If the Ancient Romans knew how to do anything, it was party. When they weren't busy inventing the aqueduct, concrete, or the basis for the modern calendar, they were discovering new and exciting ways to have fun, sexy times. Sure, every emperor, senator, and nobleman under the sun promoted family values... but when that sun set ancient Rome had the kind of sex that would make the cast of Game of Thrones blush.
While the Romans probably weren't the first in history to push the sexual envelope, they were some of the first to keep records. Regular talk of affairs, orgies, incest, and sexual contests spun around the rumor mill for centuries. Of course, the Romans weren't above tabloid-level journalism. It's no coincidence that the most perverted rumors were about the most hated emperors... but what's a scandal without some exaggeration?
It wasn't all fun and games, though. Since most of these Roman sex scandals happened to the emperors, that meant most of them ended in either bloody political coups or executions. After all... it's good to be the king as long as people let you stay in power.
So, as crazy as you think Donald Trump and Washington scandals seem... some of the ancient Rome sex scandals on this list may make you appreciate just how far politicians have come over the last two thousand years.
An Empress Had a Sex-Off with a Famous Prostitute (And Won)
Valeria Messalina, the third wife of Emperor Claudius and mother of his son, was an epic nymphomaniac. Just for fun, she bet the best Roman hooker in the business that she could sleep with more men in one day than said lady of the night. Messalina came out on top, bedding 25 men.
Cleopatra Had a Love Child with Caesar and Paraded It Around Rome
Julius Caesar not only started the reign of Roman emperors, he was one of their finest playboys. Despite his marriage to Calpurnia, he took many mistresses including the famous Cleopatra. When Caesar invited her to Rome, Cleopatra brought their baby and showed him off to everyone... including to Calpurnia.
So what's a player to do? He gave the kid his name and drafted up a law saying he could marry as many women as he wanted.
Caligula Went to a Wedding and Left with the Bride
So, poor Gaius Piso is getting married. When Caligula shows up to the banquet, Gaius tells the emperor not to touch his wife. So, naturally, Caligula steals her, marries her, then banishes her to an island where she was forbidden to have sex ever again. Moral of the story? Don't tell Caligula he can't do something.
Caligula Slept With Guests' Wives And Then Bragged About How They'd Gotten Down
Because his Friday nights just didn't have enough debauchery in them, Caligula had married couples over for dinner parties. If a certain wife struck his fancy, he'd take them back to his bed chambers only to return later and tell their husbands everything that went down. If that wasn't enough for him, he'd file a bill of divorce for the unhappy couple, just because he could.