back

Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists

BOOK 13, Pages 571-589

Translated by C.D.Yonge (1854). A few words and spellings have been changed.

See key to translations for an explanation of the format. The page numbers in the Greek text are shown in red. The chapter numbers in the translation are shown in green.


<< Previous pages (555-571)

[571] And as Cynulcus had still a good deal which he wished to say, and as Ulpianus was preparing to attack him for the sake of Myrtilus, Myrtilus, getting in ahead of him (for he hated the Syrian), said-
  But our hopes were not so clean worn out,
  As to need aid from bitter enemies;
as Callimachus says. For are not we, O Cynulcus, able to defend ourselves?

  How rude you are, and boorish with your jokes!
  Your tongue is all on the left side of your mouth;
as Ephippus says in his Philyra. For you seem to me to be one of those men
  Who of the Muses learnt but ill-shaped letters,
as some one of the parody writers has it.

[28.] G   I therefore, my friends and messmates, have not, as is said in the Aurae of Metagenes, or in the Mammacythus of Aristagoras,
  Told you of female dancers, courtesans
  Who once were fair; and now I do not tell you
  Of flute-playing girls, just reaching womanhood,
  Who not unwillingly, for adequate pay,
  Have borne the love of vulgar men;
but I have been speaking of the real companions- that is to say, of those who are able to preserve a friendship free from trickery; whom Cynulcus does not venture to speak ill of, and who of all women are the only ones who have derived their name from friendship, or from that goddess who is named by the Athenians Aphrodite Hetaera: concerning whom Apollodorus the Athenian speaks, in his treatise on the Gods, in the following manner:- And they worship Aphrodite Hetaera, who brings together male and female companions (ἑταίρους καὶ ἑταίρας)- that is to say, mistresses." Accordingly, even to this day, freeborn women and maidens call their associates and friends their ἑταῖραι; as Sappho does, where she says-
  And now with tuneful voice I'll sing
  These pleasing songs to my companions (ἑταίραις).

And in another place she says-
  Niobe and Leto were of old
  Affectionate companions (ἑταῖραι) to each other.

They also call women who prostitute themselves for money, ἑταῖραι. And the verb which they use for prostituting oneself for money is ἑταιρέω, not regarding the etymology of the word, but applying a more decent term to the trade; as Menander, in his Deposit, distinguishing the ἑταῖροι from the ἑταῖραι, says-
  You've done an act not suited to companions (ἑταίρων),
  But, by Zeus, far more fit for courtesans (ἑταιρῶν),
  These words, so near the same, do make the sense
  Not always easily to be distinguished.

[29.] G   But concerning courtesans, Ephippus, in his Merchandise, speaks as follows:
  And then if, when we enter through their doors,
  They see that we are out of sorts at all,
  They flatter us and soothe us, kiss us gently,
  Not pressing hard as though our lips were enemies,
  But with soft open kisses like a sparrow;
  They sing, and comfort us, and make us cheerful,
  And straightway banish all our care and grief,
  And make our faces bright again with smiles.

And Eubulus, in his Campylion, introducing a courtesan of modest deportment, says-
  How modestly she sat the while at supper!
  Not like the rest, who make great balls of leeks,
  And stuff their cheeks with them, and loudly crunch
  Within their jaws large lumps of greasy meat;
  [572] But delicately tasting of each dish,
  In mouthfuls small, like a Milesian maiden.

And Antiphanes says in his Hydra -
  But he, the man of whom I now was speaking,
  Seeing a woman who lived near his house,
  A courtesan, did fall at once in love with her;
  She was a citizen, without a guardian
  Or any near relations, and her manners
  Pure, and on virtue's strictest model formed,
  A genuine mistress (ἑταῖρα); for the rest of the crew
  Bring into disrepute, by their vile manners,
  A name which in itself has nothing wrong.

And Anaxilas, in his Neottis, says-
  (A)   But if a woman does at all times use
  Fair, moderate language, giving her services
  Favourable to all who stand in need of her,
  She from her prompt companionship (ἑταιρίας) does earn
  The title of companion (ἑταῖρα); and you,
  As you say rightly, have not fallen in love
  With a vile harlot (πόρνη), but with a companion (ἑταῖρα).
  Is she not one of pure and simple manners?
  (B)   At all events, by Zeus, she's beautiful.

[30.] G   But that systematic debaucher of youths of yours, is such a person as Alexis, or Antiphanes, represents him, in his Sleep:
  On this account, that profligate, when supping
  With us, will never eat an onion even,
  So as not to annoy the object of his love.

And Ephippus has spoken very well of people of that description in his Sappho, where he says-
  For when one in the flower of his age
  Learns to sneak into other men's abodes,
  And shares of meals where he has not contributed,
  He must expect some other mode of payment.

And Aeschines the orator has said something of the same kind in his Speech against Timarchus.

[31.] G   But concerning courtesans, Philetaerus, in his Huntress, has the following lines:-
  'Tis not for nothing that wherever we go
  We find a temple of Hetaera there,
  But nowhere one to any wedded wife.

I know, too, that there is a festival called the Hetaerideia, which is celebrated in Magnesia, not owing to the courtesans, but to another cause, which is mentioned by Hegesander in his Commentaries, who writes thus:- "The Magnesians celebrate a festival called Hetaerideia; and they give this account of it: that originally Jason, the son of Aeson, when he had collected the Argonauts, sacrificed to Zeus Hetaereius, and called the festival Hetaerideia. And the Macedonian kings also celebrated the Hetaerideia." There is also a temple of Aphrodite the Prostitute (πόρνη) at Abydus, as Pamphilus asserts:- "For when all the city was oppressed by slavery, the guards in the city, after a sacrifice on one occasion (as Cleanthus relates in his essays on Fables), having got intoxicated, took several courtesans; and one of these women, when she saw that the men were all fast asleep, taking the keys, got over the wall, and brought the news to the citizens of Abydus. And they, on this, immediately came in arms, and slew the guards, and took possession of the walls, and recovered their freedom; and to show their gratitude to the prostitute, they built a temple to Aphrodite the Prostitute."

And Alexis the Samian, in the second book of his Samian Annals, says- "The Athenian prostitutes who followed Pericles when he laid siege to Samos, having made vast sums of money by their beauty, dedicated a statue of Aphrodite at Samos, which some call Aphrodite among the Reeds, and others Aphrodite in the Marsh." [573] And Eualces, in his History of the Affairs of Ephesus, says that there is at Ephesus also a temple to Aphrodite the Courtesan (ἑταῖρα). And Clearchus, in the first book of his treatise on Amatory Matters, says-" Gyges the king of the Lydians was very celebrated, not only on account of his mistress while she was alive, having submitted himself and his whole dominions to her power, but also after she was dead; inasmuch as he assembled all the Lydians in the whole country, and raised that mound which is even now called the tomb of the Lydian Courtesan; building it up to a great height, so that when he was travelling in the country, inside of Mount Tmolus, wherever he was, he could always see the tomb; and it was a conspicuous object to all the inhabitants of Lydia." And Demosthenes the orator, in his Speech against Neaera (if it is a genuine one, which Apollodorus says it is), says [ 59'122 ]- "Now we have courtesans for the sake of pleasure, but concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation, and wives for the purpose of having children legitimately, and of having a faithful guardian of all our household affairs."

[32.] G   I will now mention to you, Cynulcus, an Ionian story (spinning it out, as Aeschylus' Agamemnon says,) about courtesans, beginning with the beautiful Corinth, since you have reproached me with having been a schoolmaster in that city. It is an ancient custom at Corinth (as Chamaeleon of Heracleia relates, in his treatise on Pindarus), whenever the city addresses any supplication to Aphrodite about any important matter, to employ as many courtesans as possible to join in the supplication; and they, too, pray to the goddess, and afterwards they are present at the sacrifices. And when the king of Persia was leading his army against Greece (as Theopompus also relates, and so does Timaeus, in his seventh book), the Corinthian courtesans offered prayers for the safety of Greece, going to the temple of Aphrodite. On which account, after the Corinthians had consecrated a picture to the goddess (which remains even to this day), and as in this picture they had painted the portraits of the courtesans who made this supplication at the time, and who were present afterwards, Simonides composed this epigram:-
  These damsels, on behalf of Greece, and all
  Their gallant countrymen, stood nobly forth,
  Praying to Aphrodite, all-powerful goddess;
  Nor was the queen of beauty willing ever
  To leave the citadel of Greece to fall
  Beneath the arrows of the unwarlike Persians.

And even private individuals sometimes vow to Aphrodite, that if they succeed in the objects for which they are offering their vows, they will bring her a stated number of courtesans.

[33.] G   As this custom, then, exists with reference to this goddess, Xenophon the Corinthian, when going to Olympia to the games, vowed that he, if he were victorious, would bring her some courtesans. And Pindarus at first wrote a panegyric on him, which begins thus [ Olymp.13 ]:-
  Praising the house which in the Olympic games
  Has thrice borne off the victory.

But afterwards he composed a scolium on him, which was sung at the sacrificial feasts; at the start of which he turns at once to the courtesans who joined in the sacrifice to Aphrodite, in the presence of Xenophon, while he was sacrificing to the goddess himself ; on which account he says:-
  O queen of Cyprus' isle,
  Come to this grove !
  [574] Lo, Xenophon, succeeding in his aim,
  Brings you a band of willing maidens,
  Dancing on a hundred feet.

And the opening lines of the song were these:-
  O hospitable damsels, fairest train
  Of soft Persuasion,-
  Ornament of the wealthy Corinth,
  Bearing in willing hands the golden drops
  That from the frankincense distil, and flying
  To the fair mother of the Loves,
  Who dwells up in the sky,
  Lovely Aphrodite,- you do bring to us
  Comfort and hope in danger, that we may
  Hereafter, in the delicate beds of Love,
  Heap the long-wished-for fruits of joy,
  Lovely and necessary to all mortal men.

And after having begun in this manner, he proceeds to say:-
  But now I marvel, and wait anxiously
  To see what will my masters say of me,
  Who thus begin
  My scolium with this amatory preface,
  Willing companion of these willing damsels.

And it is plain here that the poet, while addressing the courtesans in this way, was in some doubt as to the light in which it would appear to the Corinthians; but, trusting to his own genius, he proceeds with the following verse:-
  We teach pure gold on a well-tried lyre.

And Alexis, in his Loving Woman, tells us that the courtesans at Corinth celebrate a festival of their own, called Aphrodisia; where he says -
  The city at the time was celebrating
  The Aphrodisia of the courtesans;
  This is a different festival from that
  At which the free women are present: and then
  It is the custom on those days that all
  The courtesans should feast with us in common.

[34.] G   But at Lacedaemon (as Polemon Periegetes says, in his treatise on the Offerings at Lacedaemon,) there is a statue of a very celebrated courtesan, named Cottina, who, he tells us, consecrated a brazen cow; and Polemon's words are these:- "And the statue of Cottina the courtesan, on account of whose celebrity there is still a brothel which is called by her name, near the hill on which the temple of Dionysus stands, is a conspicuous object, well known to many of the citizens. And her votive offering is beyond the statue of Athene Chalcioecus - a brazen cow, and also the before-mentioned image."

And the handsome Alcibiades, of whom one of the comic poets said:-
  And then the delicate Alcibiades,
  O earth and all the gods! whom Lacedaemon
  Desires to catch in his adulteries,
though he was beloved by the wife of Agis, used to go and hold his revels at the doors of the courtesans, leaving all the Lacedaemonian and Athenian women. He also fell in love with Medontis of Abydus, from the mere report of her beauty; and sailing to the Hellespont with Axiochus, who was a lover of his on account of his beauty (as Lysias the orator states in his speech against him), he allowed Axiochus to share her with him. Moreover, Alcibiades used always to carry about two other courtesans with him in all his expeditions, namely, Damasandra, the mother of the younger Lais, and Theodote; who, after he was dead, buried him in Melissa, a village of Phrygia, after he had been overwhelmed by the treachery of Pharnabazus. And we ourselves saw the tomb of Alcibiades at Melissa, when we went from Synnada to Metropolis; and at that tomb there is sacrificed an ox every year, by the command of that most excellent emperor Hadrianus, who also erected on the tomb a statue of Alcibiades in Parian marble.

[35.] G   [575] And we must not wonder at people having on some occasions fallen in love with others from the mere report of their beauty, when Chares of Mytilene, in the tenth book of his History of Alexander, says that some people have even seen in dreams those whom they have never beheld before, and fallen in love with them in this way. And he writes as follows:- "Hystaspes had a younger brother whose name was Zariadres; and they were both men of great personal beauty. And the story told concerning them by the natives of the country is, that they were the offspring of Aphrodite and Adonis. Now Hystaspes was ruler of Media, and of the lower country adjoining it; and Zariadres was ruler of the country above the Caspian gates as far as the river Tanais. Now the daughter of Omartes, the king of the Marathi, a tribe dwelling on the other side of the Tanais, was named Odatis. And concerning her it is written in the Histories, that she in her sleep beheld Zariadres, and fell in love with him; and that the very same thing happened to him with respect to her. And so for a long time they were in love with one another, simply on account of the visions which they had seen in their dreams. And Odatis was the most beautiful of all the women in Asia; and Zariadres also was very handsome. Accordingly, when Zariadres sent to Omartes and expressed a desire to marry the girl, Omartes would not agree to it, because he did not have any male offspring; for he wished to give her to one of his own people about his court.

