Secret cabinet

 

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The Secret Cabinet

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If you want to know what Roman sex was really like, you need to go to Pompeii.

In the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 18th and  19th centuries,  many wall paintings were discovered.  Many were hacked off and taken to the Museum in  Naples, which has the main collection of artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Many, however, were distinctly sexual perhaps even pornographic and in 1821 it was felt that they were not suitable for general viewing,  so they were gathered together and put into a ‘Secret cabinet’ and in 1849 the main doorway was blocked to keep them secure from the public.  In the fascist era, Mussolini felt that they detracted from his idea of Roman virtue, so they remain firmly closed off.

However, in the 1960s, concessions began to be made, and ‘people of mature age and respectable morals’  were allowed in, though it was not until 2000 that it was finally opened to the general public. Since then it has become one of the most popular parts of the Museum and even the ladies seem to take great interest in viewing  the details of what the filthy Romans got up to.

 

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 An attempted rape. A swarthy gentleman on his back with an erect penis is attempting to rape an elegant fair skinned lady who is pushing him away.

However, she is not as innocent as she may appear, for  in her left hand she has a bottle of wine, so not only is she naked, but she is also half tipsy, and one suspects that actually a good fucking will be not unwelcome.

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An attempted rape that does not quite come off. The bestial creature on the left – and one can see that he is half man and half beast, with the hairy legs of an animal and an animal’s tail – has attempted to disrobe the fair lady in the centre. But having revealed her cunt, he is horrified by what he has seen and turns away in alarm.

Presumably this refers to some mythical scene, but the context is unknown. Unfortunately, these paintings were hacked off from the walls after excavation and in most cases we do not even know where they come from in Pompeii, or indeed in Herculaneum,  and in any case, they would not have been labelled.

One assumes there is a mythological background, but one suspects that in most cases the villa owner, or whoever commissioned the picture was more interested in having a sexy picture than in its mythological meaning.

   

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 A girl fending off an attack of a would-be lover. In her right arm she has a thyrsus, a wand topped by a pineapple that is associated with Bacchic ritual and is often used by Maenads to fend off the attacks of  Satyrs.  .

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 To fuck or not to fuck? Don’t go drinking, dear, it will make you tipsy.

The seated girl at the centre is wondering whether she should have sex. Her friend to the right is urging her on: she has a goblet of wine in her right hand and a thyrsus, the symbol of sex, in her left hand However behind the seated girl, a dark man holds her arm to stop her from taking the wine, while whispering in her ear the danger that wine will loosen her inhibitions and lay her wide open to sex. 

But is she really a girl? She seems to have a penis projecting from the area of her cunt, so perhaps she is a hermaphrodite

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 Does the girl really want to be kissed? The man from behind is forcing his tongue into her mouth and no doubt if she succumbs, he will shortly be forcing his penis up her cunt.

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 They look straight in each other’s eyes, daring each other to have sex. His arm is round her, clasping her breast and they are both fully nude. He is rather light in colour for a man – men are normally portrayed as being swarthy in colour, but he seems to have a penis ready for the attack.

 

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 The Secret Cabinet does not just contain wall paintings. There is also this boundary stone in the form of a penis. I have illustrated it on the side so  that the inscription can be seen, though the  inscription is meaningless – presumably it is simply a name..

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 A masterpiece of Roman pornography. Here we see a  dangling ornament in the form of a penis from which four or possibly five sub-penises spring. The main penis has a fine pair of balls, and  three bells hang from the subsidiary penises, and presumably when anyone strokes the main penis, the bells ring out in joyful celebration.

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 No, this is not a Roman pot, it is Greek. This is a Greek  red figure drinking vessel and certainly pornography, and therefore well-qualified to enter the Secret Chamber.  It was presumably robbed from a tomb and kept to show off to one’s friends.

But note the masterly way the painter portrays the central figures, the man fucking the girl from the rear – all portrayed with a minimum of lines. Presumably this is the work of a master craftsman who would have drawn the whole scene in probably no more than 10 minutes or quarter of an hour:  he would have been churning out dozens of pots every day, leaving the rest of the ornament to be added by one of the one of his assistants.This is mass production merging into art.

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 And this fine depiction of buggery is again a Greek pot, this time a black figure pot presumably 50 or 100 years earlier than the red figure pot above. It is a fine depiction of buggery with the man on the right inserting  his penis up  the arsehole of the central figure.

 

I hope this is a good selection of everyday Roman pornography . Is this not the way we should treat sex,  as something to enliven our homes, and show off to our guests?

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On to Roman buggery