3000 years ago prostitution in Babylon (in modern day Syria) was a steady and respectable component of society. In the mountains in the north lived a wild and warlike hunting people. Nevertheless they were the first people who practiced hospitality – that was ”hospitable” prostitution.
In the other part of the country, which was very fertile, a peaceful pastoral tribe lead a nomadic life. They observed the stars, created sciences, founded religions established the "holy" prostitution - the temple prostitution. King Hammurabi (1793 B.C. - 1750) passed a law according to which each woman once in her life had to offer her labour of love for money in the temple. It was supposed to win the favour of the gods for agriculture and stock breeding. Archaeological excavations of clay plates prove this through clear portrayals.
For Herodotus the temple prostitution was a “shameful law”. But he forgot that his fellow countrymen had contributed to prostitution becoming an institution. Thus according to passed down sources, the oldest brothel in the world was in ancient Greece. Through the “social reform” of Solon (630 B.C.) state run brothels were established. However exclusively slaves worked there (for a basket of fish or wine) who were “imported” in multitude from the countries which Alexander the Great (356 B.C. - 323) had conquered. Everywhere where men had to live in little space like on the front or in port towns brothels were even promoted.
In the antique Athens, prostitution was nothing unusual. There were “dicteriades” – prostitutes for the poor, “aluetrides” – Greek flute players, and “hetaeras” – paid lovers for important men. Hetaeras acquired fine arts and philosophic education which were later “developed” in schools for the hetaeras. With this education, they were the only women who were equal to men and participated greatly in social and intellectual life.
Also in Rome prostitution was allowed for a long time, however was considered to be dishonourable and was forbidden under maximal penalty for Roman women who were born free. Still in 100 B.C. 32,000 courtesans are supposed to have worked. There were the “cheap” nudae (Latin: the naked ones) who were paid for their sexual services with a glass of wine or a loaf of bread. There were also the “better off” who allured their customers in the public baths or in the porticos of Pompey and there were the “delicate”, who being young and pretty looked for their clients at public festivals. (There was a delicate by the name of Flavia Domotilla who married the Roman emperor Vespasin, gave birth to three children, of which two also became emperors.) The Romans also introduced taxing prostitutes - the "Unus Concubitus", the shameful salary for one act a day.
Then emperor Augustus came (63 B.C.). As a Christian, he felt that it was his duty to stop the dishonourable activities. Thus adultery and sexual intercourse of unmarried or widowed women were placed under the maximum penalty. However this verdict did not only affect the courtesans but women in general. Because they were guilty of the original sin, were inferior (second class to men). Christianity praised absolute abstinence because the love of the flesh could only be a product of the devil. What then were the prostitutes? On one hand they were defamed (up to the death penalty), on the other hand they were a protection against sodomy and adultery. (According to the saying of better to go to a whore than with a married woman or even a virgin.)
The Christian double morality was born and still today drags through our history.