Originally Posted by Lucius Vorenus
Great post, but references and titles of books should be included for us interested in this problematic. That's only my desire, not objection though.
However, there is one more part of the puzzle for this that I'd love to add here. For paying prostitutes Roman soldiers used special coins called spynthria
. these coins were made to make communications between soldiers and prostitutes who in most cases couldn't speak latin easier. The coins were minted in different values, and every sexual position had it's value, and was depicted on it. So only by showing the coin, soldiers could explain which sexual position or service they want. It looked like this:
Great picture, and I had to look these ones up. unfortunately, it seems that the idea these were used as tokens to pay in brothels is only speculation. There's no firm evidence for it. The problem that springs to mind is what the prostitutes did with them afterwards, if they were only exchanged for sexual services? Did they have to find a baker who planned to use their services in future before they could spend their earnings?
I suppose it's possible that you could buy these from a brothel owner for use in the brothel - kind of like at a festival where you buy rolls of beer tokens to be exchanged at the bar. This would have the advantage if you're dealing with slave prositutes from distant parts, who didn't understand any Latin - the service paid for is thus clear.
Or maybe they were just produced as novelty items - like sex dice.