The World's Oldest Profession


The start of the short story "On the City Wall" in Rudyard Kiplin's book Soldiers Three, defined the world's oldest profession.

Prostitution is often referred to by the metaphore "the world's oldest profession", a phrase attributed to writer Rudyard Kipling, who wrote in his book Soldiers Three (1888), that prostitution is "the most ancient profession in the world". It is also the earliest reference to prostitution as a profession.


  • David W. Selfe, Vincent Burke, Perspectives on Sex, Crime and Society, "Chapter 7, Prostitution: Social and Theoretical Perspectives, Introduction", Publisher Psychology Press, 2001, ISBN 1859416004, 9781859416006, 296 pages. Page 215.
  • Rudyard Kipling, Soldiers Three: By Rudyard Kipling, "On the City Wall", first published 1888, republished by House of Stratus, 2009, ISBN 0755117360, 9780755117369, 282 pages.
  • Daryl Koehn, The Ground of Professional Ethics, Publisher Routledge, 2006, ISBN 1134818483, 9781134818488, 240 pages. Page 212.