I try to explain something about this issue, hopin my english will be not too rough The secret cabinet, rooms 62 and 63 of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
“Secret Cabinet” is the name that the Bourbon kings gave to the private rooms (which "had
allowed entry only for people of mature age and respected morals") in which were collected the erotic and sexual finds came to light in the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Over the centuries, the collection
has been called the "Cabinet of the reserved objects" or "obscene" or "pornographic". After the Revolution of 1848 the S.C. became a symbol of civil liberties and expression, thus becoming censored, because it was considered politically dangerous. It was even proposed to destroy the objects (as "monuments of the infamous gentilician license" and "lascivissimi") in order to safeguard the good
reputation of the Royal House, but the director of the Royal Bourbon Museum was able to get that collection
was closed to visitors: in fact the entrance door was provided with three locks with three different keys in the hands
of three different persons: one himself, one the “controloro”, and one to the Royal House.
The culmination of censorship occurred in 1851, when the collection
was finally sealed by walling the doors.
When, in September 1860, Garibaldi (national hero unifying the nation) arrived in Naples, he immediately gave the order to make available the S.C. to the public. Of the three keys, not finding the one that came to the Royal House, Garibaldi did not hesitate - despite the general bewilderment – to command to "break open the door" (the original document that verbalizes the event is displayed in a glass
case at the entrance of the collection
). Over the following decades, the freedom given back by Garibaldi gradually took over the objection of the Kingdom of Italy
, this saw its peak during the Fascist period, when to visit the S.C. needed the permission of the Minister of National Education in Rome.
Censorship persisted after the war until 1967, abating only after 1971.
Completely set up again a few years ago with new criteria, the collection
was finally opened to the public in April 2000.
The Secret Cabinet and the different contents of ancient sexuality.1 – Religious contenta
- Ancient sexuality was part
of the Dionysian rites, as in the splendid Roman
sarcophagus with bacchanalian scene in relief.b
- Statue of the god Priapus, he is the god of fertility
and vegetation, he protects the borders of the fields, and used to punish fruit thieves with anal penetration (see Carmina Priapea). c
- Anatomical votive terracotta
(penises, breasts, uterus, half of IV – II BC)found in a Samnite sanctuary in Cales. After recovery from an illness people brought to the temple these objects.2 – cultural content
Many of the artifacts and paintings in the S.C. show scenes from ancient mythology
, a way to teach people the cultural roots of their own country.3- Burlesque contenta
-Small bronze statuettes of characters rendered in a caricatured look(pygmies dancing; a poet or orator, half naked; a warrior-cock) designed merely to decorate the table.b
- Ceramic bearded character, seated, with anenormous phallus, reading a roll
of papyrus, has been recognized by scholars of Judaism as a caricature of a rabbi.c
- A fresco found in an alley of Pompeii shows a donkey penetrating a lion
. The donkey is declared the winner by the Winged Victory
, which gives him the crown and the palm
. Over the appearance of caricature, in this fresco there is probably a hidden allegorical message, interpreted as the patient (the donkey) is superior to brute force (the lion
), or in a political sense, that a poor man
of the road (the donkey) can make it a service (put it in the ass) to powerfull men
and rulers.4- Commercial content
The commercial aspect is particularly apparent in the frescoes from the ancient brothels (Lupanari) [Lupo=wolf; Latin for she-wolf=prostitute].
In the Roman
brothels are found pornographic frescoes of modest artistic quality
(popular painting), which depict scenes of mates in different positions. The Romans
distinguished and indicated the different performances offered by prostitutes with the name of the goddess: “Venus
Pendula Conversa”, “Venus
On a fresco with scenes of anal penetration, there are traces of a painted inscription
: "Lente Impelle", a request from the prostitute, who invites his
clients to "gently push up".5 – Magic content
(as Syltoria wrote) we know that phalli on a stone
plaque in front of a house or as an elaborate tintinnabulum, for instance, indicate not that this was a house of ill repute but were in fact a luck charm designed to bring growth and wealth on the house.6- funerary content
The funerary aspect is given by phallic travertine stones from Etruscan tombs from the area
of Chiusi and Perugia (II - I century BC): they are commonly explained as the tombstones of male characters, of which they wanted to emphasize in particular the virility or the generative force. In reality the Etruscan names engraved
on the phallic stones are both men
than women (Lanuel-Lania-Mainath-Arnth-Uplna etc..), so perhaps they should be explained rather with a hope
of rebirth (as the earth - in which you are buried- is a powerful symbol for women's fertility
, and would not be possible to be re-born if it were missing the male element).7 – Love and pleasure contents
Finally, the private love and pleasure of couples,which is found in the private objects like plates, vases or jars, decorated with erotic scenes both heterosexual and homosexual.