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that has ever since been reached; only eight persons were fit to survive
the calamity which swept into eternity that lustful generation with
their filthy deeds.
But men soon fell into vice again, for we find among the early Assyrians
a total disregard of chastity. Her kings reveled in the grossest
No excess of vice could surpass the licentiousness of the Ptolemies,
who made of Alexandria a bagnio, and all Egypt a hot-bed of vice.
Herodotus relates that "the pyramid of Cheops was built by the lovers
of the daughter of this king; and that she never would have raised this
monument to such a height except by multiplying her prostitutions."
History also relates the adventures of that queenly courtesan,
Cleopatra, who captivated and seduced by her charms two masters of the
world, and whose lewdness surpassed even her beauty.
Tyre and Sidon, Media, Phoenicia, Syria, and all the Orient, were sunk
in sensuality. Fornication was made a part of their worship. Women
carried through the streets of the cities the most obscene and revolting
representations. Among all these nations a virtuous woman was not to
be found; for, according to Herodotus, the young women were by the laws
of the land "obliged, once in their lives, to give themselves up to
the desires of strangers in the temple of Venus, and were not permitted
to refuse anyone."
[Footnote 41: Bourgeois.]
St. Augustine speaks of these religious debaucheries as still practiced
in his day in Phoenicia. They were even continued until Constantine
destroyed the temples in which they were prosecuted, in the fourth
Among the Greeks the same corruptions prevailed in the worship of
Bacchus and Phallus, which was celebrated by processions of half-nude
girls "performing lascivious dances with men disguised as satyrs." In
fact, as X. Bourgeois says, "Prostitution was in repute in Greece."
The most distinguished women were courtesans, and the wise Socrates
would be justly called, in modern times, a libertine.
The abandonment to lust was, if possible, still more complete in the
times of the Roman emperors. Rome astonished the universe "by the
boldness of its turpitudes, after having astonished it by the splendor
of its triumphs."
The great Caesar was such a rake that he has been said to have "merited
to be surnamed every woman's husband." Antony and Augustus were equally
notorious. The same sensuality pervaded the masses as reigned in the
courts, and was stimulated by the erotic poems of Ovid, Catullus, and
other poets of the time.
Tiberius displayed such ingenuity in inventing refinements in
impudicity that it was necessary to coin new words to designate them.
Caligula committed the horrid crime of incest with all his sisters,
even in public. His palace was a brothel. The Roman empress, Messalina,
disguised herself as a prostitute and excelled the most degraded
courtesans in her monstrous debaucheries. The Roman emperor Vitellius
was accustomed to take an emetic after having eaten to repletion, to
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