Old Brothels

A brothel, also known as a bordello or whorehouse, is an establishment specifically dedicated to prostitution, providing the prostitutes a place to meet and to have sex with the clients. In some places, licensed brothels are legal , and in many countries, places such as massage parlors are allowed to function as brothels, with varying degrees of regulation and repression. Depending on zoning, brothels may be confined to special red-light districts.

The word brothel is from Middle English, and stems from ‘brothen’, the past participle of ‘brethen’, meaning ‘to waste away’ or ‘to go to ruin’, showing the low regard brothels and prostitution have been held in throughout much of history.

Other (older) names for brothel are ‘cathouse’, ‘bawdyhouse’, ‘house of ill repute’, ‘house of prostitution’, ‘knocking shop’, ‘pleasure house’ or ‘sporting house’.
Brothels have been known for most of recorded history. Early incidences include temple prostitution in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. By the time of the ancient Grecian and Roman civilizations, brothels were established and sometimes licensed institutions, with the latter first being recorded in Athens in 594 BC.
This first official brothel was soon followed by many others, and also influenced the creation of special schools in which various classes of prostitutes (from slavegirls to future courtesans) were trained for their profession.


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