Last updated on: 8/28/2013 | Author:

1500s – Elite Renaissance Courtesans in Italy

“An aristocratic and courtly environment with limited access to aristocratic and courtly women… engendered a higher caliber of prostitute — a woman who was not only young and beautiful, but who could grace with wit and charm a dinner or an evening otherwise dominated by male clerics… [T]he courtesan flourished as an elite form of prostitute quickly copied by an increasingly aristocratic upper class throughout Italy…

The ideal was that unlike the common whore, who was available to all, the universal victim at the bottom of the hierarchy of prostitution, the ‘honest courtesan’ was an exacting mistress… who judged honestly her suitors, accepting only the best.”