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Table of contents
PREFACE
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.1
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.2
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.3
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.4
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.5
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.1
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.2
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.3
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.4
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.5
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.6
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.7
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.8
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.9
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.10
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.11
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.1
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.2
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.3
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.4
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.1
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.2
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.3
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.4
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.1
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.2
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.3
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.4
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.5
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.6
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.1
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.2
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.3
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.4
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.5
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.6
PROSTITUTION-7.1
PROSTITUTION-7.2
PROSTITUTION-7.3
PROSTITUTION-7.4
PROSTITUTION-7.5
PROSTITUTION-7.6
PROSTITUTION-7.7
PROSTITUTION-7.8
PROSTITUTION-7.9
PROSTITUTION-7.10
PROSTITUTION-7.11
PROSTITUTION-7.12
PROSTITUTION-7.13
PROSTITUTION-7.14
PROSTITUTION-7.15
FOOTNOTES-1
FOOTNOTES-2

this time to be applied to a superior prostitute observing a certain 

degree of decorum and restraint.[155] In the papal court of Alexander 

Borgia the courtesan flourished even when her conduct was not altogether 

dignified. Burchard, the faithful and unimpeachable chronicler of this 

court, describes in his diary how, one evening, in October, 1501, the Pope 

sent for fifty courtesans to be brought to his chamber; after supper, in 

the presence of Caesar Borgia and his young sister Lucrezia, they danced 

with the servitors and others who were present, at first clothed, 

afterwards naked. The candlesticks with lighted candles were then placed 

upon the floor and chestnuts thrown among them, to be gathered by the 

women crawling between the candlesticks on their hands and feet. Finally a 

number of prizes were brought forth to be awarded to those men "qui 

pluries dictos meretrices carnaliter agnoscerent," the victor in the 

contest being decided according to the judgment of the spectators.[156] 

This scene, enacted publicly in the Apostolic palace and serenely set 

forth by the impartial secretary, is at once a notable episode in the 

history of modern prostitution and one of the most illuminating 

illustrations we possess of the paganism of the Renaissance. 

 

Before the term "courtesan" came into repute, prostitutes were 

even in Italy commonly called "sinners," _peccatrice_. The 

change, Graf remarks in a very interesting study of the 

Renaissance prostitute ("Una Cortigiana fra Mille," _Attraverso 

il Cinquecento_, pp. 217-351), "reveals a profound alteration in 

ideas and in life;" a term that suggested infamy gave place to 

one that suggested approval, and even honor, for the courts of 

the Renaissance period represented the finest culture of the 

time. The best of these courtesans seem to have been not 

altogether unworthy of the honor they received. We can detect 

this in their letters. There is a chapter on the letters of 

Renaissance prostitutes, especially those of Camilla de Pisa 

which are marked by genuine passion, in Lothar Schmidt's 

_Frauenbriefe der Renaissance_. The famous Imperia, called by a 

Pope in the early years of the sixteenth century "nobilissimum 

Romae scortum," knew Latin and could write Italian verse. Other 

courtesans knew Italian and Latin poetry by heart, while they 

were accomplished in music, dancing, and speech. We are reminded 

of ancient Greece, and Graf, discussing how far the Renaissance 

courtesans resembled the hetairae, finds a very considerable 

likeness, especially in culture and influence, though with some 

differences due to the antagonism between religion and 

prostitution at the later period. 

 

The most distinguished figure in every respect among the 

courtesans of that time was certainly Tullia D'Aragona. She was 

probably the daughter of Cardinal D'Aragona (an illegitimate 

scion of the Spanish royal family) by a Ferrarese courtesan who 

became his mistress. Tullia has gained a high reputation by her 

verse. Her best sonnet is addressed to a youth of twenty, whom 

she passionately loved, but who did not return her love. Her 

_Guerrino Meschino_, a translation from the Spanish, is a very 

pure and chaste work. She was a woman of refined instincts and 

aspirations, and once at least she abandoned her life of 

prostitution. She was held in high esteem and respect. When, in 

1546, Cosimo, Duke of Florence, ordered all prostitutes to wear a 

yellow veil or handkerchief as a public badge of their 

profession, Tullia appealed to the Duchess, a Spanish lady of 


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