Prostitution there, as in Chaldea and many other Oriental countries existing in its three formsólegal, hospitable, and religiousóso completely governed all classes of society that few, if any, escaped its penalties. The two latter forms may require a word of explanation.1 By hospitable prostitution is meant that primitive custom of putting a guest in the host's place, as a mark of honor; outdoing in this respect even the proverbial hospitality of Scotland and Ireland. Now custom required that the traveller who occupied for a night his host's bed, with "the privileges and appurtenances thereunto appertaining," should make the obliging wife a little present of some kind, in recognition of her courtesy; and, Oriental travellers at that time being as a rule always better supplied with chancres than shekels, it is easy to see how the former, particularly if the traveller made many stops by the way, should have come into a very wide circulation.
The fact is that, while in later years the Jews became noted for their sanitary cleanliness, at the time of which I write, it was difficult to find, as it always is among the Orientals, an undiseascd woman. From the East, then, the cradle of sexual vice, as well as religion, homosexuality spread to Greece, Rome, and other countries; and it seems strange that, as far as I have observed, no medical writer has hitherto given it the prominence it demands, as an avenue of escape from venereal contagion. Even Dufour, in his voluminous work on prostitution, and Ricord and Buret, in their equally valuable treatises on the diseases incident thereto, seem to have overlooked the sanitary feature of the case, in their keen search for psychological causes; and, as the hen will always reach for the grain of corn farthest away, to have gone back to the origin of civilization, and the very brain of Jove himself, for what lay right beside them.
The three most celebrated courtesans of antiquity, and possibly of the world, with all due respect to later pretensionsóAspasia, Phryne, and Laisówere all diseased; and as their fabulously high prices for sexual entertainmentóas high as five hundred dollars a nightórendered them only accessible to the very rich, and as the nobleman of Athens would not degrade himself with the common dicteriada, or ladies of the public bawdy houses instituted by Solon, who were subjected in some slight degree to sanitary supervision, the happy thought occurred to him to shift the duties of these delightful damsels to one of his own sex; and it is from that starting point that acquired homosexuality, I believe, took its rise in Greece.
1 Hospitable Prostitution was loaning the wife to an honored guest. Legal Prostitution was that carried on in the licensed bawdy houses, and Religious Prostitution was the offering of the maiden's virginity to the god, usually through the priests, but sometimes through one selected by the girl herself.