Carnaval.com  presents
Carnaval.com  presents

Mt. Vesuvius
Oppian law
Strabian Baths
Central Thermal Baths
Forum Baths
Sex in the Baths
The Roman Quest
Viva la France
Pompeii the Resort
Founded by the Greeks
The Lupanare
The first toilets
Egyptians & Bathing
Scandanavia & Bathing
Japanese & Baths
History of the Bikini
Mount Vesuvius
the largest single group of Roman paintings is from Pompeii
Paestum ancient [700 BC] Greek city near Salerno
Erotic Art
Dionysus Mysteries
Mount Vesuvius
Maps and Guides
Temple of Isis
Roman Sex Lives
Erotic Art
Editor Picks
Pompeii Spirituality
Carla Bruni nude by google image search
Carla Bruni Brazilian connection
Above links --same window Below links --new window
Pompeii [or Pompei] along with Herculaneum (its sister city), was destroyed, and completely buried, during a catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning two days on 24 August 79 AD.[1]
Etna's Sept. 2007 eruption as seen from the southeast crater ridgeline
Etna's Sept. 2007 eruption as seen from the southeast crater ridgeline
The same ring include's Europe's most active Mount_Etna which is in an almost constant state of eruption. volcano on the east coast of Sicily,
At the mouth of the Sarno River it was revealed that the port also was populated and that people lived in palafittes, within a system of channels that suggested a likeness to Venice

Pompeian Styles

 apodyterium dressing room then led to the tepidarium (lukewarm room), followed by the calidarium (hot room).

Pompeii palestra (exercise court) as seen from the top of the amphitheater
Pompeii palestra (exercise court) as seen from the top of the amphitheater
Harpastum  Romans also referred to it as the small ball game and thought to be similar to rugby

Baths of Caracalla thermae, built in Rome between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla. The extensive ruins of the baths have become a popular tourist attraction. The baths consisted of a central frigidarium (cold room) under three 32.9 meter (108 ft) high groin vaults, a double pool tepidarium (medium), and a 35 meter (115 ft) diameter caldarium (hot room), as well as two palaestras . The north end of the bath building contained a natatio or swimming pool. The natatio was roofless with bronze mirrors mounted overhead to direct sunlight into the pool area.

The Baths of Diocletian accommodated 3,000 bathers, almost twice as many as the Baths of Caracalla, being approximately twice its size.

Public Baths in Different Cultures

--Thermae - Roman
--Banya - Russian
--Sweat lodge - Native American
--Sauna Finnish
--Hammam - Turkish
--Onsen & Sentō - Japanese

--Ancient Roman bathing
--Gay bathhouse
--Steam shower
Skinny dipping

Erotic art in Pompeii and Herculaneum

The Suburban Baths Explicit sex scenes (such as group sex and oral sex) are depicted in these paintings that can not be easily found in collections of erotic Roman art.

Lupanar (Pompeii) the most famous brothel

Secret Museum or Secret Cabinet (Gabinetto Segreto) Priapus, At Pompeii, locked metal cabinets were constructed over erotic frescos, which could be shown, for a modest additional fee, to gentlemen but not to ladies. This peep show was still in operation at Pompeii in the 1960s

Villa of the Papyri the "Getty Villa"is a free replication of the Villa of the Papyri
House of_Julia_Felix
[+] Pompeii in popular culture
[+] Temples of Pompeii

Temple of Isis at Pompeii

History of nudity . It wasn't until the 1990s (and after) that nudity became expected at major public events, such as Bay to Breakers and World Naked Bike Ride.
  • Nudity and sexuality
  • Public nudity
  • Nudity in religion
  • Nudity in sport
  • Homosexuality_in
    The central basilica, dedicated to Madonna del Rosario di Pompei, has become a site for Catholic pilgrimages in recent years. It houses a canvas by Luca Giordano. Italy knows Pompei as home to the Cathedral of Pompei
    On the Life of the Caesars

    Before he died, Julius Caesar had designated his great nephew, Gaius Octavius (who would be named Augustus by the Roman Senate after becoming emperor) as his adopted son and heir. Octavius' mother, Atia, was the daughter of Caesar's sister, Julia Caesaris.

    These stories all belong to the Campania region of Italy
    Joie_de_vivre used to express a cheerful enjoyment of life
    Pompeii-Baths and Brothels
    Roman baths by Barbara McManus Images courtesy of vroma.org/).
    Learning from Pompeii by Carroll William Westfall 1997
    Wonders of Pompeii by Monnier, Marc, 1827-1885
    "A small, portable work; accurate, conscientious, and within everybody's reach. "
     Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. download sites by country ||Read online
    /Paestum @ wikitravel.org
    History of Being Clean @ canadianliving.com
    A Short History of Bathing before 1601:
    NOVA. "Secrets of Lost Empires: Roman Bath." PBS. Originally broadcast February 22, 2000. Transcript: .pbs.org/
    Companion website:
    The definitive, illustrated history of saunas, sweat lodges, roman baths and more in a world-wide search of the perfect sweat. Sweat bathing--be it in the form of the Finnish sauna, the Russian bania, the Turkish hamman, or an American Indian sweatlodge-- is as common to the world as the baking of bread and the squeezing of the grape.
    Early Greek and Roman Batths

    Rome: in 2008 opened Augustus' modest apartment to visitor viewing @ dailymail.co.uk 

    Sodomy, Sex And The Catholic Church
    By VL Carey
     Sex and power: a long-standing affair  Mar 15, 2008 by
    Sandro Contenta

    Where Roman Shadows End @ eng.expert.ru

    History of Bathing
    With the fall of Rome and the spread of Christianity, baptism was in, and bathing — both public and private—was out. Because Roman bathhouses had mixed facilities, church authorities condemned women's attendance at mixed gender bathhouses.

     Like its founder, the early Christian church prized spiritual purity over physical cleanliness, which facilitated “sins of the flesh.” Thus, a Christian ascetic who crawled with vermin and reeked of body odor was venerated as a paragon of virtue.

    Medieval Christians proved their holiness by not washing. A monk came upon a hermit in the desert and rejoiced that he “smelt the good odour of that brother from a mile away.”

    Cleanliness improved during the Middle ­Ages—particularly after the Crusaders imported the Turkish bath. Islamic culture had preserved the Roman traditions of cleaning the body first, then soaking and socializing.

    Deprived of sophisticated Roman plumbing, most medieval and renaissance people appear to have bathed less often, but with the same social enjoyment.

     Public bath­houses were popular and well run,  and expectant mothers even used them for “baby showers,” or festive ­“lying-­in baths,” with their female friends. Paris and London had many of these jolly communal “stews”—a term later applied to houses of ­prostitution.

     Because so much sex went on in the public baths of the middle ages, the term “stew” or “stewhouse,” which originally referred to the moist warmth of the bathhouse, gradually came to mean a house of prostitution.
     The church chimed in that the baths encouraged concupiscence, and the stews were closed. From the mid-16th century well into the 19th century in much of Europe, a person could go from cradle to grave without a good wash.

     In England, Elizabeth I declared that she bathed once a month “whether I need it or not.” In Spain during the Inquisition, Ashen­burg says, Jew and Muslim alike could be condemned by the frightful words “was known to bathe.” Nor was sanitation prized in France, where feces left in the halls of Versailles were carted away once a week.

    When John Wesley famously re­marked, in 1791, that “cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness,” he wasn’t talking about the body, but about ­clothes.




    The citizens of Pompeii have been revealed as sophisticated, cultured people who enjoyed fine art, architecture, and the pleasures of the flesh. Their life stories have become a grand narrative of how to live joyfully in the present as if every day might be your last.
    The Baths of Caracalla, 1899, oil on canvas, private collection. 132KB
    The Baths of Caracalla
    built in Rome between AD 212-216
    The Farnese Collection donated to the Naples Archeological Museum by former ruler Charles of Bourbon contains many wonderful sculptures and gems found at the Baths of Caracalla
    Image by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema 1836-1912  Oil on canvas 1899 59 7/8 x 37 1/2 inches 152.3 x 95.3 cm Private collection

    In the long centuries of Christian Europe, when miserable conditions of life and religious repression conspired to minimize the expression of sexual longing, desire was driven underground to rise only momentarily during celebrations like Carnaval. Yet by the late nineteenth century, increasing privacy, prosperity, and good health again permitted the underlying biological urge for total body sex to express itself.  Our section on the history of the bikini tells this story from a sixties and Brazilian perspective. The wise look to the past as a guide to the future which brings us to Pompeii.

    Pompeii had public baths as early as the 4th Century BC, whereas Rome itself did not have them until the time of Augustus (late 1st Century BC). They assumed a character like the Greek gymnasium but incorporated advances which we can still appreciate today. The community of Pompeii was finishing one the grandest bathhouse ever built when Mount Vesuvius exploded in 79 AD, giving us a remarkable view of a different way of living life.

    The resort city of Pompeii has yielded an amazingly large collection of erotic votive objects and frescoes. Many were removed and kept until their 21st century unveiling at the Naples Archeological Museum. They had been previously opened to public viewing for a brief period during the 1960s. [more]

    The city of Pompeii was the luxury destination for the Roman elite and many members of the upper classes lived almost full-time. Pompeii was a lively place, and evidence abounds of literally the smallest details of everyday life. In examining the street Latin graffiti at Pompeii, we can gather that well-known gladiators and actors frequented the city, and drinking and sex were commonplace and accepted as outlets of entertainment in the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

    While the Romans adopted the idealization of beauty like the Greeks, their genius was melding ideas, money, and slave labor into greater infrastructure than had ever been seen before. Their increasingly complex structures included the baths. The Romans built so many of them, the baths became an experimental laboratory to test out new concepts. The baths were available to all as community center and a daily ritual that defined what it meant to be Roman.

    The locals and visitors frequented a magnificent 5,000-seat theatre and a 20,000-capacity amphitheatre while enjoying at least 81 takeaway food emporiums featuring hot food and fresh bread. The spiritual life of the elite was important too, as the surviving temples dedicated to Isis, Venus, Jupiter and Apollo show us.

    Beneath the lava ruins rests a freeze-frame of high style Roman living. Twenty-five thousand people or more died, buried under what was a high tower of pumice pebbles that fell for twelve hours, and killed in an instant by a hundred-mile-an-hour surge of pyroplastic flow -- a superheated mixture of poisonous gas, lava foam, and rocks. When archaeologists began the large-scale uncovering of the city a century ago, they found that there were cavities in the rock, left over from the victims. The plaster casts of the victims that have made Pompeii Italy's #1 visitor attraction.

    Isis-Aphrodite: painted terracotta votive figure crowned and nude -  a syncretic icon of Egyptian Greco-Roman worship 2nd century CE. NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art. [more]

     The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans are the three ancient cultures with the most important Carnaval lineage, and they all retain their glorious presence in the preserved record of Pompeii at the beginning of the last great age. Isis is the Egyptian deity most responsible for the truce between the Romans and Catholics at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. One of the most important fine art cycles in the history of art is at the Villa of Mystery. Here it is likely that  young women were initiated into the mysteries of life, death and rebirth under the watchful eyes of Dionysis and his consort Ariadne.

     Pompeii was a rich and cosmopolitan Roman city of trade originally dominated by the Greek traders who also ruled Egypt under the Ptolemys. There are depictions of women as goddesses, seductresses, saints, sinners, and muses, which often have the female appearing nude. 

    Inside their villas, Pompeians chose many different ways to express themselves. The interior walls of Pompeii homes were enriched by warm and brilliantly colored decorations often with mythological, heroic and fantastic subjects.  Some Pompeians had a great love for depicting the mythological stories of the Greeks in these paintings. The rich colors and great skills of all the work show that a support of the arts was a revered aesthetic among the citizens.

    The large number of well-preserved frescoes throw a great light on everyday life and have been a major advance in art history of the ancient world, with the innovation of the Pompeian Styles (First/Second /Third Style).

    “the gong that announced the opening of the public baths each day was a sweeter sound, than the voices of the philosophers in their school”

    --- Cicero

    A Favorite Custom, 1909, oil on panel, Tate Gallery, London. 117KB
    The Latin word thermae means "hot baths". Communal bathing in public facilities was an important and essential part of Roman life, and formed part of the daily routine for all classes.

    In general, a Roman public bath was like a country club. For a small sum, it was a place to meet friends, go to the gym, play a few games, have a good meal, and spend a bit of time in a succession of cold, tepid, warm or hot baths. Lines on the road from the city’s port led not only to brothels, but directed visitors to the heavily used bathhouses. Their great popularity in Pompeii likely contributed to making them an everyday life in the City of Rome and wherever Romans built their network of far-flung cities over the great empire.

    The image “http://www.vroma.org/images/mcmanus_images/mirror_womenbathing.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
    Venus, goddess of the youthful and virginal beauty that attracts the male gaze and gives sexual pleasure, represent in religion the twin social expectations of women. In matters of adornment and dress, women claimed the right of visual self-expression from the time of their fierce opposition to the 2nd century BCE Oppian law, a regulation limiting women's public display.

    gilt bronze mirror back depicts two women bathing before a statuette of Venus. 2nd century CE . Boston, Museum of Fine Arts.

     Roman history bears witness to the fact that women's bodies were not their own, but lying at the intersection of public interest as they did, were constitutionally entrusted to males to regulate and administer for the good of the state. Women had no political rights. They were not allowed to vote, directly address the Senate, nor mill about in the forum.

    In the earlier times of the republic there was a difference of hours for the two sexes. The thermć were monopolized alternately by the women in the morning and then the men after they finished their workday in the early afternoon till dinner. Mixed bathing was generally frowned upon, although the fact that various emperors repeatedly forbade it seems to indicate that the prohibitions did not always work. Women who were concerned about their respectability would not frequent the baths when the men were there after 2 in the afternoon, but then the baths with its many small rooms and visitors on holiday would be an excellent place for prostitutes to ply their trade.

    Of particular note for the ancient seaside trading community dominated by the Greeks for many centuries was the water system with a central natatorium or swimming pool, and an aqueduct that provided water for  more than 25 street fountains, at least four public baths, and a large number of private houses (domus) and businesses.

    Water was heated by furnaces in cavities beneath the marble floor. This rose through terracotta layering in the walls. The actual water would be supplied from the aqueduct constructed in the time of Augustus found in the city. The water-wheel in the Strabian Baths indicates that before this, water channeled through a well or a cistern.

    Thanks to under-floor heating, and air ducts built into the walls, the whole room would have been full of steam when in use. Grooves in the ceiling allowed condensation to be channelled to the walls, rather than drip onto bathers. Cold water was piped into designated basins enabling bathers to cool off when they wanted.

    The oldest bathhouse in Pompeii was the Strabian Baths, but there were several others - the Central, Suburban, Sarno, Amphitheatre and Forum Baths. This was in a resort city of 15,000-20,000 people. The smaller nearby town of Herculaneum also had two large bathing places. Baths were for people of every social class, but not too egalatarian.  The inscription in the huge Villa of Julia Felix which made her baths public following the rebuilding from the quake in 62 AD reads ‘elegant baths for respectable people.’