"Not long afterwards, Omartes, having assembled all the chief men of his kingdom and all his friends and relations, held a marriage feast. But he had not said beforehand to whom he was going to give his daughter. And as the wine went round, her father summoned Odatis to the banquet, and said, in the hearing of all the guests,- 'We, my daughter Odatis, are now celebrating your marriage feast; so now do you look around, and survey all those who are present, and then take a golden goblet and fill it, and give it to the man to whom you like to be married; for you shall be called his wife.' And she, having looked round upon them all, went away weeping, being anxious to see Zariadres, for she had sent him word that her marriage feast was about to be celebrated. But he, being encamped on the Tanais, and leaving the army encamped there without being perceived, crossed the river with his charioteer alone ; and going by night in his chariot, passed through the city, having gone about eight hundred stades without stopping. And when he got near the town in which the marriage festival was being celebrated, and leaving, in some place near, his chariot with the charioteer, he went forward by himself, clad in a Scythian robe. And when he arrived at the palace, and seeing Odatis standing in front of the sideboard in tears, while she filled the goblet very slowly, he stood near her and said, 'Odatis, here I have come, as you requested me to, - I, Zariadres.' And she, perceiving a stranger, and a handsome man, and that he resembled the man whom she had beheld in her sleep, being exceedingly glad, gave him the bowl. And he, seizing on her, led her away to his chariot, and fled away, having Odatis with him. And the servants and the handmaidens, knowing their love, said not a word. And when her father ordered them to summon her, they said that they did not know which way she had gone.

"And the story of this love is often told by the barbarians who dwell in Asia, and is exceedingly admired; and they have painted representations of the story in their temples and palaces, and also in their private houses. And a great many of the princes in those countries give their daughters the name of Odatis."

[36.] G   [576] Aristotle also, in his Constitution of the Massilians, mentions a similar circumstance as having taken place, writing as follows:- "The Phocaeans in Ionia, having consulted the oracle, founded Massilia. And Euxenus the Phocaean was connected by ties of hospitality with Nanus; this was the name of the king of that country. This Nanus was celebrating the marriage feast of his daughter, and invited Euxenus, who happened to be in the neighbourhood, to the feast. And the marriage was to be conducted in the following manner: after the supper was over the girl was to come in, and to give a goblet full of wine properly mixed to whichever of the suitors who were present she chose; and to whomsoever she gave it, he was to be her bridegroom. And when the girl came in, whether it was by chance or whether it was for any other reason, she gave the goblet to Euxenus. And the name of the maiden was Petta. And when the cup had been given in this way, and her father (thinking that she had been directed by the Deity in her giving of it) had consented that Euxenus should have her, he took her for his wife, and cohabited with her, changing her name to Aristoxene. And the family which is descended from that girl remains in Massilia to this day, and is known as the Protiadae; for Protis was the name of the son of Euxenus and Aristoxene."

[37.] G   And did not Themistocles, as Idomeneus relates, harness a chariot full of courtesans and drive with them into the city when the market was full? And the courtesans were Lamia and Scione and Satyra and Nanniŏn. And was not Themistocles himself the son of a courtesan, whose name was Abrotonŏn? as Amphicrates relates in his treatise on Illustrious Men-
  Abrotonŏn was but a Thracian woman,
  But for the weal of Greece
  She was the mother of the great Themistocles.

But Neanthes of Cyzicus, in his third and fourth books of his History of Greek Affairs, says that he was the son of Euterpe.

And when Cyrus the younger was making his expedition against his brother, did he not carry with him a courtesan of Phocaea, who was a very clever and very beautiful woman? and Zenophanes says that her name was originally Milto, but that it was afterwards changed to Aspasia. And a Milesian concubine also accompanied him. And did not the great Alexander keep Thais about him, who was an Athenian courtesan? And Cleitarchus speaks of her as having been the cause that the palace of Persepolis was burnt down. And this Thais, after the death of Alexander, married Ptolemy, who became the first king of Egypt, and she bore him sons, Leontiscus and Lagus, and a daughter named Eirenê, who was married to Eunostus, the king of Soli, a town of Cyprus. And the second king of Egypt, Ptolemy Philadelphus by name, as Ptolemy Euergetes relates in the third book of his Commentaries, had a great many mistresses,- namely, Didyme, who was a native of the country, and very beautiful; and Bilistiche; and, besides them, Agathocleia, and Stratonice, who had a great monument on the sea-shore, near Eleusis; and Myrtiŏn, and a great many more; as he was a man excessively addicted to amatory pleasures.  # And Polybius, in the fourteenth book of his History [ 14.11 ], says that there are a great many statues of a woman named Cleino, who was his cup-bearer, in Alexandria, clothed in a tunic only, and holding a cornucopia in her hand. "And are not," says he, "the finest houses called by the names of Myrtiŏn, and Mnesis, and Potheine? and yet Mnesis was only a female flute-player, and so was Potheine, and Myrtiŏn was one of the most notorious and common prostitutes in the city."

[577]  # Was there not also Agathocleia the courtesan, who had great power over king Ptolemy Philopator? in fact, was it not she who was the ruin of his whole kingdom? And Eumachus of Neapolis, in the second book of his History of Hannibal, says that Hieronymus, the tyrant of Syracuse, fell in love with one of the common prostitutes who followed her trade in a brothel, whose name was Peitho, and married her, and made her queen of Syracuse.

[38.] G   And Timotheus, who was general of the Athenians, with a very high reputation, was the son of a courtesan, a Thracian by birth, but, except that she was a courtesan, of very excellent character; for when women of this class do behave modestly, they are superior to those who give themselves airs on account of their virtue. But Timotheus being on one occasion reproached as being the son of a mother of that character, said,- "But I am much obliged to her, because it is owing to her that I am the son of Conon." And Carystius, in his Historical Commentaries, says that Philetaerus the king of Pergamum, and of all that country which is now called the New Province, was the son of a woman named Boa, who was a flute-player and a courtesan, a Paphlagonian by birth. And Aristophon the orator, who in the archonship of Eucleides [ 403 B.C. ] proposed a law, that every one who was not born of a woman who was a citizen should be accounted a bastard, was himself convicted, by Calliades the comic poet, of having children by a courtesan named Choregis, as the same Carystius relates in the third book of his Commentaries.

 # Besides all these men, was not Demetrius Poliorcetes evidently in love with Lamia the flute-player, by whom he had a daughter named Phila? And Polemon, in his treatise On the Painted Stoa at Sicyon, says that Lamia was the daughter of Cleanor an Athenian, and that she built the before-mentioned colonnade for the people of Sicyon. Demetrius was also in love with Leaena, and she was also an Athenian courtesan; and with a great many other women besides.

[39.] G    # And Machon the comic poet, in his play entitled the Chriae, speaks thus:-
  But as Leaena was by nature formed
  To give her lovers most exceeding pleasure,
  And was besides much favoured by Demetrius,
  They say that Lamia also gratified
  The king; and when he praised her grace and quickness,
  The woman answered: And besides you can,
  If you do wish, subdue a lioness (Λέαιναν).

