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Ancient Pompeii brothel reopens



Published: Fri, October 27, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



POMPEII, Italy (AP) -- It was the jewel of Pompeii's libertines: a brothel decorated with frescoes of erotic figures believed to be the most popular in the ancient Roman city.

The Lupanare -- which derives its name from the Latin word lupa, or "prostitute" -- was presented to the public again Thursday after a yearlong, 253,000 restoration to clean up its frescoes and fix the structure.

Pompeii was destroyed in A.D. 79 by a cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius that killed thousands of people -- and buried the city in 20 feet of volcanic ash, preserving Pompeii for 1,600 years and providing precious information on what life was like in the ancient world.

Among the buildings was the two-story brothel with 10 rooms -- five on each floor -- and a latrine. Each room on the ground floor bears a fresco of a different sex scene painted over its door -- possibly suggesting the prostitute's specialty.

The upper floor was for higher-ranking clients. The stone beds were covered with mattresses and each room has names engraved in its walls -- possibly those of the prostitutes and their clients.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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