    Strabian Baths
    Female changing room: Here are stone benches to sit down upon, and pins fixed in the walls, where the slave hangs up your white woolen toga and your tunic, as well lockers for your other items
     The Stabian baths was the most important of the bathing establishments. This bathhouse lay nearby Brothel Lane, the Holconius and the Via Strabiana. These are by far the oldest, built c. 4th Century BC, dating from the Samnite period.

    It was very spacious, and contained all sorts of apartments, side rooms, round and square basins, small ovens, galleries, porticoes, etc., without counting a space for bodily exercises ( palćstra) where the young Pompeians went through their gymnastics. It houses a gymnasium, has walls painted of garden imagery, has several changing rooms and latrines for guests. This was a complete water-cure establishment.

    Body care was continued in the "Grande Palestra" a huge rectangular area designed for gymnastic exercises. It measured over 100 metres along each side. A large pool was situated at its centre.
      "How have you managed to preserve yourself so long and so well?"
    asked Augustus of Pollio.
    "With wine inside, and oil outside,"
    responded the old man.
    The image “http://www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/perfumegirl.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
    Woman with Flask: marble statue of a woman wearing a peplos and holding a glass perfume flask. Ostia, c. 30 CE. Rome, Vatican Museum.

    Slave attendants addressed all your needs; one of them cuts your nails, another plucks out your stray hair, and a third still seeks to press your body and rasp the skin with his brush, a fourth prepares the most fearful frictions yet to ensue, while others deluge you with oils and essences, and grease you with perfumed unguents. They were perfumed with myrrh, spikenard, and cinnamon; there was the Egyptian unguent for the feet and legs, the Phśnician for the cheeks and the breast, and the Sisymbrian for the two arms; the essence of marjoram for the eyebrows and the hair, and that of wild thyme for the nape of the neck and the knees.

    These unguents were very dear, but they kept up youth and health.

    The square basin (alveus or baptisterium) which served for the warm baths was of marble. It was ascended by three steps and descended on the inside by an interior bench upon which ten bathers could sit together.

    The Forum Baths of Pompeii
    This frigidarium or natatio is a circular room, which strikes you at the outset by its excellent state of preservation. In the middle of it is hollowed out a spacious round basin of white marble, four yards and a half in diameter by about four feet in depth; an circular series of steps on the interior enabled the Pompeians to bathe in a sitting posture. Four niches, prepared at the places where the angles would be if the apartment were square, contained benches where the bathers rested. The walls were painted yellow and adorned with green branches. The frieze and pediment were red and decorated with white bas-reliefs. The vault, which was blue and open overhead, was in the shape of a truncated cone. It was clear, brilliant, and gay, like the antique life itself.

    Do you prefer a warm bath? Retrace your steps and, from the apodyteros, where you left your clothing, pass into the tepidarium.

    On quitting the stove, or warm bath, the Pompeians wet their heads in that large wash-basin, where tepid water which must, at that moment, have seemed cold, leaped from a bronze pipe still visible. Others still more courageous plunged into the icy water of the frigidarium, and came out of it, they said, stronger and more supple in their limbs.


    Central Thermal Baths
    This magnificent complex was constructed immediately after the earthquake of 62 A.D. (in fact many of the materials used were plundered from nearby buildings) and was interrupted as a result of the eruption in 79 A.D. It was built along more modern and functional lines than the Stabian Baths.  It is notable that separate sections for men and women were not provided, nor did it have a frigidarium, but it did have a laconicum instead. The magnificent, ornate bathhouse would have been larger than all the other baths with a large gymnasium, numerous baths and a room intended exclusively as a "sudatorium". Spacious in design as well with large windows.
    Forum Baths
    The Forum Baths are the smallest, but the most elegant of thehttp://www.vroma.org/images/mcmanus_images/apodyterium.jpg thermae. They were built shortly after after the establishment of Sullla's colony in 80 BC and except for the private baths gone public were the only ones fully functioning at the time of the great quake. Decorated by religious statues and decorated to a lesser degree than the Central Baths, the Forum Baths were well-preserved with workshops attached to the back.

    The Forum baths held open-air sports area (palaestra) for exercise, and the game called harpastum which was popular throughout Rome may have been played at rectangular courts found at the Central and Strabian Baths.

    Sex in the Baths? the Suburban Baths
    Graffiti at Pompeii and Herculaneum suggests, as one would expect in a city known for hedonistic pleasure seeking that having food and prostitutes added to bath experience was not an uncommon pleasure. Still the paintings in the changing rooms at the Pompeii Suburban Baths have no peers. They depict both group and oral sex rarely ever found by archaeologists.

    There is a lively debate among scientists regarding the purpose of the erotic frescoes. Some claim they are advertisements for sexual services available on the upper floor of the baths. Others believe the explicit paintings were meant to entertain, and theorize that they could even have been used to label lockers underneath them.

    RSS FEED: What's new POMPEII?
    The Roman Quest:

    How to employ sexuality so as to maximize the self's health, well-being, happiness?