But Lamia was always very witty and prompt in repartee, as also was Gnathaena, whom we shall mention presently. And again Machon writes thus aboout Lamia:-
  Demetrius the king was once displaying
  Amid his cups a great variety
  Of kinds of perfumes to his Lamia:
  Now Lamia was a female flute-player,
  With whom 'tis always said Demetrius
  Was very much in love. But when she scoffed
  At all his perfumes, and, moreover, treated
  The monarch with exceeding insolence,
  He bade a slave bring some cheap unguent, while
  With his hand he felt himself, and smeared his fingers,
  And said, "At least smell this, O Lamia,
  And see how much this scent does beat all others."
  She laughingly replied: "But know, O king,
  That smell does seem to me the worst of all."
  "But," said Demetrius, "I swear, by the gods,
  That 'tis produced from a right royal nut."

[40.] G   But Ptolemaeus the son of Agesarchus, in his History of Philopator, [578] giving a list of the mistresses of the different kings, says- "Philippus the Macedonian promoted Philinna, the dancing woman, by whom he had Arrhidaeus, who was king of Macedonia after Alexander. And Demetrius Poliorcetes, besides the women who have already been mentioned, had a mistress named Mania; and Antigonus had one named Demo, by whom he had a son named Alcyoneus;  # and Seleucus the younger had two, whose names were Mysta and Nysa." But Heracleides Lembus, in the thirty-sixth book of his History, says that Demo was the mistress of Demetrius; and that his father Antigonus was also in love with her: and that he put to death Oxythemis as having shared in many of the crimes of Demetrius; and he also put to the torture and executed the maid-servants of Demo.

[41.] G   But concerning the name of Mania, which we have just mentioned, the same Machon says this:
  Some one perhaps of those who hear this now,
  May fairly wonder how it came to pass
  That an Athenian woman had a name,
  Or even a nickname, such as Mania.
  For 'tis disgraceful for a woman thus
  To bear a Phrygian name; she being, too,
  A courtesan from the very heart of Greece.
  And why was this permitted in the city of Athens,
  By which all other nations are much swayed?
  The fact is that her name from early childhood
  Was this- Melitta. And as she grew up
  A trifle shorter than her playfellows,
  But with a sweet voice and engaging manners,
  And with such beauty and excellence of face
  As made a deep impression upon all men,
  She'd many lovers, foreigners and citizens.
  So that when any conversation
  Arose about this woman, each man said,
  The fair Melitta was his madness (μανία). Aye,
  And she herself contributed to this name;
  For when she jested she would oft repeat
  This word μανία; and when in sport she blamed
  Or praised any one, she would bring in,
  In either sentence, this word μανία.
  So some one of her lovers, dwelling on
  The word, appears to have nicknamed the girl
  Mania; and this extra name prevailed
  More than her real one. It seems, besides,
  That Mania was afflicted with the stone,
  But Gnathaena was reproached by Diphilus,
  Because she soiled the bedclothes. And once
  When Gnathaena was chiding Mania, she said-
  "How so, girl, even if you did have a stone?"
  And Mania replied, "I should have given it to you,
  You wretch, so you could wipe yourself clean."

[42.] G   And that Mania was also excellent in witty repartee, Machon tells us in these verses about her,-
  There was a victor in the pancratium,
  Named Leontiscus, who loved Mania,
  And kept her with him as his lawful wife;
  But finding afterwards that she did play
  The harlot with Antenor, was indignant:
  But she replied,-" My darling, never mind;
  I only wanted just to feel and prove,
  In a single night, how great the strength might be
  Of two such athletes, victors at Olympia."
  [579] They say again that Mania once was asked,
  By King Demetrius, for a perfect sight
  Of her fair buttocks; and she, in return,
  Demanded that he should grant her a favour.
  When he agreed, she turned her back, and said,-
  "O son of Agamemnon, now the Gods
  Grant you to see what you so long have wished for." [ Sophocles, Electra_2 ]
  On one occasion, too, a foreigner,
  Who a deserter was believed to be,
  Had come by chance to Athens; and he sent
  For Mania, and gave her all she asked.
  It happened that he had procured for supper
  Some of those table-jesters, common buffoons,
  Who always raise a laugh to please their feeders;
  And wishing to appear a witty man,
  Used to politest conversation,
  While Mania was sporting gracefully,
  As was her wont, and often rising up
  To reach a dish of hare, he tried to raise
  A joke upon her, and thus spoke,- "My friends,
  Tell me, I pray you by the Gods, what animal
  You think runs fastest over the mountain-tops?"
  "Why, my love, a deserter," answered Mania.
  Another time, when Mania came to see him,
  She laughed at the deserter, telling him,
  That once in battle he had lost his shield.
  But this brave soldier, looking somewhat fierce
  Sent her away. And as she was departing,
  She said, "My love, don't be so much annoyed;
  For by Aphrodite, it was not you who lost the shield,
  When you ran away, but he who lent it you."
  Another time they say a man who was
  A thorough profligate, did entertain
  Mania at supper; and when he questioned her,
  "Do you like being up or down the best?"
  She laughed, and said, "I'd rather be up, my friend,
  For I'm afraid, lest, if I lay me down,
  You'd bite my plaited hair from off my head."

