previous next

And among the Tyrrhenians, who carry their luxury to an extraordinary pitch, Timæus, in his first book, relates that the female servants wait on the men in a state of nudity. And Theopompus, in the forty-third book of his History, states, “that it is a law among the Tyrrhenians that all their women should be in common: and that the women pay the greatest attention to their persons, and often practise gymnastic exercises, naked, among the men, and sometimes with one another; for that it is not accounted shameful for them to be seen naked. And that they sup not with their own husbands, but with any one who happens to be present; and they pledge whoever they please in their cups: and that they are wonderful women to drink, and very and some. And that the Tyrrhenians bring up all the children that are born, no one knowing to what father each child belongs: and the children, too, live in the same manner as those who have brought them up, having feasts very frequently, ad being intimate with all the women. Nor is it reckoned among the Tyrrhenians at all disgraceful either to do or suffer anything [p. 830] in the open air, or to be seen while it is going on; for it is quite the custom of their country: and they are so far from thinking it disgraceful, that they even say, when the master of the house is indulging his appetites, and any one asks for him, that he is doing so and so, using the coarsest possible words for his occupation. But when they are together in parties of companions or relations, they act in the following manner. First of all, when they have stopped drinking, and are about to go to sleep, while the lights are still burning, the servants introduce sometimes courtesans, and sometimes beautiful boys, and sometimes women; and when they have enjoyed them, they proceed to acts of still grosser licentiousness: and they indulge their appetites, and make parties on purpose, sometimes keeping one another in sight, but more frequently making tents around the beds, which are made of plaited laths, with cloths thrown over them. And the objects of their love are usually women; still they are not invariably as particular as they might be; and they are very beautiful, as is natural for people to be who live delicately, and who take great care of their persons.”

And all the barbarians who live towards the west, smooth their bodies by rubbing them with pitch, and by shaving them; and among the Tyrrhenians there are many shops in which this trade is practised, and many artists whose sole employment it is, just as there are barbers among us. And when the Tyrrhenians go to these men, they give themselves wholly up to them, not being ashamed of having spectators, or of those who may be passing by. And many of the Greeks, and of those who inhabit Italy, adopt this practice, having learnt it from the Samnites and Messapians. But the Tyrrhenians (as Alcimus relates) are so far gone in luxury, that they even make bread, and box, and flog people to the sound of the flute.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Kaibel)
load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: