Sometimes it’s Best to be Quiet & Prostitution in the Ancient World

Hands OutThose people weren’t too smart. 

I mean, they saw what You can do and they still didn’t believe.  I don’t know how people now can’t believe in You, all anyone has to do is look at all that You created.  Nobody could do that but You.

1. Sacred Prostitute
The Sacred Prostitute in the Ancient World by Catherine Auman
In the times of the Great Goddess worship, sexuality was revered and held sacred.

We find evidence of sacred prostitution throughout the ancient world, as early as the Gilgamesh Epic of 7000 B.C.E. Herodotus, a Greek historian from the 3rd century B.C.E., wrote:
“…women of the land…sit in the temple of love and have intercourse with some stranger…the men pass and make their choice. It matters not what be the sum of money; the women will never refuse, for that were a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. After their intercourse she has made herself holy in the sight of the goddess…”

Sacred prostitution occurred in the early civilizations of Sumer, Babylonia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Rome, and is mentioned in the code of Hammurabi.

It also seems to have been common in Europe and the Middle East prior to the rise of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

In fact, sacred prostitutes not only existed, they flourished and were held to be important members of society:
“…the sacred prostitutes were many in number. According to Strabo, at the temples of Aphrodite in Eryx and Corinth there were above a thousand, while at each of the two Comanas about six thousand were in residence. They were accorded social status and were educated. In some cases, they remained politically and legally equal to men.”

The Golden Age of goddess worship, in which sacred prostitution was widespread, was the Age of Taurus, whose polarity is Scorpio, the two signs most commonly associated with sexuality.

Venus is the ruler of Taurus, and Venus as a goddess is physically beautiful and sexually appealing. She is the goddess of earthly love, sexual and sensual.

The Great Goddess was the bringer of all that is alive, responsible for the fruitfulness of the earth.

Through her came new life and sexuality was one of the mysteries of creation. Sexuality was revered and worshipped in a way we find hard to fathom today.

In the goddess temples, the sacred prostitutes were her priestesses.

Their bodies were available to share the blessings of the goddess with strangers, hungry for love and connection.

In this way, sexual love was shown to be divine, of the goddess, not separate from it. Hesiod, an 8th century B.C.E. poet, wrote:
“…the sensual magic of the sacred whores ‘mellowed the behavior of men.’ …She is the bringer of sexual joy and the vessel by which the raw animal instincts are transformed into love and love-making.”

These women were known in ancient languages as the nu-gig, or “the undefiled,” “the pure or spotless.”

This seems particularly to be of the nature of Virgo, that a woman known for her beauty and sexuality would be considered pure.

The priestess felt herself to be an incarnation of the Holy Spirit as she made love with the men who came to pay homage to the goddess.

She was a teacher of the mysteries, of the healing and restorative power of sexual energy.

The way the Israelites lived and Sodom and Gomorrah I believe that more than likely prostitution was seen as sacred. Even today the Catholics obviously think so, ask the altar boys.

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD forever” (Deut 23:3). 

The Ammonite were fierce in nature and rebellious against God, they also warred with the Israelites.  Balak was a Moabite, and that there says it all.

“If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:

But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again” (Deut 23:10-11). 

This has nothing to do with the camp itself, it is all about being holy or not.  This scripture is a reflection of Rev 21:7-8 and Rev 20:15:

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev 21:7-8). 

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15).

“There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God (Deut 23:17-18).

Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury:

Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it (Deut 23:19-20).

When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 

But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. 

4. Ishtar
Prostitution existed among Romans
Prostitution was not punishable in the antiquity.

Most prostitutes were slaves who were forced by their masters or ferthey were freedmen and foreigners.

Free-born Roman women had to register with the authorities on a trade.

The social acceptance of prostitution and the clear rules, the defined infamy-area of the bourgeois world, encouraged the tax

authorities to even tax this trade.


In the year 40 A.D. Caligula established a prostitute tax in the amount of “profit from one sexual intercourse per day”.

Prostitution was normal in everyday Roman life.

It was also quite affordable to go and see a whore. Even slaves could afford to do so.

Of course there were “noble whores”, so called courtesans. They preferred to be paid mostly with gifts, then to accept money.

Regulated opening hours for brothels did not exist.

That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth” (Deut 23:21-23).

“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 

And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife” (Deut 24:1-2). 

Jesus changed this:

“It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matt 5:31-32). 

“And the Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause: 

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. 

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 

They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?  

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt 19:3-9).

“If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you” (Deut 24:7).

“When thou dost lend thy brother anything, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge” (Deut 24:10).

2. Prostitution existed among Romans
Ishtar is the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, war,love, and sex. She is the counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the cognate north-west Semitic goddess Astarte.

Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution; her holy city Uruk was called the “town of the sacred courtesans”; and she herself was the “courtesan of the gods”.

Ishtar had many lovers; however, as Guirand notes,
“Woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them.

Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them.

‘Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength’, says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, ‘and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits!

Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip.’ Even for the gods Ishtar’s love was fatal.

In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and—if one is to believe Gilgamesh—this love caused the death of Tammuz.”

Ishtar was the daughter of Sin or Anu. She was particularly worshipped at the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Ashur and Arbela.

Besides the lions on her gate, her symbol is an eight-pointed star.

“Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:

At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee” (Deut 24:14-15).

