How Was Prostitution Viewed in Ancient Times?

Prostitution, the act of engaging in sexual activities for payment, has been around for centuries. Throughout history, it has been viewed and treated differently in various cultures and societies. In this article, we will take a look at how prostitution was viewed in ancient times.

Ancient Mesopotamia

One of the earliest recorded instances of prostitution can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia. Here, prostitution was considered a legitimate profession and was even regulated by the state. Prostitutes were registered and required to pay taxes.

The Code of Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi, one of the oldest known legal codes from ancient Mesopotamia, included laws regarding prostitution. It stated that if a woman entered into prostitution without the consent of her father or husband, she could be put to death.

Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, prostitution was prevalent and accepted as a part of daily life. Prostitutes were often slaves or foreigners who were not considered citizens.

The Temple Prostitute

One form of prostitution in ancient Greece involved temple prostitutes. These women worked in temples dedicated to gods and goddesses where they would engage in sexual acts with worshippers as part of religious rituals.

Ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, prostitution was legal but heavily stigmatized. Prostitutes were often seen as immoral and were not allowed to marry or participate in public events.

The Lupanar

The Lupanar was a famous brothel located in Pompeii that dates back to 79 AD. The brothel had several rooms with stone beds where prostitutes would entertain clients.


In conclusion, while the views on prostitution varied throughout ancient times, it is apparent that it has been present throughout history. From being regulated by the state in ancient Mesopotamia to being heavily stigmatized in ancient Rome, prostitution has evolved and continues to exist in modern times.