From Spanking Art

The term Empire comes from the latin word Imperium. There are many different definitions of an empire, but a commonality is an extensive collection of states and peoples (or often, ethnic groups) controlled by one nation-state.

Notable Empires[edit]

There have been many notable empires in history, many of which have either exported their methods of control through disciplinary and corporal punishments or have integrated those of subject nations domestically.

Slavery is a common tool used both for control, and to further the requirements of the ruling nation-states which is a frequently used setting for stories and art. Many contemporary BDSM scenarios involve Egyptian or Roman themes.

Worker being punished, from the tomb of Menna.
A taxpayer is subjected to corporal punishment. From a picture on the tomb of Khîti at Beni Hasan.

Egyptian Empire[edit]

3100 BC to 30 BC Approx
Main article: Egypt

The existence of Spanking as it is known now in Ancient Eygpt is unprovable, all historical data points towards implements similar to rods and canes being used for corporal punishments such as in the images to the right.

Eygpt possessed a large slave-dependent economy and as such was likely to use methods of harsh discipline. It is known that punishments handed down to free citizens by the judiciary could include collective punishment of entire families. Corporal punishment of males in ancient Eygpt is well documented, whereas what little evidence exists regarding the punishment of females seems to indicate they were not subject to beatings.

Wall painting from Tomba della Fustigazione, Italy.

Ancient Rome[edit]

753BC to 476 AD Approx

Far more is known about the practices and discipline of the Romans. Their time of empire can be considered in three periods - the Kingdom, the Republic and the Empire.

The later Byzantine Roman 'empire' is considered more as a collection of city-states, and is certainly a period after which the Romans ceased to be a world power.

Also large keepers of slaves, with an economy and agriculture base dependent on slavery, harsh discipline and severe punishments were required to keep order and obedience. Roman men and households were well documented in keeping female slaves and housegirls under their ownership. There were specific punishments for various transgressions - including running away. At different times over the course of the Roman Empire various bills of rights were passed for the protection of slaves which included them in the judicial system and outlawed their murder. However, this does not exclude the use of corporal punishment against them and flogging was a common penalty.

In particular there is a description of a punishment common amongst Roman women and mistresses of the house against their hand-maidens which involved piercing the skin or even the nipple with a silvered knitting needle. In contemporary times this has resurfaced in BDSM culture as a punishment and act of dominance. To enforce a piercing on a submissive is seen as a powerful symbol.

In schools, students in Roman education were frequently whipped for failing to memorise answers to questions.

British Empire[edit]

"The Empire on which the sun never sets"
  — Unattributed.

See Also[edit]