Queen Giovanna of Naples Opened a Holy Brothel
Joan I (1328 12 May 1382), born Joanna of Anjou, was Queen of Naples from 1343 until her death. Joan was forced for a period to flee to Avignon. On 8 August 1347 she opened a large brothel in Avignon called the "Abbey". It was regulated by strict rules after the model of religious houses, and none but good Christians were admitted.
The notion of "holy brothels" was introduced supposedly in an effort to maintain control of prostitution. The Abbey was run according to very rigorous rules, and the women who were employed there lived in conditions similar to those in convents. In addition, they received regular medical checks, and pregnant women were cared for until their confinement. She later sold all the property in Avignon to Pope Clement VI, effectively ending the prostitution trade in Avignon.
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