Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ancient orgy 1: Engravings for Pictures of the Private Lives of the Roman Caesars




Time for another theme on The Seduction of Venus and as Triple P is planning to watch the full length version of Caligula (1980) with his friend A then she suggested a Roman orgy theme.  




We will start with a series of engravings done for Pictures of the Private Lives of the Roman Caesars published in 1740.  While not, perhaps representing full on orgies they do include some scenes of group sex and nudity at banquets.  We will look at the thorny question as to whether ancient Rome really did feature orgies another time but for now we will pick out a number or orgiastic pictures from this publication.  In discussing it with A she maintained that a threesome cannot be an orgy (as there were a number of such among these illustrations) and we would also, maintain that there needs to be more than four participants, otherwise you just have two couples.




The traditional view of an orgy is of group of Romans lolling around on their couches (we suspect the image of orgies wouldn't have been so powerful if they sat at chairs for meals) decadently munching grapes and swigging wine.  Given the possible origin of orgies as Bacchanalian rites this is reasonable.  We would venture that a group of people standing up and embracing, with no food or wine visible, doesn't constitute an orgy, despite the chap in the foreground obviously finding it quite exciting.




At least in this one we have got what could be a wine jug, except, of course wine would have probably been served in an amphora, but perhaps posh Romans decanted their Falernian to let it breathe.  There doesn't appear to be enough women to go around here, hence, alternatives have to be sought.



Here, at least, we have naked slave girls bringing wine and food.  This is much more like it but with only one man, other than the pipe player, many of the girls are going to be disappointed.




Only one man here too (presumably a lucky Caesar) but the large couch offers plenty of room to manoeuvre.  This feels more like a lunch party I went to at one of S's friends.




Finally, with more food being brought, a dancing girl and a couple of other men enjoying the ladies we are starting to get a better feel for it.

More, orgies soon.

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