    The study of Roman culture shows us a transition between the sexuality of the ancient world of Greece and that of Christian Europe. This cultural synthesis would have found its apex in Pompeii and the Bay of Naples.
    The History of Sexuality: An Introduction
    THE CARE OF THE SELF Volume Three of The History of Sexuality. By Michel Foucault. Translated by Robert Hurley. 279 pp. New York: Pantheon Books [more]
    In the Greek world, sexual ethics and politics were organized around axes of social power and male domination, and understandable largely in terms of hierarchical systems of interpersonal relation.
    "Romans, by contrast, evince a more solipsistic focus. The issue for them is the self rather than the household or city or the demands of philosophy: how to employ sexuality so as to maximize the self's health, well-being, happiness. There are enough hints here about the unpublished fourth volume on early Christianity that one can reasonably infer its thesis: this preoccupation with the well-being of the self becomes the basis for a Christian ethics in which the salvation of the individual soul is the fulcrum of moral activity and thought; Roman advice about how to optimize health and happiness is transformed into absolute rules about how to behave to attain salvation."

    JOHN BOSWELL reviewing for NY Times
    Augustus: Rome's 1st and most influential emperor
    Augustus made an example of his daughter Julia's unwillingness to only have sex with the older political spouses he had her marry by exiling her.
    In 11 BC Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce his wife Vipsania and marry Julia, Augustus' daughter. In 6 BC, Tiberius abruptly retired to Rhodes. In 2 AD he returned to Rome and in 4 AD, with Augustus's grandsons both dead, Tiberius was adopted as Augustus's son. In 27 AD Tiberius, the emperor since 14 AD retired to Capri, never returning to Rome. Upon his death in 37 AD he  was succeeded by  Caligula
    Virgil created the Roman epic to rival the Homer and the Bible
    Augustus.jpgBefore he died, Julius Caesar had designated his great nephew, Gaius Octavius (who would be named Augustus by the Roman Senate after becoming emperor) as his adopted son and heir. Octavius' mother, Atia, was the daughter of Caesar's sister, Julia Caesaris. Augustus' reign laid the foundations of a regime that lasted hundreds of years until the ultimate decline of the Roman Empire.

    Augustus lived a modest life, with few of the luxuries that his rank would have allowed him to have.  Augustus also introduced laws to improve morality to regulate marriage and family life and to control promiscuity.

    Livia, was the third wife of Augustus for over fifty years, from 38 BC until his death in AD 14. They remained married despite the fact that she bore him no child. Together they promoted the feminine ideal of the earliest years of Rome, although this was apparently  more honored in the breach than observance even by her husband, despite his success in being the patriarch of domestic virtue.

    The use of Egypt's immense land rents to finance the Empire's operations resulted from Augustus' conquest of Egypt and the shift to a Roman form of government. As it was effectively considered Augustus' private property rather than a province of the Empire, it became part of each succeeding emperor's patrimonium. The highly productive agricultural land of Egypt yielded enormous revenues that were available to Augustus and his successors to pay for public works and military expeditions, as well as bread and circuses for the population of Rome.

    In AD 9, Augustus made adultery a criminal offence, although it is said this was more to intimidate wives than husbands. He first instituted the still encouraged practice of the Catholic church of many offspring by granting privileges to couples with three or more children. The Augustan era poets Virgil and Horace praised Augustus as a defender of Rome, an upholder of moral justice. Virgil's “The Aeneid” is considered a great epic classic in many ways, not only beating the drum for Roman virtue, but thoughtfully and artfully blending the complex relations at the heart of the Roman Empire into a belief system which served the stability of the realm immeasurably.

    Emperor Augustus is also known for his famous last words: "Did you like the performance?", referring to the play-acting and regal authority that he had put on as emperor.

    "Were it not for the need to procreate, church leaders would have cast out sex altogether."
    After the Roman torch was passed to the Roman Catholic Church in the 5th century, the body and sexuality became an evil sin where the only purpose of sex was procreation of new members of the one true religion.
    Written in the Flesh: A History of DesireWhen Christianity banished the pagan gods, ending forever their lust-filled adventures, a sexual chill gripped Western Europe for centuries, says University of Toronto professor Edward Shorter, author of Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire. Were it not for the need to procreate, church leaders would have cast out sex altogether.
    In the 14th century the Catholic church expanded the definition of sodomy to include everything but the “missionary position”; on the other hand, it allowed the practice of prostitution during this era to flourish. It was believed that straight men needed an outlet to release their sexual tension or they would commit acts of adultery, rape or homosexuality. The Catholic church and Thomas Aquinas saw prostitution as a “necessary evil.” There has always been much debate beginning with Martin Luther about this policy decision, which had no biblical basis.
    The Romans pose fewer ethical problems relative to the Roman Catholic norms which followed than is generally realized. Romans idealized conjugal union and nuclear families as the norm of erotic fulfillment. Roman hedonism versus Christian asceticism is a greater illusion than it deserves to be.
    Viva la France

    Joie de vivre

    the cultural heirs of Pompeians pursuit of the good life

    We are all ancient Romans to some extent. However, the French, it's safe to say, are the cultural heirs of Rome. Gaul, today's France, was first conquered by Julius Ceasar. Emperor Claudius I, who was born at Lugdunum (now Lyon), admitted Gallic nobles to the Roman Senate in AD 48.

    When Christianity banished the pagan gods over 1500 years ago, ending forever their lust-filled adventures, a sexual chill gripped Western Europe.

    French film star Bridget Bardot in 1956, who was monumental in transforming the two-piece swim suit from daring to one of the most popular items of clothing in the world


    The French invented the first bikini in 1946

    Even today, the current Pope tells all who will listen that having sex only for procreation and without protection is necessary to avoid the damnation of hell. The record shows that church leaders have few nice things to say about sex, declaring most manifestations of it sinful despite the fact that sexual desire is hard-wired into the brain.

    In the late 13th century, the French bathhouses in Paris employed criers to announce when the water was hot.

    "A crier patrolled the streets of thirteenth-century Paris to summon people to the heated steam-baths and bath-houses. These establishments, already numbering twenty-six in 1292 [Riolan, Curieuses Recherches, p. 219],

    Napoleon and Josephine were fastidious for their time in that they both took a long, hot, daily bath. But Napoleon wrote Josephine from a campaign, “I will return to Paris tomorrow evening. Don’t wash.” Bathing had become rarer with time as 17th-century aristocratic Frenchman, thought cleanliness meant changing his shirt once a day, using perfume to obliterate both his own aroma and everyone else’s.

    Nude beaches first became popular in the 1950s along the French coast and have since spread around the world. For many decades, going topless has been tolerated and si common on almost all French beaches..

    French Politics
    The heroic illusions of the French revolution were expressed through a vision of Roman  virtue and glory. Napoleon declared himself Consul and later an Emperor, paying tribute to these ideas. The Napoleonic Code, which the French legal system uses to this day, is essentially founded on its Roman prototypes.

    Traditionally a predominantly Roman Catholic country, with anticlerical leanings, France has been a very secular country since the 1970s. However, public holidays are still largely traditional Catholic holidays; and knowledge of facts about the history of Catholicism (for instance, the attribute of saints) is considered normal for an educated person. The French generally consider that since the 1905 law of separation of Church and State, they have struck an excellent balance between the rights of religious people and the neutrality of public institutions with respect to religious matters.

    Carla Bruni, became France's first lady on 2Feb 2008. Born in 1967, her career in the spotlight has been mostly as a supermodel and lover. She has released 2 albums since 2002, and has strong family ties to the two most important cultures redefining our relationship with the body: Roman and Brazilian.

    Much has been said about the sex lives of the French. The fact the late president, François Mitterrand, had a love child was an open secret. And the extramarital affairs of his successor, Jacques Chirac, were so well known that even his wife joked about them publicly.

    Current French President, 53 year old Nicolas Sarkozy, has raised a few eyebrows since his 2007 election, managing to go through a divorce, courtship and marriage to a model/ pop singer 41 year-old Carla Bruni -  all  within the first 100 days of his presidency.  Carla Bruni is a fascinating beauty who knows her way around a media frenzy. In April 2008 a nude photo of Ms. Bruni, was sold at auction for 91,000 euros. The photographer had persuaded the seller to donate the money from the sale to charity. The charity, a Children’s Hospital Association in Cambodia headed by Swiss pediatrician and musician Beat Richner, refused the money.

    Accepting money obtained from exploitation of the female body would be perceived as an insult...In Cambodia “use of nudity is not understood in the way it is in the West”....At the same time, for Cambodians and their government, Madame Bruni is now seen as the First Lady of France. Our reputation would be stained by what they would perceive as disrespect should we accept money of this nature.”

    Exploitation generally means to take unfair advantage, and perhaps nothing has created more controversy more regularly than exposing the female body, except perhaps exposing the sexual passions the feminine form stirs. However, the ideal of progress requires we deal with it. By celebrating beauty as a high artistic ideal the French and Brazilian cultures have become beacons for a new tomorrow where exploitation of superior power and the planetary suicide of war can be avoided.

    For most of our history, the dance of a playful body became shameful except once a year during the Carnaval or other great annual cultural festival.  Bathing as a communal part of daily life was never as prominent again until the urban beach culture of Rio de Janeiro blossomed in the sixties with a celebration of the body that continues to grow and blossom.


    of Greeks & Romans

    Nude female athlete, the handle of a bronze strigil, herself holds a strigil. Etruscan, found in a sarcophagus from Praeneste (Palestrina), c. 300 BCE. London, British Museum.
    Antiquity was more comfortable with the naked body: The bible tells us Peter was naked when working in his boat (John 21:7). The Greeks and Roman practiced their sports without clothes on. The Greek word gymnos meant “naked”. We still find the word in such terms as gymnastics and gymnasium.
    The Oppian Law

    woman's rights in Rome

    [195 B.C.]

