low status in society. That's probably because most of the workers were forced into it because they were slaves. Roman law proclaimed that a slave had no rights over his body; he could be used, abused, even killed, with no one to protest.

It became standard practice for wealthy people to earn money by forcing their young slaves into brothels. The amount raised from these slaves could be significant.

One other important feature of the brothels was that the workers were young by our standards. Children of both sexes were made to serve as protitutes. For boys, their years of prostitution were usually over once they started sprouting a beard. Then they would be returned to their owner and put to another use. Women might continue to live as prostitutes until they lost their looks.

The other common manner for brothel owners to obtain workers was to take in abandoned infants and children.

This book explores an aspect of Roman life rarely delved into in other history books and should be of interest to studying ancient cultures.
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