Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Thessaloniki Brothel Volume 51 Number 3, May/June 1998
by Yannis N. Stavrakakis

Excavations at the ancient agora in downtown Thessaloniki have yielded a complex of buildings believed to include a bordello, baths, and a taverna dating to the first-century B.C. While brothels have been found associated with baths and taverns at Ephesos and Delos, this is the first time such a discovery has been made in northern Greece. Polyxeni Veleni of the Museum of Thessaloniki has identified a circular bathhouse measuring nearly 25 feet in diameter, at the center of which was a sauna. The chamber held as many as 25 separate baths. Adjacent to this room were two pools for hot and cold water and a rectangular hall. Several artifacts found in the hall--a red vessel with a phallic spout, a clay dildo, and an embossed glass vessel depicting Aphrodite--indicate it was probably a brothel. A door connected the bath and brothel so patrons could enjoy both. Dining was offered in a taverna on a level below. Veleni believes the complex was part of a larger building, probably a gymnasium.

© 1998 by the Archaeological Institute of America