Ancient Roman brothel tokens

Oct 2014
430
Las Vegas NV
#1
The Romans taxed brothels by requiring clients to use tokens [spintriae] rather than coins bearing the likeness of the emperor. Regulation of brothels go back to Solon [594 BCE], the standard fee being one obol [one-sixth of a drachma]. For your viewing enjoyment, these spintriae from the first century-

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spintria]Spintria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

https://images.search.yahoo.com/sea...age&fr=yfp-t-646-s&va=ancient+roman+spintriae


If my high school Latin teacher only knew the extent of my interest in classical archaeology!
 

cladking

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
2,772
exile
#5
The Romans taxed brothels by requiring clients to use tokens [spintriae] rather than coins bearing the likeness of the emperor. Regulation of brothels go back to Solon [594 BCE], the standard fee being one obol [one-sixth of a drachma]. For your viewing enjoyment, these spintriae from the first century-

Spintria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

https://images.search.yahoo.com/sea...age&fr=yfp-t-646-s&va=ancient+roman+spintriae


If my high school Latin teacher only knew the extent of my interest in classical archaeology!
Thanks for the thread. I wonder how I missed the existence of these.

Is their usage in this context firmly established?
 

Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
2,083
Netherlands
#9
I find this one by far the most convincing. It was my feeling immediately when I saw the numbers that these were the real subject and I also thought of playing cards with nudes pictured on them (remember, we all had them as kids :)). The article also mentions Christian symbols on the reverse in later times, so very doubtfully "brothel coins." As the author concludes, that's just what historians or numismatics wanted to read into it.

Interesting though, these "tokens" are a new fact to me.
 
Oct 2014
430
Las Vegas NV
#10
I find this one by far the most convincing. It was my feeling immediately when I saw the numbers that these were the real subject and I also thought of playing cards with nudes pictured on them (remember, we all had them as kids :)). The article also mentions Christian symbols on the reverse in later times, so very doubtfully "brothel coins." As the author concludes, that's just what historians or numismatics wanted to read into it.

Interesting though, these "tokens" are a new fact to me.

I am beginning to believe that the tokens were either ''tickets'' to the prostitute's cubicle, indicated by the Roman numeral, purchased at the entrance to prevent her from embezzling money from the lupanaria; or erotic gambling tokens to facilitate handling many coins. In all likelihood, the brothel tax would have been assessed by the aedile and collected by the quaestor.

I will research this matter in the online Dictionary of Classical Antiquities [1894] and in Lewis & Short, Latin Dictionary [1879] which gives multiple literary references for each word.