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Activism & Sex
Commercial Sex Mesopotamia
Contraception Ancient Egypt Ancient Rome was nearly identical to Ancient Greece.
Disabilities/Illnesses Ancient India It was a patrilineal society where the men owned
Dysfunctions Ancient China the property, including the women. Men depicted
Human Body Early Biblical themselves naked in artwork, while wifes and mothers
History of Sex Early Mediterranean were clothed, robed, and veiled. Prostitutes were
Law & Sex Ancient Greece depicted naked.
Love & Intimacy Incan Empire
Paraphilias Aztec Empire Roman Mythology
Pleasures of Sex Mayan Empire
Pregnancy Native Americans Roman mythology is also nearly identical
Relationships Roman Empire to Greek mythology with different names
Religion & Sex Middle Ages for each god and goddess, but the same
Research Renaissance/Reformation traits and stories for those deities.
STDs Puritans Juno = Hera
Societies Victorianism Venus = Aphrodite
Variances Adolf Hitler
Violence Kinsey - 1950s
Sex Revolution-60s

Mutunus Tutunus

We know from the writings of monks in monasteries that they found a rather unique temple in Velia. This temple's god had no
face, nor body, but was represented in the form of a penis and called "Mutunus Tutunus." Phalluses were erected all over this
temple and sometimes the penis statues would be crowned with flowers. It was said that on the wedding day, the bride was
supposed to sit on the image of the Mutunus Tutunus.

Roman Marriage

Sometimes on the wedding night, the husband would not sleep with his new bride but arranged to sleep with another woman.
The Roman state wanted fertility among mothers. Widows were not allowed to remarry. Husbands went out of their way to keep
their own wives locked up like slaves. They deprived their wives of a life outside the home. It was forbidden for wives to
possess money. The legal age for marriage in Ancient Rome for a woman was age 12, whether she had reached puberty or not.
Virginity upon marriage was valued. Roman men were allowed to engage in adultery, but their wives were not. Female sexuality
was entirely defined in their patriarchical value: sex with wives for legitimate children and procreation of a man's children
and prostitutes, concubines and slaves for a man's sexual leisure, rape for power over any woman.

Venus in the Place of Aphrodite

The Romans did have a Venu Victrix or a Venus of Battle. It was a common practice for a half naked girl with her breasts
showing to ride on a horse proceeding the battle. This idea dates back to Ancient Mesopotamia and the Goddess Ishtar.
Venus was also the restorer of life and was said to be able to bring back the dead. Eros, the god of love (Cupid) was
generally depicted at her armside.


We know that like the Greeks, Roman men frequently engaged in prostitution. From writings describing the living conditions of
Roman brothels, we know that they were extremely unsanitary and many prostitutes died living in the brothels because of their
unsanitary conditions. Roman men were also allowed to beat and rape prostitutes who didn't perform the services they wanted
for the prices that they wanted.

For Further Readings on Ancient Roman Empire:

Arscott, Caroline; Scott, Katie. (eds) (2000) Manifestations of Venus Art & Sexuality. New York: Palgrave.
Carus, Paul. (1916) The Venus of Milo: an Archeological Study of the Goddess of Womanhood. Chicago: Open Court Pub.
Foxhall, Lin; Salmon, John. (eds) (1998) When Men Were Men: Masculinity, Power & Identity in Classical Antiquity. London: Routledge.
Grimal, Pierre. (1967) Love in Ancient Rome. New York: Crown Publishers.
Kiefer, Otto. (1964) Sexual Life in Ancient Rome. New York: Barnes & Noble.
McGinn, Thomas A. (1998) Prostitution, Sexuality & the Law in Ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press.
Pike, Royston. (1965) Love in Ancient Rome. London: F. Mueller.
Wyke, Maria. (2002) The Roman Mistress: Ancient & Modern Representations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Roman Empire Links

Ancient Rome
Brothels, Baths and Babes
Daily Roman Life
Exploring Ancient World Cultures
Family Values in Ancient Rome
Illustrated History fo the Roman Empire
Love Books of Ovid: 1925 Translation Online
Maecenas: Images of Ancient Greece & Rome
Marriage in Ancient Rome
Midwives & Maternity Care in Ancient Rome
Prehistoric Roman Recipes
Priapeia: 1890 Translation Online
RomanSites: Ancient Rome
Rome Walks: Ancient Rome: Forum & Palatine View
Sayricon of Petronius: 1930 Translation Online
Slavery in the Roman Empire
Women & Gender in the Ancient World

See Also: History of Sex: Early Mediterranean: Etruscans
See Also: History of Sex: Early Mediterranean: Sicani and Siculi

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Last updated 12.7.2014