Sacred Prostitution

 Sacred Prostitution


Sacred prostitution is a phenomenon that exIsted in many parts of the world, but especially in Mesopotamia, particularly in Babylonia.

The classic account of it is in Herodotus (1,199), who says:

There is a Babylonian custom which compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple and fuck some stranger at least once in her life.  She may not go home until she had been fucked and the money that she has earned from her fucking has gone to the Temple. Girls who were good-looking got fucked immediately and could go straight home, but girls who are not good-looking sometimes had to wait several years until someone came along to fuck them.

How far this actually existed it is debatable,  but there are some interesting images that appear to illustrate this phenomenon


Naked goddess Ashtate from Tharros This is the goddess Astarte, totally naked and holding her breasts in a sensuous fashion. Astarte was the great goddess of the whole of the Near East under various names combining both the position of the Mother Goddess, the Queen of the Gods and also the goddess of sex, the equivalent of the Greek Aphrodite or the Roman Venus.

This is a fine model from Nimrud, but in the Phoenician style and she is now on display in the British Museum. But note that although she is otherwise nude, she is wearing a wig in the Egyptian fashion. It is quite okay to be nude, providing you wear a wig.











Phoenician prostitute waiting in window

This is another plaque from Nimrud, showing ‘The Lady in the window’. She is a sacred prostitute waiting to be fucked, and this is a good example of an image known throughout the Bronze Age in the Near East.







BM Queen of the night DSC04765







The Queen of the Night, at the British Museum


On to the Phoenicians

Revised, 1st February 2017