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The escorting profession has been around since the dawn of civilization and it is widely considered to be the oldest profession known to (wo)man. However, what is considered escorting these days is much different from what it was originally, and today's escorts have taken on a completely new role; much different from the role they played in ancient times.
Escorts in Ancient Time
History books are littered with references to escorts and courtesans. The first known evidence of escorting can be found in ancient Mesopotamia, in the Middle East. The ancient peoples living there had many shrines and temples and referred to them as “houses of heaven” where courtesans were often found.
The Ancient Greeks were the first people to document both male and female escorts. Many female escorts were independent and in some cases played important roles in Greek Society. Escorts were required to wear distinctive dresses and paid taxes on their earnings like any other profession. Documents show that Greek escorts were greatly desired around the world for their beauty and that some charged astonishing prices for their services.
The Romans embraced escorting, which was licensed, socially accepted, and very widespread throughout the empire with evidence that some brothels were government run. While it was perfectly acceptable for Roman citizens to hire escorts, working as an escort was often considered a shameful profession.
During the middle ages, escorting and harlotry were at an all time high. Nearly every city and medium sized town had one or more brothels where the wealthy could go to drink and spend time with women. Many times a king would send his squires out to the local brothel to hire courtesans to entertain a noble guest.
While some medieval churches frowned on this type of behavior, others licensed holy brothels of their own. During the Catholic Church’s main years of power, special badges were required to identify women as courtesans with the wealthier escorts able to skirt this law by dressing as noble women.
Due to mass outbreaks of syphilis in the 1400s and early 1500s, the escorting industry experienced a dramatic decline. The church began refusing service to women who were actively engaged in such activities in an attempt to discourage the remaining escorts.
As European influence continued to spread, so did the need for escorts. It was common for British soldiers to hire escorts in ports they controlled, especially India. New laws were passed that required escorts to visit doctors regularly for medical checkups, and in some countries government sanctioned brothels were the only form of escorting allowed.
Famous Escorts in History
With thousands of years of history behind it, there are hundreds of famous men and women that have helped make escorting into what it is today. Here are just a few of the most famous escorts in ancient history:
Theodora lived in Constantinople around the year 500BC. She started out in a brothel before her talents were quickly stepping up her talents and becoming an actress. As an actress, Theodora would delight crowds with strange sexual shows with wild after parties. Eventually, she became a personal escort to the rich and powerful until she met Justinian, heir to the Byzantine Empire. They married, and just a few years after her death, she was anointed a saint.
Phyrne was a famous hetaira (courtesan) considered to be one of the most beautiful women in all of Ancient Greece. Men threw money and gifts at her to attract her attention. When on trial accused of impiety, her lawyer, one of her lovers, failed to adequately defend her. Fearing a guilty verdict she removed her robes before the judges, who found themselves unable to condemn the beauty of Aphrodite to death. She was acquitted and immediately returned to her profession as Greece’s most popular courtesan.
Known as Little Su, Su Xiaoxiao was a 5th century Chinese escort who was well known for her intellectual ability and raw beauty. Little Su did not wish to become a mistress of the rich and powerful and instead chose to share her beauty with common people. She died at a young age due to illness but her reputation and legacy live on even today. Her tomb was recently rebuilt in 2004 and Little Su has been responsible for inspiring many Chinese artists and writers.
Thais was a Greek hetaera who lived during the conquest of Alexander the Great, and was famously responsible for burning down Persepolis by simply giving a speech. While she originally started out as a courtesan it is believed she eventually married a lover named Ptolemy, the man who became the King of Egypt.
Escorts in Modern Times
The modern day escort has evolved into a completely different industry. Today's escort focuses on providing quality companionship to discerning gentlemen, both publicly and privately. From the businessman who needs a dinner companion for that important work meeting to the lonely gentleman who just wants to spend some quality quiet time with a lovely woman, today's escort clientele is a wide ranging selection of modern society.