8. Erotic Clay Plaques
Babylon was considered unusually sexually open, even by the standards of ancient kingdoms. According to the historian Jean Bottero, people would have sex out in the open—sometimes on the terrace of their homes and sometimes even on the streets.
We know for sure that they passed out around little terracotta plates that showed people in the act, like ancient issues of Playboy. There is a whole Kamasutra-like range of techniques displayed on these things. There was no taboo on them—they were everywhere. Archaeologists have found them in homes, in temples, and even buried with the dead in their graves.
It’s easy to imagine how uncomfortable the Israelites, who give us much of our understanding of Babylon today, must have been when they walked through Babylon. In ancient Israel, sexual art was few and far between. To them, Babylon’s sexuality made it a depraved place.