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“Moral Zoning” and the Visibility of Prostitution at Pompeii

September 7, 2022 @ 7:00 pm EDT

Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106 United States

AIA Society: Cleveland

Lecturer: Sarah Levin-Richardson

Did Roman Pompeii have an equivalent of a “red-light” district, with brothels hidden out of sight and prostitutes lurking in the shadows? This talk presents evidence for the visibility both of establishments that sold sex and of those who sold sex, focusing on Pompeii’s (in)famous “purpose-built” brothel. From sight lines that allowed passersby to see directly into the brothel, to the seamless integration of the brothel into the residential and commercial fabric of the city, to the movement of prostitutes throughout the city (to fetch water, pick up clients, or return to their homes after a shift), prostitution was a visible part of the urban fabric of the ancient city. *this lecture is PG-13


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

[free] Times Literary Supplement podcast on The Brothel of Pompeii:

[free] Interview with Prof. Levin-Richardson about The Brothel of Pompeii on NOTCHES Blog:

[free] Introduction of The Brothel of Pompeii available on (login/account required): [$48.49+]

The Brothel of Pompeii on as e-book ( or print book (

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September 7, 2022
7:00 pm EDT
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Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106 United States
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