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Ancient Roman sexuality The topic of ancient Roman sexuality brings to mind a society of unbridled sexuality but is this modern perception of Roman sexuality correct? To address this question, we need to distinguish between facts and fiction and to take into account the cultural, religious and legal aspects of sexuality in Ancient Rome. Cultural aspects of ancient Roman sexuality When archaeologists discovered the ancient city of Pompeii in the 18th and 19th century, they discovered a lot of sexual art deemed obscene and later hidden from view by the public in the Secret Cabinet of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
The Khajuraho temple complex is a series of beautifully built and decorated buildings in Madhya Pradesh. Yet what really sets Khajuraho apart from other temples is the numerous erotic carvings, both inside and outside the temple, that depict men, women, and even animals engaging in lovemaking, orgies, and bestiality under the benign smiles of divinities. The Khajuraho temples were commissioned almost as soon as the Chandelas came to power in Madhya Pradesh, a region in Central India.
Mad emperors, fierce warriors, brutal entertainments, and lascivious lifestyles. These are the familiar images of ancient Rome, but what was it really like? Rumours abounded regarding Roman emperors and their indulgence in the pleasures of the flesh.
We all know Rome was a weird place. After all, people went everywhere in togas, had sex with their sisters and spent their free time watching Russell Crowe fight tigers. After all, even the most straight-laced, conservative Roman could be expected to enjoy:.
The Roses of Heliogabalus, an English Victorian painting by Dutch artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema, shows the famously decadent Roman emperor at one of her grandiose parties. Those familiar with Heliogabalus would know to look closer. As the story goes, the emperor threw a lavish affair, filling the room with millions of rose petals; as the guests became more drunk—clothing falling, bodies twisting themselves in pleasure—the petals kept pouring.
In modern usage, an orgy is a sex party consisting of at least five members where guests freely engage in open and unrestrained sexual activity or group sex. Swingers ' parties do not always conform to this designation, because at many swinger parties the sexual partners may all know each other or at least have some commonality among economic class, educational attainment or other shared attributes. Some swingers contend that an orgy, as opposed to a sex party, requires some anonymity of sexual partners in complete sexual abandon.
The emperors of Rome could be wise, just and kind. They could also be vindictive, cruel and insane. And most of all, they could be the worst perverts the world has ever seen — at least according to ancient historians like Suetonius, Pliny, and Cassius Dio. Here are nearly a dozen of the most immoral, disgusting behaviors the rulers of the ancient world indulged in
James Robson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. A new exhibition at the British Museum promises to lift the lid on what beauty meant for the ancient Greeks.