Ancient Rome

French erotic postcard (c. 1910) depicting Roman Empire decadence.

Ancient Rome was an Italic Iron Age civilization that began in the 8th century BC and ended in the 7th century AD, approximately. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants (roughly 20% of the world's population). Together with Ancient Greece it is often grouped into the term "Classical Antiquity".

Its main periods are:

  • Roman Kingdom, 753–509 BC
  • Roman Republic, 509–27 BC
  • Roman Empire, 27 BC – AD 476

The Byzantine Empire (c. AD 330–1204 and 1261–1453), the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, is also often called the Eastern Roman Empire and can be seen as a continuation of Ancient Rome. The Holy Roman Empire (AD 962–1806) did not have much to do with the Roman Empire besides the name.

Corporal punishment in Ancient RomeEdit

Punishment of a pupil, mural from Pompeji showing a Roman teacher whipping a schoolboy (M/m).
Drawing after the same mural.

Corporal punishment was widespread in Ancient Rome, and due to the many written accounts we know it its details relatively well. Several authors described the details of Roman punishments, such as Horace, Martial and in particular Saint Augustine.

Corporal punishment was used in the education of the youth, in the training of slaves, in the military, and in the punishment of criminals. Besides that, whipping and self-whipping is also found in religious Roman ceremonies, on festivals, and for erotic pleasure.

The Romans had the following whipping and spanking implements:

  • the virga - a birch rod or similar implement (such as a bundle of leather strips).
  • the ferula - a cane
  • the lorum - a leather strap
  • the flagrum - a whip with two or three lashes with small metallic dumbbells on the pointslashes
  • the flagellum - a whip similar to the flagrum but smaller
  • the scutica - a whip with twisted parchment thongs
  • switches made of elm, vine, laurel or myrtle

Professional whippers were called lictor or carnifex. A man who wielded the virga was called virgator, a man who used the lorum was called lorarius.


See alsoEdit

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