Bars and Brothels

I could have sworn I had mentioned this one before, but I guess not … in any event, there are episodes of both the Simpsons and Family Guy wherein the main characters find themselves excluded from their favourite watering hole for various reasons and so decide to open up a bar in their garage/basement (respectively). According to Clare Kelley Bazeby Dr. Clare Kelly Blazeby, there is material evidence that the Ancient Greeks may have been opening up bars and brothels in their private residences to supplement their income. She looked at items  dating from the period 475 B.C. down to 323 B.C. from sites as diverse as the Villa of Good Fortune at Olynthus to Building Z in Athens. Blazeby dixit:

“This has a real impact on how we view the economy in classical Greece … A lot of trade and industry was based within the home.”

“If you look at the remains coming from ancient Greek homes, it seems very clear to me that these buildings had another function, that some areas were used for commercial purposes … It’s amazing how entrenched people in the field are. We are trying to change archaeologists’ minds by pointing out that houses could be used economically as well being residences.”

“There was nothing to stop part of a house being utilized for commercial gain by using a room fronting onto the street as a shop, or indeed from using the household courtyard for business transactions,”

“My research shows that a lot of trade was embedded within the domestic walls. It also changes our perception of who was drinking wine, and where they were doing it. Women, slaves and foreigners as well as ordinary Greeks, would all have enjoyed time and wine in a classical tavern …”

Added Allison Glazebrook:

“There is no evidence of any purpose-built brothels for ancient Greece. We should not expect brothel spaces to look that different from houses in the material record because girls lived in brothels in which they worked.”

The two scholars presented their research at the recent AIA shindig …

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