The 4 Strangest Things Nobody Tells You About Life in China 5 Slapstick Failures by Modern Military Commanders 5 Things I Learned as an Anonymous TSA Blogger

5 Whores Who Changed The Course of History

For most of us, performing sexual favors in some dark alley for grocery money is about as low as life can get. But history is full of stories of prostitutes who parlayed their skills into positions of prestige and power.

And some of them changed the world.

#5.
Rahab the Harlot

Where:

Jericho.

When:

1400s B.C.

How She Got Her Start?

Rahab probably came from a middle-class family in Jericho. She was an intelligent, independent-minded woman, and in those days there was only one profession for a girl like her to go into. A married woman was a slave to her husband, but a prostitute lived her own life and made her own decisions. As a scarlet woman, Rahab had freedom.


The cost of freedom, circa 1400 BC.

By all accounts, she was good at it, too. By the time she comes up in the Bible, she had her own house and made a comfortable income. Comfortable enough that she began to long for a career that didn't involve, at best, being fisted by middle-aged men who bathed once a year.

What Made Her Great?

Back in 1422 B.C., the Israelites were living on a barren tract of land appropriately named, Shittim. Joshua, king of the Jews, didn't really like living in a place that reminded him of his own bowel movements, so he set his sights on the city of Jericho.


Better than Shittim.

Joshua sent out two spies to scout out the defenses. The young Jews did their job and then sought "refuge" at Rahab's place. The Bible doesn't state why they chose to stay there, but it's pretty obvious Joshua's spies were "scouting out the defenses" for a "full frontal assault."

Their sweaty reconnaissance was cut short, however, when the king of Jericho sent his men out to look for the two Jewish spies skulking around his city. Rahab hid the young men, and convinced the king's soldiers that the spies were hiding elsewhere. Because of Rahab's kindness, Joshua's spies survived and were able to bring back crucial information that lead to the conquest of Jericho by the armies of Israel.

That's right; believe what you want about the Bible, but it's right there in the Old Testament that the course of world history was turned by a hooker with a heart of gold.

#4.
Aspasia

Where:

Athens.

When:

470 B.C.-400 B.C.

How She Got Her Start?

Like a lot of whores, Aspasia was born into a bad situation. She was a foreigner in Athens, which meant she had close to nothing in the way of civil rights and would almost certainly never marry.

The only area of Athenian society that was more open for women than men was in Athens' legendary brothels. Prostitution was neither illegal, or frowned upon in Athenian society. Both men and women could be whores, although men had to quit when they became adults. Yes, in Athens they'd only bust you if your clients weren't pedophiles.

Aspasia took advantage of this and became a hetaera, or really high class hooker. Hetaerae were generally well-educated and, under law, they were independent from any men, and were even allowed to pay taxes and own property. In short order, the beautiful Aspasia was at the top of the hooker hierarchy and renowned through all of Athens.

What Made Her Great?

Aspasia knew she was hot, and she knew how to use that beauty to get what she wanted. Soon, she began to court Pericles, the First Man in Athens (that is, a famous statesman and orator--kind of a mix between Obama and Oprah).

She and her husband became the center of a great group of philosophers and thinkers from all across the city. She not only knew Socrates, but many credit her with being one of his teachers. Some scholars even suggest she had a hand in the origins of the Socratic method though, for some reason, they left that one out of our philosophy textbooks.

#3.
Nell Gwynn

Where:

London, England.

When:

1650-1687.

How She Got Her Start:

The same way most of us did: giving handjobs to aristocrats in the back of a theater. Nell Gwynn was the daughter of an alcoholic brothel owner in dire financial straits. She started working at an early age, selling snacks during plays and delivering messages to randy young noblemen. Most historians seem to agree that the girls often ended up delivering more than refreshments.

One lucky day, when Nell was a young adult, she met King Charles II during a play. The king was impressed with the young harlot's wit and moxie, and invited her back to the castle. One thing lead to another, and pretty soon Nell Gwynn was a regular attendee of the king's court (by "court," we mean his penis).

Unfortunately for Nell, King Charles was a bit of a player. At the time the two met, the king had a wife, a mistress and a string of former and aspiring mistresses all vying for his attention. Nell was clever, though, and by a combination of wit, charm and poisoning her rivals with laxatives, she managed to become the king's most beloved concubine.

What Made Her Great?

Nell Gwynn never denied her past, nor did she seem the least bit guilty over it. At one point, a fight broke out when one of her detractors screamed that she was a whore. Nell broke the fight up in short order by saying, "I am a whore. Find something else to fight about."

This wasn't the first time Nell had admitted her ho'ness in front of a massive crowd of strangers. Another time, a large crowd mistook her for a rival mistress, the Duchess of Portsmouth, and began to shout at her carriage, calling her a Catholic whore along with a laundry list of funny-sounding British insults that no one born in a sane country could understand.


You gobshite tallywacker!

Nell stuck her head out of the carriage and corrected the mistaken commoners, "Good people, you are mistaken. I am the Protestant whore."

This mixture of wit and bigotry won the crowd over, and lead to her becoming the only one of King Charles's many mistresses to become popular with the mob. Nell was a shrewd woman, and she used her favor with the king and the people of England to secure her son a dukedom, and convince Charles to approve the construction of a Royal Hospital for ex-servicemen in the city of London, one of the precursors to our modern VA Hospitals.


Thanks, terrifying ceramic version of Nell with an amazing rack!

So, yeah, keep that in mind the next time you're congratulating yourself for never having touched a man's wiener for money.

  • Random

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

564 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!