Lupanar (Brothel), Pompeii

Roman Site in Pompeii

Lupanar Exterior Pompeii
CC BY-SA 4.0 / ProWalk Tours

The brothel, known as the Lupanare, derives its name from the Latin word “lupa,” meaning “prostitute.” This establishment is notable for the insight it provides into the social and economic aspects of prostitution in ancient Pompeii.

Prostitutes and Payment: The prostitutes working in the brothel were primarily Greek and Oriental slaves. They were paid between two and eight Asses for their services, with a glass of wine costing one Ass, highlighting the low cost of their services relative to daily expenses.

Structure and Layout: The building comprises two floors. The upper floor housed the living quarters of the owner and the slaves. The ground floor, accessible through two entrances connected by a central corridor, contained five rooms. Each room was equipped with a built-in bed and closed off by a curtain. At the end of the corridor, under the staircase, there was a latrine.

Decorative Elements: Small paintings with erotic depictions adorned the walls of the central corridor. These artworks served as advertisements for the various activities offered within the Lupanare, providing a visual menu for the customers.

Cultural Significance: The Lupanare offers a unique glimpse into the daily life and practices of ancient Pompeii, particularly regarding the role and conditions of prostitutes in Roman society. The combination of architectural features, decorative elements, and the practical layout of the brothel highlights the integration of such establishments into the urban fabric of the city.

The Lupanar (Brothel), Pompeii appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Pompeii!

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Visiting Lupanar (Brothel), Pompeii

Duration: 20 minutes

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