Lupanar or Brothel

 Lupanare or Brothel in Pompeii


Location: Via Stabiana and Via dell Abbondanza (Decumanus Maximus)


Description of Lupanar of Brothel of Pompeii

Lupanar or Brothel of Pompeii was one of the most popular places in Pompeii for obvious reasons. It is a large and well preserved building that was barely damaged during the eruption. In the ancient days Pompeii had about 25- 25 brothels of various size. Ironically, the building of the former brothel is perfectly preserved. Although sexual services were provided in very small rooms under the wine shops, where the prostitute could serve her visitors. Prostitutes themselves were obliged to wear red belts in order distinguish themselves from the respectable women.


Today travel guides usually mention one Lupanar located just behind Stabian Baths on the intersection of Via Stabiana and Via dell Abbondanza (Decumanus Maximus). Wooden beams are quite rotten and were replaced by new ones. Over the past 150 years, historians and archaeologists have restored this building several times. Also, the building is perfectly preserved. Pompeii Brothel has 5 rooms on the ground floor and 5 bigger rooms on the second. Although the second floor is usually closed to the public.


Apparently the second floor was for VIP clients, and the bottom one for ordinary citizens. A staircase leads to the second floor, but it is usually closed. The main room of the second floor is larger than all the rest. Apparently there were places of sexual orgies. If desired, one could retire to one of the smaller rooms, but it was unlikely the Romans were so modest.


Lupanare building was discovered by archeologists in 1862. Over the next 150 years the building was renovated and reconstructed. The name Lupanare comes from a Latin word for a "female wolf" (Latin- lupa), playful Roman term for prostitutes. Sometimes they were called nonarias from the Latin word "nona", that is, "nine". The fact is that prostitution could start their work only at 9:00 am Roman time, which corresponds to about 1:29 pm our time. The names of some of the prostitutes who worked here are known. Colorful and bawdy graffiti advertised these women and their features. Of course, we do not know the real names, but the pseudonyms remain. So in this particular brothel worked Januara, Kasa, Fortunata, Fabia, Myrtis, who was known for her oral sex, and many others.


In addition to the priestesses of love, men were also engaged in prostitution. They were called lupriki. This was not something shameful, and many people worked for money and pleasure. Especially many male prostitutes were gladiators. They were sports stars of their time and were distinguished by their excellent physique. Advertisements of male prostitutes were also found on the walls of a brothel. It is known that some workers even had special skills. For example, a certain Maritinus specialized (if I may say so) on deprivation of virginity.


Pompeii Lupanar is a two storey building with five rooms on each floor and 10 rooms in total. Condition in the Brothel were simple. Stone beds were covered by mattresses and pillows, while cells themselves were fairly small. Hallway of Lupanar were covered by frescoes of erotic nature. It was the first things that customers saw as they entered the building. Cost of services of prostitutes were worth 2- 8 asses depending age, appearance and "fame" of a prostitute.


Лупанарий или Бордель (Помпеи)  Лупанарий или Бордель (Помпеи)

Like many areas of Roman society, prostitution in Pompeii was highly categorised: the delicatae and the famosae were far above the level of common prostitutes. They were able to entertain the best customers and thus they usually worked on the second floor of the Brothel (today closed to tourists). Meanwhile others were associated with the places of their trade; the bustuariae practised their profession in the area of the necropolis; the scorta erratica applied their trade on the streets; there were also the Aelicariae, Amasiae, Amatrix, Ambubiae, Amica, Blitidae, Casuaria, Citharistriae, Copae, Cymbalistriae, Diobolares, Diversorium, Doris, Forariae, Fornix, Gallinae, Lupae, Lupanaria, Meretrix, Mimae, Noctiluae, Nonariae, Pergulae, Proseda, Prostibula, Quadrantariae, Scortum, Stabulae, Tabernae, Tugurium, and Turturilla.


Lupanar or the Brothel in Pompeii keeps an interesting evidence of the morals in the Roman Empire for a century. Archaeologists were able to establish moments when attitudes towards brothels and prostitution changed dramatically. So in times of Augustus and some other emperors, the foundations became stricter and the erotic picture was painted over. At other times, such as during rule of emperor Nero (died in 69 AD 10 years before the eruption), these foundations changed to very liberal. The walls were again painted in pictures of obscene content.



Direction to the Red Light district


Pompeii Brothel Graffiti

Hic ego puellas multas futui. “I screwed a lot of girls here.”
"On June 15th, Hermeros is screwed here with Phileterus and Caphisus."
"Sollemnes, you screw well!"
Hic ego, cum veni, futui, deinde Redei domum. "Here I, after my arrival, fucked, after I returned home",
Fututa sum hic. "Here I am, damn it"
Mirtis, nu FELAS. "Mirtis, you suck well"
Hinc ego nun futui formosam puellam laudatam in multis, sed intus lutus erat. “Here I just fucked a bunch of girls, which many praise, but inside I was dull”


The conditions in the brothels were simple. The stone bed was covered with mattresses and pillows, and the rooms themselves were small. In the hallway of Lupanaria Pompey, the walls were covered with frescoes of an erotic nature. Judging by them, the Romans could have competed with Kama Sutra.

The cost of the services of prostitutes cost 2-8 asses. A loaf of bread by the way was worth 2 ass. Most of the most ancient professions came from Greece and the lands of the eastern Mediterranean. However, Christians could work here as a punishment for their faith. Exotic women of the north were also highly valued. Some prostitutes specially dyed their hair and became blondes to emphasize their exoticism. Sometimes wealthy citizens met here. For the sake of fun, they were recorded in brothels and worked on incognito. If such a woman was caught for such an occupation, and even married, it could cost them their lives.


The conditions in the brothels were simple. The stone bed was covered with mattresses and pillows, and the rooms themselves were small. In the hallway of Pompeii Lupanar, the walls were covered with frescoes of an erotic nature. Judging by them, the Romans could have competed with Kama Sutra.


Toilets in Pompeii Brothel

Лупанарий или Бордель (Помпеи)

Erotic pictures in Pompeii

Фрески в Борделе (Лупанарий) в Помпеи  Фрески в Борделе (Лупанарий) в Помпеи  Фрески в Борделе (Лупанарий) в Помпеи  Фрески в Борделе (Лупанарий) в Помпеи