21 thoughts on “Pompeii: ancient Roman brothel restored. Roman plants

  1. Jul 19, 2007, 5:34 PM EDT

    Archaeologists dig up Roman bath complex

    By MARTA FALCONI

    ROME (AP) — Archaeologists said Thursday they have partly dug up a second-century bath complex believed to be part of the vast, luxurious residence of a wealthy Roman.

    The two-story complex, which extends for at least 5 acres, includes exceptionally well-preserved decorated hot rooms, vaults, changing rooms, marble latrines and an underground room where slaves lit the fire to warm the baths.

    Statues and water cascades decorated the interiors, American archaeologist Darius A. Arya, the head of the excavation, said Thursday during a tour of the digs with The Associated Press. Only pedestals and fragments have been recovered.

    Arya spoke as students and experts were brushing off earth and dust from ancient marbles, mosaic floors and a rudimentary heating system, made of pipes that channeled hot air throughout the complex.

    “The Romans had more leisure time than other people, and it’s here in the baths that they typically spent their time,” Arya said. “Because you could eat well, you could get a massage, you could have sex, you could gossip, you could play your games, you could talk about politics – you could spend the whole day here.”

    However, he added, “to have a bath complex of this size, this scale, it’s very unusual.”

    The complex is believed to be part of a multiple-story villa that belonged to the Roman equivalent of a billionaire of today, a man called Quintus Servilius Pudens who was friends with Emperor Hadrian, Arya said. It is not clear if the baths were open to the public or reserved to distinguished guests of the owner.

    “These people lived a magnificent existence and were able to provide entertainment,” to others, said Arya, who is also a professor at the American Institute for Roman Culture.

    Excavations at the Villa delle Vignacce park lasted a total of 10 weeks, and it is planned to continue, he said. Future decisions, including whether the site will be opened to the public, are still to be made.

    Ancient Romans put a great deal of emphasis on bathing, turning the art of the soak into a ritual.

    Meeting at communal bath houses, they would go through a series of rooms of alternating temperatures at a leisurely pace, dipping themselves in hot and cold baths. It was a social event, but also a way to purify their bodies of toxins and a form of relaxation.

    © 2007 The Associated Press

  2. Now come one. Just calling it out like a *fact* that the prostitutes were so destitute as to label them “slaves” is to miss all manner of modern professional and not-so-professional (pimp autobiographies), that indeed “service providers” give ALL their money to the pimp, or house madame, that this is based not as much on slavery as on love, in the sense of the pimp being a Father Figure etc. See any classic scar marks on the girls, from lash or chain? Would customers want inhibited, scarred and scared girls? No. Do women today support their “nursing school” or “dance school” careers in my city of NYC? That’s a rhetorical question. Are they “slaves”? Yes…to Capitalism, since uh Marxism doesn’t exactly provide free nuclear powered gold coin making machines when it rains, and especially when it doesn’t rain. The biggest confusion I have is about STDs. That would have killed off Pompei in a couple decades. Ah, but maybe they really did have Christianity by then, and thus circumcism, though their prominently foreskined Phallic artifacts do not indicate this to be so. Perhaps they used some toxic metal filled lubrication? Really. I mean the Parthenon is made of Portland cement, “invented” by Thomas Edison. Also, the myth that classic Greek men sodomized young boys is just that, a myth. They merely had a method of masturbation, in which either boy or man used oil to “penetrate” little more than the space between each others arm and torso. In other words, it was a form of “circle jerk” assisted masturbation, much like Victorian or Renaissance nannies used to calm down young boys via handjobs.

  3. ‘Live excavation’ at Pompeii

    Work on House of Chaste Lovers open to public

    01 February, 13:31

    ‘Live excavation’ at Pompeii (ANSA) – Pompeii, February 1 – Visitors to the archaeological site of Pompeii will soon get the chance to observe the complex excavation process involved as it happens.

    Excavation and restoration work at the House of the Chaste Lovers, which resumed a few months ago following ten years of neglect, will open to the public from the start of February.

    Visitors will be allowed to enter sections of the building and watch archaeologists at work, gaining a deeper understanding of the effort involved in bringing 2,000-year-old remains to light. ”This is a project of immense importance to us,” said Pompeii’s emergency commissioner Marcello Fiori, recalling it was a priority on his works programme, approved by the culture ministry in November. ”These ‘open-door’ excavations will greatly enrich the opportunities provided by Pompeii. ”They will provide visitors with a different kind of experience, in which they have the chance to observe the fascinating work of archaeologists in action, as well as seeing recently unearthed items in situ”. The site will be protected from damage by glass screens. Interior panels will provide visitors with practical information, while technology will offer a virtual reconstruction of the premises as they probably looked prior to their destruction.

    Last week, reports appeared in some newspapers that the House of Chaste Lovers had been seriously damaged after a crane collapsed on top of the site but Pompeii Excavations Director Antonio Varone dismissed these claims. Accusing the media of ”alarmism”, he explained that there had been a ”small landslip that caused no significant damage”.

    ”Heavy rains led to earth movements in the insula (apartment block) next to that of the House of Chaste Lovers,” he said.

    ”This caused the collapse of several meters of the boundary wall, which however contained no frescoes”. The House of the Chaste Lovers takes its name from its elaborate interior wall paintings showing lovers during a feast.

    The premises were made up of living quarters and a small bakery opening directly on to the street where the public could buy bread. The bakery contained a large oven with millstones, while archaeologists have discovered the remains of mules, used to transport grain, in a stable at the back of the premises opening onto an alleyway.

    Experts have already started reconstructing the garden space, using holes left by the reed markers that once surrounded it. The most recent finds include a large cistern, used to provide water to the bakery, and the remains of building materials, which archaeologists believe were being used to repair damage to the premises caused by a small earthquake not long before Vesuvius erupted. Paint pots, a small furnace, a compass and partially completed wall sketches indicate that the living quarters were also being redecorated at the time of the eruption. ”All this shows again how Pompeian society was lively and active at the time of the disaster,” concluded Varone.

  4. Pompeii’s erotic bath paintings lit up

    Sound-and-light show for Venus At The Baths

    13 May, 15:39

    (ANSA) – Pompeii, May 13 – The famous erotic wall paintings in Pompeii’s suburban baths will be spotlighted in a special nighttime ‘sound-and-light’ show this weekend.

    The show, dubbed Venus At The Baths, aims to give visitors “their best view yet” of the explicit pictures which some experts believe were advertisements of the services on offer at the baths, organisers said.

    The 16 paintings, some showing group and oral sex, have no equivalent at any other ancient Roman bath site and they have fuelled lively debate since they were discovered 50 years ago.

    Some say they were simply a celebration of the joys of life typical of the earthy city by the sea destroyed by a catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

    Others think they were merely a way of reminding bathers which locker they put their clothes in.

    The paintings have been viewable since 2001, for small groups only, but a recent restructuring has made it possible for bigger groups to be accommodated, organisers said.

    These new visits, for adults only and through reservations, are set to become a “regular feature” of the site’s summer attractions, they said.

    Erotic art is also to be found in several of Pompeii’s villas while some of the naughty pictures at the city’s many brothels are just as titillating as those at the baths but judged of lesser artistic and historical merit.

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