[43.] G   But Machon has also collected the witty sayings of other courtesans too; and it will not be unseasonable to enumerate some of them now. Accordingly he mentions Gnathaena thus:-
  Diphilus once was drinking with Gnathaena.
  Said he, "Your cup is somewhat cold, Gnathaena;"
  And she replied, "'Tis no great wonder, Diphilus,
  For we take care to put some of your plays in it."
  Diphilus was once invited to a banquet
  At fair Gnathaena's house, as men do say,
  On the day of Aphrodite's festival-
  (He being a man above her other lovers
  Beloved by her, though she concealed her flame),
  He came accordingly, and brought with him
  Two jars of Chian wine, and four, quite full,
  Of wine from Thasos; perfumes, too, and crowns;
  Sweetmeats and venison; fillets for the head;
  Fish, and a cook, and a female flute-player.
  In the meantime a Syrian friend of hers
  Sent her some snow, and one saperda; she
  Being ashamed lest any one should hear
  She had received such gifts, and, above all men,
  Fearing lest Diphilus should get at them,
  And show her up in one of his comedies,
  She bade a slave to carry off at once
  The salt fish to the men who wanted salt,
  As every one did know; the snow she told him
  To mix with the wine unseen by any one.
  [580] And then she bade the boy to fill the cup
  With ten full cyathi of wine, and bear it
  At once to Diphilus. He eagerly
  Received the cup, and drained it to the bottom,
  And, marvelling at the delicious coolness,
  Said- "By Athene, and by all the gods,
  You must, Gnathaena, be allowed by all
  To have a most deliciously cool well."
  "Yes," said she, "for we carefully put in,
  From day to day, the prologues of your plays."
  A slave who had been flogged, whose back was marked
  With heavy scars, was once, as it fell out,
  Reposing with Gnathaena:- then, as she
  Embraced him, she found out how rough all over
  His back did feel. "Oh wretched man," said she,
  "In what engagement did you get these wounds?"
  He in a few words answered her, and said,
  "That when a boy, once playing with his playmates,
  He'd fallen backwards into the fire by accident."
  "Well," said she, "if you were so wanton then,
  You well deserved to be flogged, my friend."'
  Gnathaena once was supping with Dexithea,
  Who was a courtesan as well as she;
  And when Dexithea put aside with care
  Nearly all the daintiest morsels for her mother,
  She said, "I swear by Artemis, had I known
  How you went on, Dexithea, I would rather
  Have gone to supper with your mother than you."
  When this Gnathaena was advanced in years,
  Hastening, as all might see, towards the grave,
  They say she once event out into the market,
  And looked at all the fish, and asked the price
  Of every article she saw. And seeing
  A handsome butcher standing at his stall,
  Just in the flower of youth,- "Oh, in God's name,
  Tell me, my youth, what is your price (πῶς ἵστης) to-day ?"
  He laughed, and said, " Why, if I stoop, three obols."
  "But who," said she, "did give you leave, you wretch,
  To use your Carian weights in Attica?"
  Stratocles once made all his friends a present
  Of kids and shell-fish greatly salted, seeming
  To have dressed them carefully, so that his friends
  Should the next morning be overwhelmed with thirst,
  And thus protract their drinking, so that he
  Might draw from them some ample contributions.
  Therefore Gnathaena said to one of her lovers,
  Seeing him wavering about his offerings,
  "After the kids, Stratocles brings a storm."
  Gnathaena, seeing once a thin young man,
  Of black complexion, lean as any scarecrow,
  Reeking with oil, and shorter than his fellows,
  Called him in jest Adonis. When the youth
  Answered her in a rude and violent manner,
  She looking on her daughter who was with her,
  Said, "Ah! it serves me right for my mistake."
  They say that one fine day a youth from Pontus
  Was sleeping with Gnathaena, and at morn
  He asked her to display her buttocks to him.
  But she replied, " You have no time, for now
  [581] It is the hour to drive the pigs to feed."

[44.] G   He also mentions the following sayings of Gnathaeniŏn, who was the grand-daughter of Gnathaena:
  It happened once that a very aged satrap,
  Full ninety years of are, had come to Athens.
  And on the feast of Cronus he beheld
  Gnathaeniŏn with Gnathaena going out
  From a fair temple sacred to Aphrodite,
  And noticing her form and grace of motion,
  He just inquired "How much she asked a night?"
  Gnathaena, looking on his purple robe,
  And princely bodyguard, said, "A thousand drachmas."
  He, as if smitten with a mortal wound,
  Said, "I perceive, because of all these soldiers,
  You look upon me as a captured enemy;
  But take five minae, and agree with me,
  And let them get a bed prepared for us."
  She, as the satrap seemed a witty man,
  Received his terms, and said, "Give what you like,
  O father, for I know most certainly,
  You'll give my daughter twice as much at night."
  There was at Athens once a handsome smith,
  When she, Gnathaeniŏn, had almost abandoned
  Her trade, and would no longer common be,
  Moved by the love of the actor Andronicus;
  (But at this moment he was gone away,
  After she'd brought him a male child;) this smith
  Then long besought the fair Gnathaeniŏn
  To fix her price; and though she long refused,
  By long entreaty and liberality,
  At last he won her over to consent.
  But being but a rude and ill-bred clown,
  He, one day sitting with some friends of his
  In a leather-cutter's shop, began to talk
  About Gnathaeniŏn to divert their leisure,
  Saying that he never consorted with her
  In any other way, except that she rode
  On top of him, five times over.
  But after this, when Andronicus came
  From Corinth back again, and heard the news,
  He bitterly reproached her, and at supper
  He said, with just complaint, unto Gnathaeniŏn,
  That she had never granted him such liberties
  As this flogged slave had had allowed to him.
  And then they say Gnathaeniŏn thus replied:
  That she was her own mistress, and the smith
  Was so begrimed with soot and dirt that she
  Did not wish to embrace him; but after receiving
  A large sum of gold, she gave in to his request,
  And cleverly contrived to touch the part of him,
  Which, though small, stuck out the furthest.
  One day they say Gnathaeniŏn, at supper,
  Would not kiss Andronicus when he wished,
  [582] Though she had done so every day before;
  But she was angry that he gave her nothing.
  Said he, on this, "Gnathaena, don't you see
  How haughtily your daughter's treating me?"
  And she, indignant, said, " You wretched girl,
  Take him and kiss him if he wishes it."
  But she replied, " Why should I kiss him, mother,
  Who does no good to any one in the house,
  But seeks to have hollow Argos all for free?"
  Once, on a day of festival, Gnathaeniŏn
  Went down to the Peiraeus to a lover,
  Who was a foreign merchant, riding cheaply
  On a poor mule, and having after her
  Three donkeys, three maidservants, and one nurse.
  Then, at a narrow spot in the road, they met
  One of those poor wrestlers, men who contrive
  To lose their battles, in return for pay;
  And as he could not pass by easily,
  Being crowded up, he cried- "You wretched man,
  You donkey-driver, if you get not quickly
  Out of my way, I will upset these women,
  And all the donkeys and the mule to boot."
  But quick Gnathaeniŏn said, "My friend, I pray you,
  Don't be so valiant now, when you have never
  Done any feat of spirit or strength before."

[45.] G   And afterwards, Machon gives us the following anecdotes:
  They say that Lais the Corinthian,
  Once when she saw Euripides in a garden,
  Holding a tablet and a pen attached to it,
  Cried out to him, "Now, answer me, my poet,
  What was your meaning when you wrote in your play [ Medea_1346 ],
  'Away, you shameless doer' ?" And Euripides,
  Amazed, and wondering at her audacity,
  Said, "Why, you seem to me to be yourself
  A shameless doer." And she, laughing, answered,
  "How shameless, if my partners do not think so?"
  Glyceriŏn once received from some lover
  A new Corinthian cloak (λῄδιον) with purple sleeves,
  And gave it to a fuller. Afterwards,
  When she thought he'd had time enough to clean it,
  She sent her maidservant to fetch it back,
  Giving her money, that she might pay for it.
  But, said the fuller, "You must bring me first
  Three quarters of the oil (ἐλᾴδιον), for want of that
  Is what has hindered me from finishing."
  The maid went back and told her mistress all.
  "Wretch that I am! " Glyceriŏn said, "for he
  Is going to fry my cloak like any herring."
  Demophoon once, the friend of Sophocles,
  While a young man, fell furiously in love
  With Nico, called the Goat, though she was old:
  And she had earned this name of Goat, because
  She quite devoured once a mighty friend of hers,
  Named Thallus, when he came to Attica
  To buy some Chelidonian figs, and also
  To export some honey from the Hymettian hill.
  And it is said this woman had fair buttocks,
  And when Demophoon tried to hold them,
  "A pretty thing," said she, "that what you get
  [583] From me, you may present to Sophocles."
  Callisto once, who was nicknamed the Sow,
  Was fiercely quarrelling with her own mother,
  Who also was nicknamed the Crow. Gnathaena
  Appeased the quarrel, and when asked the cause of it,
  Said, " What else could it be, but that one Crow
  Was finding fault with the blackness of the other?"
  Men say that Hippe once, the courtesan,
  Had a lover named Theodotus, a man
  Who at the time was prefect of the granaries
  And she on one occasion late in the evening
  Came to a banquet of King Ptolemy,
  And she'd been often used to drink with him
  So, as she now was very late, she said,
  "I'm very thirsty, papa Ptolemy,
  So let the cup-bearer pour me four cotylae
  Into a larger cup." The king replied,
  "You must have it in a platter, for you seem
  Already, Hippe, to have had plenty of hay."
  A man named Moerichus was courting Phryne,
  The Thespian girl. And, as she required
  A mina, "'Tis a mighty sum," said Moerichus,
  "Did you not yesterday charge a foreigner
  Two little pieces of gold?" "Wait till I want you,"
  Said she, "and I will take the same from you."
  'Tis said that Nico, who was called the Goat,
  Once when a man named Python had deserted her,
  And taken up with the great fat Euardis,
  But after a time did send again for her,
  Said to the slave who came to fetch her, "Now
  That Python is well sated with his swine,
  Does he desire to return to a goat?"

[46.] G   Up to this point we have been recapitulating the things mentioned by Machon. For our beautiful Athens has produced such a number of courtesans (of whom I will tell you as many anecdotes as I can) as no other populous city ever produced. At all events, Aristophanes of Byzantium counted up a hundred and thirty-five, and Apollodorus a still greater number; and Gorgias enumerated still more, saying that, among a great many more, these eminent ones had been omitted by Aristophanes- namely, one who was surnamed Paroinos, and Lampyris, and Euphrosyne: and this last was the daughter of a fuller. And, besides these, he has omitted Megisto, Agallis, Thaunariŏn, Theocleia (and she was nicknamed the Crow), Lenaetocystus, Astra, Gnathaena, and her grand-daughter Gnathaeniŏn, and Sige, and Grymaea, and Thryallis, and Chimaera, and Lampas. But Diphilus the comic poet was violently in love with Gnathaena, (as has been already stated [ 579'e ], and as Lynceus the Samian relates in his Commentaries;) and so once, when on the stage he had acted very badly, and was turned out (ἠρμένος) of the theatre, and, for all that, came to Gnathaena as if nothing had happened; and when he, after he had arrived, begged Gnathaena to wash his feet, "Why do you want that ?" said she; "were you not carried (ἠρμένος) here?" And Gnathaena was very ready with her repartees. And there were other courtesans who had a great opinion of themselves, paying attention to education, and spending a part of their time on literature; so that they were very ready with their rejoinders and replies.

[584]  # Accordingly, when on one occasion Stilpon, at a banquet, was accusing Glycera of seducing the young men of the city, (as Satyrus mentions in his Lives,) Glycera took him up and said, "You and I are accused of the same thing, O Stilpon; for they say that you corrupt all who come to you, by teaching them profitless and amorous sophistries; and they accuse me of the same thing: for if people waste their time, and are treated ill, it makes no difference whether they are living with a philosopher or with a harlot." For, according to Agathon,
  It does not follow, because a woman's body
  Is void of strength, that her mind, too, is weak.

[47.] G   And Lynceus has recorded many repartees of Gnathaena. There was a parasite who used to live upon an old woman, and kept himself in very good condition; and Gnathaena, seeing him, said, "My young friend, you appear to be in very good case." "What then do you think," said he, "that I should be if I slept by myself?" "Why, I think you would starve," said she. Once, when Pausanias, who was nicknamed Laccus, was dancing, he fell into a cask. "The cellar (λάκκος)," says Gnathaena, "has fallen into the cask." On one occasion, some one put a very little wine into a wine-cooler, and said that it was sixteen years old. "It is very little of its age," said she, "to be as old as that." Once at a drinking party, some young men were fighting about her, and beating one another, and she said to the one who was worsted, "Be of good cheer, my boy; for it is not a contest to be decided by laurel, but by silver." There was a man who once gave her daughter a mina, and never brought her anything more, though he came to see her very often. "Do you think, my boy," said she, "that now you have once paid your mina, you are to come here for ever, as if you were going to Hippomachus the trainer?" On one occasion, when Phryne said to her, with some bitterness, "What would become of you if you had the stone?" "I would give it to you," said she, "to wipe yourself with." For it was said that Gnathaena was liable to the stone, while the other suffered from diarrhoea. On one occasion, some men were drinking in her house, and were eating some lentils dressed with onions (βολβοφάκη); as the maidservant was clearing the table, and putting some of the lentils in her bosom (κόλπον), Gnathaena said, "She is thinking of making some bosom-lentils (κολποφάκη)." Once, when Andronicus the tragic actor had been acting his part in the representation of the Epigoni with great applause, and was coming to a drinking party at her house, and sent a boy forward to bid her make preparation to receive him, she said- "O cursed boy, what word is this you've spoken?" And once, when a chattering fellow was relating that he was just come from the Hellespont, "Why, then," said she, " did you not go to the first city in that country?" and when he asked what city, "To Sigeium," said she. Once, when a man came to see her, and saw some eggs on a dish, and said, "Are these raw, Gnathaena, or boiled ?" "They are made of brass, my boy," said she. On one occasion, when Chaerephon came to sup with her without an invitation, Gnathaena pledged him in a cup of wine. "Take it," said she, "you proud fellow." And he said, "I proud?" "Who can be more so," said she, "when you come without even being invited?" And Nico, who was nicknamed the Goat (as Lynceus tells us), once when she met a parasite, who was very thin in consequence of a long sickness, said to him, "How lean you are." "No wonder," says he; " for what do you think is all that I have had to eat these three days ?" "Why, a leather bottle," says she, "or perhaps your shoes."

[48.] G   There was a courtesan named Metaneira; and when Democles the parasite, who was nicknamed Lagynion, fell down in a lot of whitewash, she said, "Yes, for you have devoted yourself to a place where there are pebbles." And when he sprung upon a couch which was near him, " Take care," said she, " lest you get upset." These sayings are recorded by Hegesander. [585] And Aristodemus, in the second book of his Laughable Records, says that Gnathaena was hired by two men, a soldier and a branded slave; and so when the soldier, in his rude manner, called her a cistern, "How can I be so?" said she; "is it because two rivers, Lycus and Eleutherus, fall into me?" On one occasion, when some poor lovers of the daughter of Gnathaena came to feast at her house, and threatened to throw it down, saying that they had brought spades and mattocks on purpose; "But," said Gnathaena, "if you had those implements, you should have pawned them, and brought some money with you." And Gnathaena was always very neat and witty in all she said; and she even compiled a code of laws for banquets, according to which lovers were to be admitted to her and to her daughters, in imitation of the philosophers, who had drawn up similar documents. And Callimachus has recorded this code of hers in the third Catalogue of Laws which he has given; and he has quoted the first words of it as follows:- "This law has been compiled, being fair and equitable; and it is written in three hundred and twenty-three verses."

[49.] G   But a slave who had been flogged hired Callistiŏn, who was nicknamed Poor Helene; and as it was summer, and he was lying down naked, she, seeing the marks of the whip, said, "Where did you get this, you unhappy man ?" and he said, "Some broth was spilt over me when I was a boy." And she said, "It must have been made of leather thongs."  # And once, when Menander the poet had failed with one of his plays, and came to her house, Glycera brought him some milk, and recommended him to drink it. But he said he would rather not, for there was some scum (γραῦς) on it. But she replied, "Blow it away, and take what there is beneath."

Thais said once to a boastful lover of hers, who had borrowed some goblets from a great many people, and said that he meant to break them up, and make others of them, "You will destroy the characteristics of each of them." Leontiŏn was once sitting at table with a lover of hers, when Glycera came in to supper; and as the man began to pay more attention to Glycera, Leontiŏn was much annoyed: and presently, when her friend turned round, and asked her what she was vexed at, she said, "The newcomer (ἡ ὑστέρα) pains me."

A lover of hers once sent his seal to Lais the Corinthian, and desired her to come to him; but she said, "I cannot come; it is only clay." Thais was one day going to a lover of hers, who smelt like a goat; and when some one asked her whither she was going, she said-
  To dwell with Aegeus, great Pandion's son. [ Euripides, Medea_1385 ]

Phryne, too, was once supping with a man of the same description, and, lifting up the hide of a pig, she said, "Take it, and eat it (τράγε)" And once, when one of her friends sent her some wine, which was very good, but the quantity was small; and when he told her that it was ten years old; "It is very little of its age," said she. And once, when the question was asked at a certain banquet, why it is that wreaths are hung up about banqueting-rooms, she said, "Because they charm the spirits." And once, when a slave, who had been flogged, was giving himself airs as a young man towards her, and saying that he had been often entangled, she pretended to look vexed; and when he asked her the reason, "I am jealous of you," said she, "because you have been so often smitten." Once a very covetous lover of hers was coaxing her, and saying to her, "You are the Aphrodite of Praxiteles;" "And you," said she, "are the Eros of Pheidias."

[50.] G   And as I am aware that some of those men who have been involved in the administration of affairs of state have mentioned courtesans, either accusing or excusing them, I will enumerate some instances of those who have done so. For Demosthenes, in his speech against Androtion [ 22'56 ], mentions Sinope and Phanostrate; [586] and respecting Sinope, Herodicus the pupil of Crates says, in the sixth book of his treatise on People mentioned in the Comic Poets, that she was called Abydus, because she was an old woman. And Antiphanes mentions her in his Arcadian, and in his Gardener, and it his Sempstress, and in his Female Fisher, and in his Chick. And Alexis mentions her in his Cleobuline, and Callicrates speaks of her in his Moschion; and concerning Phanostrate Apollodorus, in his treatise on Courtesans at Athens, says that she was called Phtheiropyle, because she used to stand at the, door (πύλη) and hunt for lice (φθεῖρες).

And in his oration against Aristagora, Hypereides says- "And again you have named, in the same manner, the animals called aphyae." Now, aphyae, besides meaning anchovies, was also a nickname for some courtesans; concerning whom the before-mentioned Apollodorus says- "Stagoniŏn and Anthis were two sisters, and they were called Aphyae, because they were white, and thin, and had large eyes." And Antiphanes, in his book on Courtesans, says that Nicostratis was called Aphya for the same reason. And the same Hypereides, in his speech against Mantitheus, who was being prosecuted for an assault, speaks in the following manner respecting Glycera- "Bringing with him Glycera the daughter of Thalassis in a pair-horse chariot." But it is uncertain whether this is the same Glycera who was the mistress of Harpalus; concerning whom Theopompus speaks in his treatise On the Chian Letter, saying that after the death of Pythionice, Harpalus sent for Glycera to come to him from Athens; and when she came, she lived in the palace which is at Tarsus, and was honoured with royal honours by the populace, and was called queen; and an edict was issued, forbidding any one to present Harpalus with a crown, without at the same time presenting Glycera with another. And at Rhossus, he went so far as to erect a brazen statue of her by the side of his own statue. And Cleitarchus has given the same account in his History of Alexander. But the author of Agen, a satyric drama, (whoever he was, whether it was Python of Catana, or king Alexander himself;) says-
  And now they say that Harpalus has sent them
  Unnumbered sacks of corn, no fewer than
  Those sent by Agen, and is made a citizen:
  But this was Glycera's corn, and it may be
  Ruin to them, and not a harlot's earnest.

[51.] G   And Lysias, in his oration against Lais, if, indeed, the speech is a genuine one, mentions these circumstances- "Philyra abandoned the trade of a harlot when she was still quite young; and so did Scione, and Hippaphesis, and Theocleia, and Psamathe, and Lagisca, and Antheia." But perhaps, instead of Antheia, we ought to read Anteia. For I do not find any mention made by any one of a harlot named Antheia. But there is a whole play named after Anteia, by either Eunicus or Philyllius. And the author of the oration against Neaera, whoever he was, also mentions her. But in the oration against Philonides, who was being prosecuted for an assault, Lysias, if at least it is a genuine speech of his, mentions also a courtesan called Nais. And in his speech against Medon, for perjury, he mentions one by the name of Anticyra; but this was only a nickname given to a woman, whose real name was Hoia, as Antiphanes informs us in his treatise On Courtesans, where he says that she was called Anticyra, because she was in the habit of drinking with men who were crazy and mad; or else because she was at one time the mistress of Nicostratus the physician, and he, when he died, left her a great quantity of hellebore, and nothing else. Lycurgus, also, in his oration against Leocrates [ 1'17 ], mentions a courtesan named Eirenis, as being the mistress of Leocrates. [587] And Hypereides mentions Nanniŏn in his oration against Patrocles. And we have already mentioned that she used to be nicknamed the Goat, because she had ruined Thallus the innkeeper. And that the goats are very fond of the young shoots of the olive (θάλλοι), on which account the animal is never allowed to approach the Acropolis, and is also never sacrificed to Athene, is a fact which we shall mention hereafter. But Sophocles, in his play called The Shepherds, mentions that this animal does browse upon the young shoots, speaking as follows-
  For early in the morning, before I saw
  Any of the farmers here about,
  As I was bringing to the goat a shoot (θαλλὸν)
  Fresh plucked, I saw the army marching on
  By the projecting headland.

Alexis also mentions Nanniŏn, in his Tarentines, thus-
  But Nanniŏn is mad for love of Dionysus,-
jesting upon her as addicted to intoxication. And Menander, in his False Heracles, says-
  Did he not try to wheedle Nanniŏn?

