The Honest Courtesan

Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.  –  Virgil

Spring was a festive time of year for Roman prostitutes.  April was the month of their patron goddess, Venus, and opened with Veneralia, the festival of Venus Verticordia;  the 23rd was Vinalia Urbana, on which whores made offerings of myrtle, mint and roses to Venus Erycina at her temple outside the Colline Gate.  Five days later Floralia began, and lasted until today; this was the festival of the goddess Flora, who because of her association with fertility (and an identification or confusion with Acca Larentia) was also revered by prostitutes.  And on the last day of Floralia, May 3rd, a group of them would strip in the arena and perform erotic dances until young men…

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