These quotes came to me from a comment on the previous post by Andrew Conway. Thanks for the pointers.
From "The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini"
[The events described took place in the 1540s. Cellini has discovered his mistress having sex with another man and forced them at sword point to get married.]
If when describing these events I did not admit that I know I was sometimes acting wrongly, it would not ring true when I treat of actions which I know were justified. I know I made a mistake in wanting such an extreme revenge on Pagolo Miccieri. But if I had known he was a man of such weakness I would never have contemplated taking the humiliating revenge that I did. Not satisfied with having made him take such a shameless little whore as his wife, as well as this--to round off my revenge--I used to send for her to make use of her as my model. Every day I gave her thirty soldi; and I made her pose in the nude. First, she wanted to be paid in advance, and then she wanted to make a good meal, and then I had my revenge by having intercourse with her, mocking at her and her husband for the various horns I was giving him. The fourth thing I did was to make her pose in great discomfort for hours at a stretch. And, in her discomfort, she was as much annoyed as I was delighted since she was very beautifully made and won me
When she realized that I did not treat her as considerately as I used to before her marriage, she grew tremendously angry and began to show off, bragging in her French way about her husband who gone to serve the Prior of Capua, Piero Strozzi's brother. As I said she began talking about her husband, and as soon as I heard her mention him I was overwhelmed with a choking fury. But I put up with it grudgingly, as best I could, reflecting that I could not find a more suitable model for my work than she was.
I said to myself: 'I get two kinds of revenge out of this. First, she's married, and so these horns are the real thing, unlike hers when she was playing the whore with me. So I'm taking an excellent revenge against him, and an extravagant one against her, by making her pose in such discomfort and so winning credit and profit for myself. What more can I want?'
While I was weighing matters up in this way, the slut redoubled her insults, besides talking about her husband. What she said and did nearly drove me out of my mind, and giving in to my rage I seized her by the hair and dragged her up and down the room, beating and kicking her till I was exhausted. There was no one there who could come to her help. When I bad given her a good pummeling, she swore that she would never come to me again; so for the first time I realized what a mistake I had made, since I was losing a splendid opportunity of winning honour. Besides this, with her all torn and bruised and swollen, I realized that even if she did come back it would be necessary to have her treated for a fortnight before I could make use of her.
To return to the girl: I sent one of my servants to help her dress. She was a very kindly old woman, called Ruberta, and when she went in to the little hussy she gave her something to eat and drink again; then she rubbed some bacon fat into the worst bruises I had given her, and what was left over they ate together. Having dressed, she went off abusing and cursing all Italians and the King who sheltered them. So, crying and muttering all the way, she waked home.
In fact this first time it seemed to me that I had done wrongly; and my Ruberta scolded me as well, saying: 'You're very cruel to treat such a beautiful young girl so roughly.'
I tried to make excuses to Ruberta, telling her how wickedly Caterina and her mother had treated me when they stayed with me; but she still told me off, insisting that this was nothing to complain of since it was the French custom, and that she knew for certain that there was no French husband who hadn't got his pair of horns. At this I burst out laughing, and then I told Ruberta to go and see how Caterina was, since I would like to be able to use her in finishing my work.
My Ruberta scolded me, saying that I didn't understand how to live, since as soon as day came Caterina would come of her own accord; 'while if you send to ask how she is, or go to visit her, she'll grow haughty and won't come at all.'
The following day Caterina came to my door and started knocking on it furiously. I was downstairs, and I ran to see if this was a madman or someone living in the house. When I opened it the creature laughed, threw herself round my neck, hugging and kissing me, and asked if I was still furious with her. I said, no. She answered: 'Give me a good breakfast then.'
I did so, and I ate with her as a sign of peace. Then I began to model from her; and in between times we made love together, and then, at the same hour as the day before, she provoked me so much that I had to give her the same beating: and this went on for several days, everything after the same pattern each time, with little variation.
This is a good example of masochism.
This also comes after circa 1500, which is my line in the sand when modern views of sadomasochism began.
"In their marriages, the husband carried off his bride by a sort of force; nor were their brides ever small and of tender years, but in their full bloom and ripeness. After this, she who superintended the wedding comes and clips the hair of the bride close round her head, dresses her up in man's clothes, and leaves her upon a mattress in the dark; afterwards comes the bridegroom, in his everyday clothes, sober and composed, as having supped at the common table, and, entering privately into the room where the bride lies, unties her virgin zone, and takes her to himself; [...]"
As these acts take place in the context of a religious marriage rite, much as the flagellation depicted on the mural in the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, I wouldn't consider it BDSM, which I view as a secular practice.
From the description of a painting in the Dublin national gallery, recently certified as being by Rembrandt:
"It shows a group of people in a room playing the popular 17th century game Hot Cockles, known in French as La Main Chaude. One of the players is slapped on the bottom, or on the hand he holds behind his back, and has to guess who hit him."
Party games are a step in the right direction, but this seems a bit mild. Interesting idea.
From Chapter 15 of The Golden Ass of Apuleius, translated by Robert Graves. The narrator is staying at the house of a rich miser and his wife, and is having an affair with his slave girl, Fotis. The footnote is from Andrew Conway who contributed these quotes, not Graves'.
"Presently my dear, dear Fotis, having got her mistress safely to bed, came stealing in. She was not her usual gay, lively self, but frowning and anxious. After a long silence she faltered: 'I have something to confess, Lucius: I am wholly to blame for your misfortunes of today.' Then she pulled a sort of stock-whip from under her apron, and handed it to me. 'Here, take this. Revenge yourself with it on the girl who has betrayed you; yes, flog me as hard as you like, and wherever you like...'"
 The "sort of stock-whip" is actually a 'lorus'. This is a masculine from of the for more usual neuter word 'lorum' which can mean a whip or a rein or any sort of leather thong. So, Fotis was offering to submit to a specifically male whip. Hmmmm....
This is a dicey area. Were there slaves in the Ancient World who actually did derive masochistic satisfaction, physically and/or emotionally, from their experiences of toil, ownership and punishment? Or is this Apuleius' fantasy of the perfect slave-lover, who is so loyal and devoted that she will volunteer to be punished for a free man's misfortunes? Compare this to Daniel DeFoe's Friday, who "naturally" adopts the position of slave below Robinson Crusoe without any coercion at all. I can't answer that right now.
I have no doubt that we can find examples of sadism and masochism across the world and throughout time. There's a quote I found from the life of Abelard and Heloise which puts a serious hole in my "BDSM starts at 1500" theory. However, I'm not looking for sadistic or masochistic people; history is full of those. What I want is sadomasochistic relationships, in which there is a mutual understanding, if only tacit, that these are roles to be adopted. That's why the Munby-Cullwick relationship is so important. We can study both of their journals and know (to a degree) what both of them were thinking. I have to skip over some of these references because I can't tell if there was any degree of reciprocity.