And Antiphanes, in his treatise On Courtesans, says- "Nanniŏn was nicknamed the Proscenium, because she had a beautiful face, and used to wear very costly garments embroidered with gold, but when she was undressed she was a very bad figure. And Corone was Nanniŏn's daughter, and she was nicknamed Tethe, from her exceedingly debauched habits." Hypereides, in his oration against Patrocles, also speaks of a female flute-player named Nemeas. And we may wonder how it was that the Athenians permitted a courtesan to have such a name, which was that of a most honourable and solemn festival. For not only those who prostituted themselves, but all other slaves also were forbidden to take such names as that, as Polemon tells us, in his treatise on the Acropolis.

[52.] G   The same Hypereides also mentions my Ocimŏn, as you call her, O Cynulcus, in his second oration against Aristagora, speaking thus- "As Lais, who appears to have been superior in beauty to any woman who had ever been seen, and Ocimŏn, and Metaneira." And Nicostratus, a poet of the middle comedy, mentions her also in his Pandrosus, where he says
  Then go the same way to Aerope,
  And bid her send some clothes immediately,
  And brazen vessels, to fair Ocimŏn.

And Menander, in his comedy called The Flatterer, gives the following catalogue of courtesans-
  Chrysis, Corone, Ischas, and Anticyra,
  And the most beautiful Nannariŏn,-
  All these you had.

And Philetaerus, in his Female Hunter, says-
  Is not Cercope now extremely old.
  Three thousand years at least! and is not Telesis,
  Diopeithes' ugly daughter, three times that?
  And as for old Theolyte, no man
  Alive can tell the date when she was horn.
  Then did not Lais persevere in her trade
  Till the last day of her life? and Isthmias,
  Neaera too, and Phila, grew quite rotten.
  I need not mention all the Cossyphae,
  Galenae, and Coronae; nor will I
  Say aught of Nais, as her teeth are gone.

And Theophilus, in his Amateur of the Flute, says-
  Lest he should with disastrous shipwreck fall
  Into Meconis, Lais, or Sisymbriŏn
  Or Barathrŏn, or Thallusa, or any other
  With whom the panders bait their nets for youths,
  . . . Nanniŏn, or Malthace.

[53.] G   [588] Now when Myrtilus had uttered all this with extreme volubility, he added:- May no such disaster befall you, O philosophers, who even before the rise of the sect called Hedonists, yourselves broke down the wall of pleasure, as Eratosthenes somewhere or other expresses it. And indeed I have now quoted enough of the smart sayings of the courtesans, and I will pass on to another topic.  # And first of all, I will speak of that most devoted lover of truth, Epicurus, who, never having been initiated into the encyclic series of learning, used to say that those were well off who applied themselves to philosophy in the same way in which he did himself; and these were his words- "I praise and congratulate you, my young man, because you have come over to the study of philosophy unimbued with any system." On which account Timon styles him-
  The most unlettered schoolmaster alive.

Now, had not this very Epicurus Leontiŏn for his mistress, her, I mean, who was so celebrated as a courtesan? But she did not cease to live as a prostitute when she began to learn philosophy, but still prostituted herself to the whole sect of Epicureans in the gardens, and to Epicurus himself, in the most open manner; so that this great philosopher was exceedingly fond of her, though he mentions this fact in his letters to Hermarchus.

[54.] G   But as for Lais of Hyccara- (and Hyccara is a city in Sicily, from which place she came to Corinth, having been made a prisoner of war, as Polemon relates in the sixth book of his Reply to Timaeus: and Aristippus was one of her lovers, and so was Demosthenes the orator, and Diogenes the Cynic: and it was also said that the Aphrodite, which is at Corinth, and is called Melaenis, appeared to her in a dream, intimating to her by such an appearance that she would be courted by many lovers of great wealth;)- Lais, I say, is mentioned by Hypereides, in the second of his speeches against Aristagora. And Apelles the painter, having seen Lais while she was still a maiden, drawing water at the fountain Peirene, and marvelling at her beauty, took her with him on one occasion to a banquet of his friends. And when his companions laughed at him because he had brought a maiden with him to the party, instead of a courtesan, he said - "Do not wonder, for I will show you that she is quite beautiful enough for future enjoyment within three years." And a prediction of this sort was made by Socrates also, respecting Theodote the Athenian, as Xenophon tells us in his Memorabilia [ 3.11 ], for he used to say- "That she was very beautiful, and had a bosom finely shaped beyond all description. And let us," said he, "go and see the woman; for people cannot judge of beauty by hearsay." But Lais was so beautiful, that painters used to come to her to copy her bosom and her breasts. And Lais was a rival of Phryne, and had an immense number of lovers, never caring whether they were rich or poor, and never treating them with any insolence.

[55.] G   And Aristippus every year used to spend whole days with her in Aegina, at the festival of Poseidon. And once, being reproached by his servant, who said to him- "You give her such large sums of money, but she admits Diogenes the Cynic for nothing" he answered, "I give Lais a great deal, that I myself may enjoy her, and not that no one else may." And when Diogenes said, "Since you, O Aristippus, cohabit with a common prostitute, either, therefore, become a Cynic yourself, as I am, or else abandon her;" Aristippus answered him- "Does it appear to you, O Diogenes, an absurd thing to live in a house where other men have lived before you ?" "Not at all," said he. "Well, then, does it appear to you absurd to sail in a ship in which other men have sailed before you?" "By no means," said he. "Well, then," replied Aristippus, "it is not a bit more absurd to be in love with a woman with whom many men have been in love already."

And Nymphodorus the Syracusan, in his treatise on People who have been admired and eminent in Sicily, [589] says that Lais was a native of Hyccara, which he describes as a strong fortress in Sicily. But Strattis, in his play entitled The Macedonians or Pausanias, says that she was a Corinthian, in the following lines-
  (A)   Where do these girls come from, and who are they?
  (B)   At present they are come from Megara,
  But they by birth are all Corinthians:
  This one is Lais, who is so well known.

And Timaeus, in the thirteenth book of his History, says she came from Hyccara, (using the word in the plural number;) as Polemon has stated, where he says that she was murdered by some women in Thessaly, because she was beloved by a Thessalian of the name of Pausanias; and that she was beaten to death, out of envy and jealousy, by wooden footstools in the temple of Aphrodite; and that from this circumstance that temple is called the temple of the impious Aphrodite; and that her tomb is shown on the banks of the Peneus, having on it an emblem of a stone water-ewer, and this inscription-
  This is the tomb of Lais, to whose beauty,
  Equal to that of heavenly goddesses,
  The glorious and unconquered Greece did bow;
  Love was her father, Corinth was her home,
  Now in the rich Thessalian plain she lies ;-
so that those men talk nonsense who say that she was buried in Corinth, near the Craneium.

→ Following pages (589-597)


Attalus' home page   |   29.02.16   |   Any comments?