When in Ephesus…
On our way out from Ephesus, our guide drew our attention to an early form of advertising…by the world’s oldest profession.
On the pavement, near the corner of the main street running from the port was a paving stone which had carved into it the shape of a heart, the shape of a foot and an etching of a pretty woman.
Our guide intoned that these symbols indicated that a lonely person (symbolised by the heart) should walk in this direction (symbolised by the foot) in order to find the brothel (symbolised by the pretty woman).
Next to these shapes was a hole which we were told represented the size of the coin one required to purchase the services of the woman.
To my mind, the advertisement was open to mis-interpretation! Imagine Maximus and Minimus visiting Ephesus from Pompeii…
MAXIMUS: So, here we are in Ephesus. Who woulda thought ‘eh? So what shall we do? I can see the amphitheatre straight ahead? Wanna see a show? Or we can go to the library and see if they have any Herodotus we can read. There’s the library over there. Or maybe we can have a bath first…
MINIMUS: Holy Apollo, Maximus! Did you see how white that geezer’s toga is? Must have a big camel population in Ephesus!
MAX: I still can’t believe you took credit for that! Camel urine was my idea, but you got all the glory….
MIN: Not to mention a week’s free entry to the bath house!
MAX: Anyway! What’ya wanna do? Amphitheatre or the library? I’m an arts lover, Minimus. I’m a lover of the arts. I want to dedicate my life to immersing myself in items of artistic merit…
MIN: …And camel urine!
MAX: Would you shut up about the camel urine! Look, we had a job to do. Political candidates are people of the purest integrity and the only way they can proclaim their purity is to wash all their clothes in urine.
MIN: Do you have any idea how silly you sound when you say that?
MAX: Whatever! Okay, amphitheatre or the library?
MIN: I thought I might visit the brothel! I hear they’ve got a good one here.
MAX: What! We just got here!
MIN: You know what they say… When in Rome, do as the Romans so; when in Venice do as the Venison do; and when in Ephesus, do as the ephin’…do as the ephin’…do as the people from Ephesus do!
MAX: You’re unbelievable! Where you gonna find a brothel anyway?
MIN: Right down this road. See this sign on the pavement? That tells us that the brothel is this way? I’m a sucker for good advertising Maximus!
MAX: What are you talking about? All the sign says is that women with big feet have a good heart. Or maybe that the way to a woman’s heart is through her feet…
MIN: What, are you nuts? Have you ever known a woman with big feet to have a good heart? Women with big feet are cheeky! Independent studies show that a woman’s cheekiness quotient increases in direct proportion to the size of her feet. Never go near a big footed woman, Maximus, I’m telling ya right now!
MAX: Her feet ain’t that big…
MIN: What, are you kidding me? The foot is drawn to be bigger than her head! Nasty, man, nasty…
MAX: Wait, wait, wait… We’ve got this all wrong. The sign is telling us a woman who eats the heart of a camel will be able to make a great journey by foot.
MIN: Mmm.. Makes sense. With two humps and all, those camels can walk a long way…
MAX: Somebody is just trying to sell camel hearts.
MIN: Wanna try one?
MAX: Sure, let’s go!