1. bookVolume 11 (2017): Issue 1 (October 2017)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2183-3311
First Published
15 Dec 2016
Publication timeframe
1 time per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Stranger Games: The life and times of the spintriae

Published Online: 21 Oct 2017
Volume & Issue: Volume 11 (2017) - Issue 1 (October 2017)
Page range: 101 - 121
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2183-3311
First Published
15 Dec 2016
Publication timeframe
1 time per year
Languages
English
Abstract

In 2010 a Roman token was discovered in the mud of the Thames near Putney Bridge in London. When the token was discovered to have an erotic image on one side and a Roman numeral on the other, and was identified in a Museum of London press release as a rare Roman “brothel token”, the press reported on the story in the expected manner, for example: “A Roman coin that was probably used by soldiers to pay for sex in brothels has been discovered on the banks of the River Thames” (Daily Telegraph, 4 Jan 2012) and “Bronze discs depicting sex acts, like the one discovered in London, were used to hire prostitutes-and directly led to the birth of pornography during the Renaissance” (The Guardian, 4 Jan 2012). Even before this particular spate of media interest, these curious tokens have generated confusion, speculation and prurience-often simultaneously. They are of interest to games scholars because the speculation often includes the suggestion these objects may have had a ludic function, and were used as game counters. This paper will look at some of the proposals that have been offered by way of explanation of these peculiar objects.

Banerji, R. (2013). “Unlocking the Scrolls of Heculaneum”. In: BBC News Magazine. [Online; posted 20 December 2013]. url: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25106956. Search in Google Scholar

Barford, P. (2012). “Brothel Token from London?” In: Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues. [Blog Post] Jan 6 [available online]. url: http://paul-barford.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/brothel-tokenfrom-london.html. Search in Google Scholar

Beard, M. (n.d.). “A Don’s life: A Roman brothel token?” In: Times Literary Supplement. [Blog Post] Jan 5 [available online]. url: http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/2012/01/a-roman-brotheltoken.html. Search in Google Scholar

Buttrey, T. (1973). “The ”Spintriae” as a Historical Source”. In: The Numismatic Chronicle 13, pp. 52-63. url: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42664663. Search in Google Scholar

Campana, A. (2009). “Le spintriae: tessere Romane con raffigurazione erotiche”. In: La donna romana: immagini e vita quotidiana : atti del convegno : Atina, 7 marzo 2009. Historia (Centro di studi storici Saturnia). Diana, pp. 43-96. url: https://books.google.pt/books?id=7CcoAQAAIAAJ.- (2013). “Les spintriae et leur possible function ludique”. In: Archéothéma 31, p. 66. Search in Google Scholar

Champlin, E. (2011). “Sex on Capri”. In: Transactions of the American Philological Association 141.2, pp. 315-332. url: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41289747. 10.1353/apa.2011.0009Search in Google Scholar

Clarke, J. (1998). Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 B.C. - A.D. 250. pt. 250. University of California Press. url: https://books.google.pt/books?id=bwNdgd8cQcgC. Classical Numismatic Group in association with Numismatica Ars Classica. Auction 40 (Dec. 4, 1996). url: https://issuu.com/cngcoins/docs/cng_40.Search in Google Scholar

Creed, K. (2011). “ON-E98F21: A Roman Token”. In: Portable Antiquities Scheme. url: https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/455487. - (2012). “Roman spintria from the banks of the Thames”. In: Portable Antiquities Scheme. [Blog post] 6 January. url: https://finds.org.uk/news/story/227.Search in Google Scholar

Fehauler, M. (2016). In: url: https://www.uni-muenster.de/imperia/md/content/archaeologie/tesserae_i-xi_mai_2016_.pdf. Search in Google Scholar

Fishburn, G. (2007). “Is that A Spintria In your Pocket or Are You Just Pleased to See Me?” In: Regarding the Past: Proceedings of the 20th Conference of the History of Economic Thought Society of Australia. Ed. by P. Earl and B. Littleboy. University of Queensland, pp. 225-236.Search in Google Scholar

Gascoigne, B. (n.d.). “The Family Life of the Caesars”. In: History World. url: http://bit.ly/22FFlBF. Search in Google Scholar

Jacobelli, L. (1995). Le pitture erotiche delle Terme Suburban di Pompeii. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider. Search in Google Scholar

Jones, J. (Jan. 4, 2012). “Porn yesterday: Roman brothel tokens and the rise of erotic art”. In: The Guardian. url: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/jan/04/porn-romanbrothel- tokens-erotic-art. Search in Google Scholar

Museum of London (2012). Roman brothel token discovered on Thames foreshore.Press release, Jan. 5. url: http://bit.ly/2x9juvq.Search in Google Scholar

Pavlos S. Pavlou (n.d.). url: https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/pavlos_s_pavlou_numismatist/131/product/roman16th_to_17th_cent_ad_copy_of_aespintriaeerotic_sceneretrograde__roman_numerals_vii/222124/Default.aspx.“ Search in Google Scholar

Roman brothel token discovered in Thames” (Jan. 4, 2012). In: The Daily Telegraph. url: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/8991212/Roman-brothel-token-discovered-in-Thames.html.Search in Google Scholar

Rowan, C. (2015). “Ain’t talkin’ ‘bout love. Roman “Spintriae” in context”. In: Coins at Warwick. August 1. [Blog post]. url: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/numismatics/entry/aint_talkin_bout.Search in Google Scholar

Simonetta, B. and R. Riva (1981). Le Tessere erotiche romane (spintriae): quando ed a che scopo sono state coniate. Gaggini-Bizzozero. url: https://books.google.pt/books?id=u9VcMQAACAAJ. - (1984). “Nuovo contributo alla nostre conoscenze sulla ‘spintriae’”. In: Schweizer Münzblätter 136, pp. 88-92.Search in Google Scholar

Suetonius (1958). The Twelve Caesars. Translated by Robert Graves.Search in Google Scholar

Talvacchia, B. (1999). Taking Positions: On the Erotic in Renaissance Culture. Princeton University Press. url: https://books.google.pt/books?id=s3%5C_-Qd8KvbsC. Search in Google Scholar

Venning, A. (Jan. 6, 2012). “After an explicit coin used to pay for pleasure is found in the Thames, the X-rated story of the Roman sex slaves of Britain”. In: Daily Mail. url: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083295/Explicit-coin-Thames-X-rated-story-Romansex-slaves-Britain.html.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo