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were private “sex clubs,” the principle of moral zoning seems fatally compromised . Whether members of the local elite exploited persons they owned and property they inhabited in the service of prostitution, or whether they utilized their resources to mimic this practice in pursuit of pleasure for themselves and their guests, or even for members of their domestic staffs, the result is very much the same. Certain elements of the Pompeian upper classes were deeply implicated in prostitution, at a minimum through their attempt to reproduce its ambience in their private dwellings. Where they refused to draw a clear and unambiguous line between the public lupanar and aristocratic domus, we should hesitate to do so ourselves. 166 The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World N Chapter Six M THE LOCAL DEMOGRAPHICS OF VENAL SEX brothels per capita Amajor concern of scholars arguing for a small number of brothels at Pompeii might be styled economic or demographic rather than moral or aesthetic .1 How might Pompeii, with a population of 10,000 (or 12,000) support as many as 34 (or 35) brothels, when the city of Rome with a population of 1,000,000 (or 500,000) supported only 45 (or 46) in the fourth century? The question is based on a number of dubious premises, as is already plain enough. The population of Pompeii is unknown and unknowable. Estimates range from as low as ca. 7,000 to as high as ca. 20,000, though the range of ‹gures given in the preceding paragraph is now more in vogue.2 We are no better informed for classical Rome, where the longstanding preference for the ‹gure of 1,000,000 has recently been challenged with a controversial proposal 167 1. See Jacobelli, Terme Suburbane (1995) 65 n. 119; Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking (1998) 195 (using a population estimate of 10,000 and the ‹gure of 35 brothels, he comes up with a ratio of one brothel for every 71 [adult] males). DeFelice, Roman Hospitality (2001) 11, takes Clarke’s analysis one step further, estimating a “minimum [his emphasis] of one ‘waitress-prostitute’ for every seven men in Pompeii.” These estimates appear to assume gender-parity in the adult population of Pompeii, which is just one problem with them. 2. See Wallace-Hadrill, Houses and Society (1994) 74–75, 95–103, for a useful discussion. See also Jongman, Economy (1988) 267–68, which includes a breakdown by age, sex, and so on, as well as the recent summary in Scheidel, “Progress and Problems” (2001) 59–61. that cuts that ‹gure in half.3 Half a million might at ‹rst glance seem more plausible for the fourth century, the era of the Regionary Catalogs, with their 45/46 brothels.4 But there has been great controversy over the size of the lateantique population.5 The current consensus is, to say the least, cautious about assuming a decline in the capital’s population in that period, at least as early as the fourth century.6 The late-antique ‹gures for Roman brothels are misleading and perhaps refer only to large purpose-built brothels, if they mean anything at all.7 Other theories explaining the low numbers of brothels recorded are dif‹cult to rule out, however. Perhaps only those brothels large and conspicuous enough to qualify as tourist attractions are given, most or all of which would be purposebuilt . Or, just as the numbers of some buildings, especially in the city center, are in›ated to add luster to the late-antique capital city, so the number of brothels may be downplayed for the same motive. The ‹fth-century Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae notably omits mention of brothels altogether, even the one allegedly founded by Constantine himself .8 It is tempting to attribute this reticence to Christian ideology, but we might reasonably conclude that it is not the absence of brothels from the Constantinopolitan Notitia that is odd, but rather their inclusion in the Roman Regionaries. None of the literary accounts of the marvels of Rome that have 168 The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World 3. Storey, “Population” (1997). Cf. Coarelli, “Consistenza” (1997) 107; Coarelli, “Roma” (2000) 292–96, which resurrects Guido Calza’s estimate of 1,200,000; Tantillo, “Uomini” (2000) 91, which gives an estimate of between 700,000 and 1,000,000 at a minimum; Bustany and Géroudet, Rome (2001) 64–69, who give 800,000 to 1,000,000 under Augustus. See also Lo Cascio , “Population” (2001...


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