    The Oppian Law represents one of history's earliest successful efforts of organizing for woman's rights. It was passed following the disastrous defeat of the Romans by Hannibal at the battle of Cannae (216 B.C.). Because of the wars with Carthage, many men had died. Their wives and daughters had inherited their lands and monies, allowing many women to become quite rich. The state, in order to help pay for the cost of the wars, decided to tap into women's wealth by passing the Oppian Law. It limited the amount of gold women could possess and required that all the funds of wards, single women, and widows be deposited with the state. Women also were forbidden to wear dresses with purple trim (the color of mourning and a grim reminder of Rome's losses). Nor could they ride in carriages within Rome or in towns near Rome.

    Roman women obeyed these restriction with little fuss. Yet, at the end of the successful Second Punic War in 201 B.C., male Romans and women in towns beyond Rome again donned their rich clothing and rode about in carriages. Women in Rome, however, continued to be denied these luxuries because of the Oppian Law. With the end of the wars, upper class women chafted at these continuing restrictions and now wished to keep their inherited money for their own use.

    In 195 B.C., some members of the Tribunal proposed eliminating the Oppian Law. Women throughout Rome kept an eye on these proceedings. When it seemed that the majority of Tribunal was about to veto the proposed repeal, they poured into the streets in protest. It was the first time anything by women on a scale such as this was seen in Rome. As a result of the women's protest, the tribunes withdrew their veto and approved the repeal.


    Resort for the rich famous and patrons of the arts

    For the entire duration of the Roman Empire, Naples and Pompeii was celebrated as a rich and elegant cultural centre, where the Roman emperors and aristocracy came to spend the summer months in their sumptuous villas along the Bay of Naples coast and as far as Sorrento on one side of the bay.

    "We think ourselves poor and mean if our walls (of the baths) are not resplendent with large and costly mirrors; if our marbles (statues and busts) are not set off by mosaics of Numidian stone, or their borders are not faced over on all sides with difficult patterns, arranged in many colors like paintings; if our vaulted ceilings are not buried in glass; if our swimming pools are not lined with Thasian marble, once a rare and wonderful sight in any temple; and finally, if the water has not poured from silver spigots."

    Seneca, the prominent Roman Stoic philosopher and unforgiving tutor of Nero, who was also a frequent visitor to  the pleasures of Pompeii
     Founded by the Greeks
    Roman design was based on Greek culture and evolved from the Etruscans, whose style was derived from the Greeks during the 8th and 7th Centuries B.C.
    Originally Poseidonia in tribute toDownload the Greek god of the sea. May have been the 2nd city to Athens although little is known about its first centuries including its relationship between the nearby Bay of Naples cities of Naples and Pompeii. Founded around the end of the 7th century BCE by colonists from the Greek city of Sybaris. Today the best preserved world's best preserved Greek Doric temples are found here. 

    The Sybarites were a luxury-loving people who are credited with inventing the steam bath.in the 8th century B.C.,

     The nearby beach in the province of Salerno is long (15 km) Paestum is accessible from Naples by train. The site is a 15 minute walk from the train station.

    Pompeii was where the Sarno River met the sea and it had a long ancient popularity as a safe port by Greek and Phoenician sailors.

    The city of Naples was founded by Greek immigrants, who ruled over the Gulf of Naples. Then the area was dominated by the Etruscans (525-474). After their defeat, the city again was subjected to the rule of the Greeks (474-425). The cultural mixing began early as the Greeks would send only men out as colonizers.

    The struggle for supremacy in the territory of Campania was resolved by another civilization, that of Samnites who came down from the mountains of the Sannio regions. The archaeological excavations have revealed a number of buildings, of Sannitic type, as well as various sculptural and pictorial works referable to the same period.

    For more than 3 centuries Pompei remained under their influence, until the end of the III century when the Roman conquered Campania region. Pompei at first was declared "socia" of Rome and it maintained its own institutions and language, then in the year 80 BC. became a Roman colony with the name of "Colonia Veneria Cornelia Pompeii". From then Pompeii was a city with Roman language, customs, architecture, political and administrative life.

    The Romans were masters of design with a strong passion for beauty and comfort; they were noted for their building skills and used exact scientific mathematical precision in their buildings. Concrete, easily manipulated, was discovered in the 2nd Century, B.C. and was considered a technological breakthrough. Concrete has the great advantage of being cast. In other words, you can make it any shape you like. It has the great advantage of being strong, so you can make shapes which bridge large spaces.  The Romans were able to change the form of both exterior and interior architecture, allowing architects to build complex vaults without interior center supports, including barrel vaults, groined (or cross), vaults and the dome and semi-dome. The buttresses of the vaults were an integral part of the interior support system of buildings and the great public buildings like the bathhouses.

    In 2002 another important discovery at the mouth of the Sarno River revealed that the port also was populated and that people lived in palafittes, within a system of channels that suggested a likeness to Venice to some scientists. These studies are just beginning to produce results.

     Pompeii,  with approximately 2.5 million visitors a year,  is the most popular tourist attraction in Italy.

    The Lupanare -
    houses of prostitution
    The Lupanare — so called because "Lupa" for "she-wolf" was the Latin term for a prostitute who would howl to signal customers
    Wealthier clients used the upper floor, which had a separate entrance, a balcony and was richly decorated with frescoes that leave little to the imagination.
    Prices were posted outside the building, while the skills and names of the prostitutes were carved on the walls. Each apparently had her own specialty when approaching the world's oldest profession. Myrtis, for example, had a sign outside her room indicating her skills in oral sex.
    The various available services were also advertised by a fresco at the top of every doorway. Each depicts a different sexual position.

    Luciana Iacobelli, a lecturer in Pompeian antiquities at Bicocca University in Milan, said the graffiti also surprisingly reveals names of Roman women of various social classes. This suggests it wasn't only women doing the servicing.
    "A recent study suggests that also men worked as prostitutes in the Lupanare. Their clients were both women and men," Iacobelli told Naples’ daily newspaper, "Il Mattino."
    Unearthed in 1862, the Lupanare underwent several restorations. In 2006 the restoration lasted one year, mainly focused on the frescoes, which had begun to fade.

    It was believed the City of Pompeii supported 35 houses of prostitution in 79 AD - about the same number of bakeries - but that was based on the presense of erotic paintings. Using the typical single room configuration, the total is put at 9.

    The first toilets
    Bathhouses also had large public latrines, often with marble seats over channels whose continuous flow of water constituted the first “flush toilets.” A shallow water channel in front of the seats was furnished with sponges attached to sticks for patrons to wipe themselves.

    Originally, Pompeii received its water supply from the River Sarno and from wells, but an aqueduct was built when the needs of the city increased. Large lead pipes ran under the pavements carrying running water to the homes of the richest residents, to the public baths, and to the public fountains where the poorer inhabitants obtained their water.

    Thermae (Public Baths)
    Typically baths were a place of social necessity: they upheld public health and hygiene, they were a place to talk and meet casually with clients or business people, and they allowed fitness and exercise. Here you are, as nude as an antique statue.
    • Caldarium - closest to the furnace. This room had a large tub or small pool with very hot water and a waist-high fountain (labrum) with cool water to splash on the face and neck.Hot air came through air ducts behind he walls and onto a marble floor held up by brick pillars.
    • Frigidarium - Cold bath, rather like a smaller version of a swimming pool.
    • Tepidarium - Warm bathing room, occasionally linked to a sweating room.
    • laconicum - dry heat like a sauna
    • apodyterium dressing room
    • palaestra - The large central courtyard was the exercise ground it was surrounded by a shady portico which led into the bathing rooms.
    • Vestibule - Entrance Hall to the bathhouses.
    Mt. Vesuvius on the horizon
    The great natural philosopher Pliny  insisted on recording his observations of Vesuvius up to the moment when the volcano swept away his relatives.
    It would be 1600 years following the eruption of Vesuvius on the 24th of August 79 AD before we would begin to learn of the society that was buried.
    Today, three million people live in and around Naples. It is only a matter of time until there is another gigantic explosion, and now there are almost a hundred times as many people in the area as there were in Roman times.

    The Mount Vesuvius has been sleeping since 1944 under the watchful eyes of volcanologists, who regularly measure its temperature. Their observatory lies 608m high.

    The region's volcanic band includes Stromboli, a remote island to the south, and Sicily's Mt. Etna, which demonstrated a significant period of activity in 2007.

    Between 1933 and 1944 Mount Vesuvius  buried several  towns underneath more than 250 million cubic metres of lava. Even the cable car,  well known through the folk song Funiculě, funiculŕ,  fell victim to the lava .

    It's well worth walking the crater rim to admire the slumbering, steaming lava pit below.

    The nearby smaller City of Herculaneum was covered by a pyroclastic surge (instead of the ash and lapilli that covered Pompeii). This allowed some second storeys to survive.
    Egyptians & Bathing
    The ancient Egyptians went to great lengths to be clean. Egyptians thought highly of cleanliness and shaved not only their  heads, upon which they wore wigs, but also their pubic hair, which prevented forms of pubic lice. Circumcision was also practiced which eliminated smegma (dirt and bacteria build up under the foreskin). Both sexes anointed their genitals with perfumes designed to deepen and exaggerate their natural aroma.
    Ancient Egyptian Frescoe depicting three dancers, found in Tomba Nakht, c. 1420 BC.
    Scandanavia & Bathing
    In Finland, where the sauna is a national institution, when government leaders cannot agree on an issue, they adjourn to the sauna to continue the discussion.

    The Finnish use of sauna is well documented back to the beginning of their history. 

    "The first examples of saunas were simple pits dug in the earth, with heated stones to generate the dry, hot atmosphere. Hot stones remain the hallmark of the sauna, radiating warmth into a small surrounding room, which today is typically built of wood. Dousing the stones with water creates a vapor called loyly by the Finns. Body brushes, called vihta or vahta, and birch branches, are used to stimulate the skin and a healthy sweat." (von Furstenberg, p. 93)

    Japanese & Baths
    Japanese baths are of similar if not greater antiquity. Western writers claim that the soaking baths of Japan originate from the extensive use of Japanese hot springs.

    "Situated between two volcanic belts, Japan offers countless natural thermal baths, furos. The tradition of public bathing dates back at least to A.D. 552 and to the dawn of Buddhism, which taught that such hygiene not only purified the body of sin but also brought luck." (von Furstenberg, p. 91)




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