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deut 24:16).

Prostitution in the Ancient World

Prostitution was known throughout the ancient world. While some who practiced the trade worked independ­ently, others (such as slaves) were forced into it.

In Mesopotamia it was actually possible to adopt a girl and then hire her out as a pros­titute. There is considerable controversy over the so-called temple prostitute.

Herodotus recorded that every Bab­ylonian woman was required to prostitute herself at least once in the temple of Ishtar, but the reliability of this claim is disputed.

Most scholars agree that “sacred prostitu­tion” was part of the ritual of the fertility cult, but some argue against this claim, suggesting that women sometimes prosti­tuted themselves to obtain money to pay a vow or that temples simply used whore­dom as a source of income.

In the Greco-Roman world prostitution was also associated with the temples of Aphrodite (especially at Corinth, according to the ancient Greek historian Strabo), but the nature of this prostitution is uncertain.

It is unlikely, however, that temples used such women only as sources of income with no religious link to the function of the temple itself; the promiscuous act was probably re­garded as some kind of sacred rite, even as it catered to the lusts of the people.

The weight of evidence suggests that “sacred prostitu­tion” was real.

Biblical texts provide evidence for temple prostitution. The practice is associated with pagan worship in Hos 4:14, a passage that condemns men who had encounters with the sacred prostitutes at the shrines and who offered sacrifices there.

3. “The Woman at the Window”
The Woman at the Window”

The panel shows a woman with Egyptian-style hair looking out of what appears to be a window. It is often thought that she is a sacred prostitute, connected with Astarte or Ishtar, goddess of fertility, but the exact significance of the scene is unclear. Versions of these panels can be seen decorating the legs of a couch on which King Ashurbanipal reclines in the “Garden Party” scene at Nineveh.

Who Was Jezebel?

Some see “The Woman at the Window” as Jezebel because she had been thrown out of her window and eaten by dogs (2 Kgs 9:30-37).

Jezebel’s reputation as the most dangerous seductress in the Bible stems from her final appearance: her husband King Ahab is dead; her son has been murdered by Jehu.

As Jehu’s chariot races toward the palace to kill Jezebel, she “painted her eyes with kohl and dressed her hair, and she looked out of the window” (2 Kgs 9:30).

For more than two thousand years, Jezebel has been saddled with a reputation as the bad girl of the Bible, the wickedest of women.

This ancient queen has been denounced as a murderer, prostitute and enemy of God, and her name has been adopted for lingerie lines and World War II missiles alike.

But just how depraved was Jezebel?

In recent years, scholars have tried to reclaim the shadowy female figures whose tales are often only partially told in the Bible.

Rehabilitating Jezebel’s stained reputation is an arduous task, however, for she is a difficult woman to like.

She is not a heroic fighter like Deborah, a devoted sister like Miriam or a cherished wife like Ruth.

Jezebel cannot even be compared with the Bible’s other bad girls—Potiphar’s wife and Delilah—for no good comes from Jezebel’s deeds.

These other women may be bad, but Jezebel is the worst.

Prostitution is often used in the Old Testament as a metaphor for idolatry (Ex 34:15-16; Lev 17:7), which may strengthen the connection between temple prostitution and the idolatrous practices of other peoples.


5. Herodotus
Some believe that the “ugliest custom” in Babylon, was prostitution.
The historian Herodotus wrote (who is believed to have lived between circa 490 to 425 B.C.), was the widespread practice of prostitution in the Temple of Ishtar.

It is said that once in their lifetimes, all women in the country were required to sit in the temple and “expose themselves to a stranger” in return for money. “Rich and haughty” women, the ancient Greek historian railed, arrived in “covered chariots.”

The Persians on the Black Sea were apparently involved in similarly nefarious activities. According to the Greek geographer Strabo, “virgin daughters,” hardly 12 years old, were dedicated to cult prostitution.

“They treat their lovers with such friendliness that they even entertain them.” There are many such reports from classical antiquity.

Tribes from Sicily to Thebes are believed to have indulged in perverse religious customs. The Jews were also involved in such practices. There are about a dozen passages in the Old Testament that revolve around “Qadeshes,” a word for female and male cult practitioners.

The Bible calls them “lemans” and “catamites.” I can’t find “leman” or “catamite” in the KJV, but leman means an “illicit lover, especially a mistress”, and catamite means “a boy kept for homosexual practices.” Twentieth-century researchers say that priests in the Eastern World performed forced defloration. It was said that there was “dowry prostitution” and “sexual copulation at the cult site.”

Were Erotic Tales Exaggerated? Newly discovered cuneiform tablets paint a more defused picture, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the academics of earlier decades exaggerated the subject. For example, there is not a single piece of evidence proving that the ritual of forced defloration existed.

Street Prostitution in Ancient Times There is, however, agreement on the subject of ordinary street prostitution in ancient times. Wearing garish makeup and yellow shawls, the whores of Athens advertised their charms at the foot of the Acropolis.

Special “flute girls” offered to play the aulos for their customers before boldly getting down to business. Rome’s street prostitutes charged four aces (the equivalent of about €10, or $14). Messalina, a famous call girl, became empress when she married the Emperor Claudius. Prostitution or harlotry in any form was forbidden to the Israelites.

Prostitution or harlotry in any form was forbidden to the Israelites.

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