A spanking story
The schoolgirls wearily traipsed through time.
They’d begun in ancient Assyria, bright-eyed and fizzing with eagerness, gazing upward with wonder at the monumental winged bulls at the entrance to the British Museum. They are called Lamassu, their teacher explained, sixteen tons of alabaster, hewn almost three thousand years ago, and exquisitely sculpted into a fantastical creatures.
These strange beasts had been buried for millennia, as a succession of mighty empires had risen, fought and crumbled on the sands above them. Now a new empire had uncovered and claimed the statues, and its unimaginable modern magic had transported the immense monuments over land and sea to the imperial metropolis of London.
The girls continued meandering through history, passing the spooky sarcophagi and cryptic carvings of ancient Egypt. Onwards to stare at cases of the slightly more comprehensible domestic pottery of ancient Greece. Until finally the grey-skirted stream of girls had ebbed into Roman times, feet scuffing, heels dragging. Behind teacher’s back, yawns were being stifled, and there were outbreaks of sniggering and nudging when artefacts with willies were sighted.
Yet through the dozy fug of her torpor, something nearby caught Jenny’s eye. She stopped and squinted into the brightly lit case as her classmates milled around her. Inside was what looked like a thin leather strap, discoloured black and desiccated by age. Had the object been intact it would have been as long as her forearm, but instead it lay broken in 4 unequal lengths.
Curiosity piqued, her eyes scanned the caption card beside it.
Leather (likely goat hide) ~140 BC.
Found: Tiburi (now Tivoli), central Italy, 1855.
“Believed to be a flogging whip, intended for the purification and fertility rites of the festival of Lupercalia. Celebrated annually, beginning on the Ides (the 13th) and climaxing on the 15th of February, these purgative rituals held such significance in the Roman calendar that the month of Februarius was named after them. Although Lupercalia was a fertility rite, scholars believe its proximity to the contemporary St Valentine’s Day (the 14th) is purely coincidental.”
Jenny quivered. Recently, she’d become a reluctant expert on the subject of flogging. Only yesterday she’d neglected to do her Latin homework, and been kept behind after school to finish it. School rules were absolutely clear. Any pupil who missed an assignment would complete her work sitting on a sore spanked bottom…