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Spintria (Latin: spintria, also known as a bordel stamp) is a small Roman silver or bronze coin — shaped token depicting sexual acts or symbols. In Russian numismatics, this term is sometimes applied to any ancient tokens and coins with an erotic plot.

Spintria found in Pompeii. 1st century AD

Most of the spintrias are minted from bronze and carry an erotic plot. As a rule, this is an image of people in various poses at the time of sexual intercourse, a naked man, a winged phallus, and animals copulating. The most common plot is the sexual act of a man and a woman. On the reverse side of the token, there are usually various Roman numerals (from I to XX), the value of which is not exactly established.

There were similar products made of other materials. Several such terra cotta and bone products were found during the excavations of Pompeii. In general, various tokens were quite widely used in Rome as entrance tickets to spectacles, lottery tickets, etc.

Despite the generally accepted version of the use of these tokens as a means of payment in brothels, it is also hypothesized that spintris were used as playing tokens, and may also have been issued in the time of Tiberius to discredit the imperial power. In Suetonius, the word spintrii also refers to bisexuals, whose infatuation was attributed to Tiberius in Capri. Suetonius also reports that Caligula exiled them from Rome and Italy, and that Aulus Vitellius received the infamous nickname "Spintria".: "He spent his childhood and early youth in Capri, among the favourites of the Emperor Tiberius, and retained for the rest of his life the infamous nickname of Spintria; it was even thought that the beauty of his face was the cause and beginning of his father's rise." (Suetonius. Vitellius,3: 3)

Related topics

Erotica and sex in Ancient Rome, Women in Ancient Rome, Men's clothing in Ancient Rome, Hetaera

Spintria from the British Museum. 1-2 century AD