The Deipnosophists of Athenaeus of Naucratis

Book XIII Concerning Women

(Page II)


Now in Lacedaemon, as Polemon the geographer says in his work, On the dedicatory offerings in Lacedaemon, there is an image of the notorious courtesan Cottina who, he says, dedicated a bronze cow; he writes as follows: "Further, there is the small image of the courtesan Cottina, who made such a sensation that even today a brothel is named after her, very near Colone, where the temple of Dionysus is; the house is conspicuous and well-known to many inhabitants of the city. Her votive offering, beyond the statue of Athena of the Bronze House, consists of a small bronze cow and the small image of herself before mentioned." Now Alcibiades the beauty, -- of whom a comic poet has said: "Alcibiades, that dainty one, Oh Earth and Gods! whom Lacedaemon wants to arrest as an adulterer," -- although he was loved by the wife of Agis, used to leave the married women of Sparta and Attica alone to break in at the doors of prostitutes. For example, he conceived a passion for Medontis of Abydus on mere report of her charms, and sailing to the Hellespont in company with Axiochus, who was captivated by Alcibiades' beauty, as the orator Lysias asserts in the speech against him, he shared her with Axiochus. And further, Alcibiades always led about with him two other prostitutes, Damasandra, mother of the younger Lais, and Theodote; the latter, when he died as the result of a plot by Pharnabazus, gave him burial in Melissa, a village of Phrygia. We, too, saw the monument to Alcibiades in Melissa when we were on our way from Synnada to Metropolis; at this monument an ox is sacrificed every year by express command of the Emperor Hadrian, most noble in all things, who even set up at the monument an image of Alcibiades in Parian marble.

We need not wonder that people have fallen in love with others on mere report, seeing that Chares of Mytilene in the tenth book of his Histories of Alexander asserts that many, having seen in a dream certain persons whom they had never seen before, fell in love with them; he writes as follows: "Hystaspes had a younger brother named Zariadres; concerning both of them the natives say that they were the sons of Aphrodite and Adonis. Now Hystaspes was overlord of Media and the territory below it, whereas Zariadres ruled over the region above the Caspian gates, as far as the Tanais river. And Homartes, who was king of the Marathi, beyond the Tanais, had a daughter named Odatis; of her it is recorded in the histories that she saw Zariadres in a dream and became enamoured of him, while the same passion for her attacked him in the same way. At any rate they continued to long for each other in the imaginings of sleep. Now Odatis was the most beautiful woman in Asia, and Zariadres also was handsome. So Zariadres sent to Homartes in his eager desire to marry the woman, but Homartes would not agree to the match, because he lacked male children and wanted to give her to a male of his own household. After a brief interval Homartes gathered the princes of the kingdom together with his friends and relatives, and proceeded to celebrate the nuptials without announcing to whom he intended to give his daughter. Well, when the drinking was at its height the father summoned Odatis to the symposium, and in the hearing of the guests he said: 'My daughter Odatis, today we are celebrating your nuptials. Look around, therefore, and after inspecting all the men take a gold cup, fill it with wine, and give it to the man to whom you wish to be married; for his wife you shall be called.' And the poor girl, after looking all around, turned away in tears, yearning as she did to see Zariadres; for she had warned him that the nuptials were to be celebrated. He, meanwhile, was encamped at the Tanais river, which he crossed without the knowledge of his army, and accompanied solely by his chariot-driver he started off at night in his chariot, traversing a large territory for a distance of about 800 stades. And getting near the village in which they were celebrating the nuptials he left the chariot-driver with the chariot in a certain place and proceeded on his way disguised in Scythian clothes. Passing into the court he spied Odatis standing in front of the sideboard weeping, while she slowly mixed the cup; and taking his stand beside her he said, 'Odatis, I am here according to your desire, I, Zariadres.' And she, perceiving a stranger there who was at once handsome and like the one she had seen in her sleep, was overjoyed, and gave the cup to him; he, catching her up, carried her off to his chariot and escaped with Odatis as his bride. Meanwhile the slaves and the serving-maids, conscious that this was a love affair, lapsed into silence, and although the father commanded them to speak out they professed not to know where the young man had gone. Now this love affair is held in remembrance among the barbarians who live in Asia and it is exceedingly popular; in fact they picture this story in their temples and palaces and even in private dwellings; and most princes bestow the name Odatis on their own daughters."

Aristotle, also, records the occurrence of a similar affair in his Constitution of Massilia, writing as follows: "The people of Phocaea, in Ionia, devoted as they were to commerce, founded Massilia. Euxenus of Phocaea was a friend of the king, Nannus (for that was his name). This Nannus was celebrating his daughter's nuptials when, by chance, Euxenus arrived and was invited in to attend the festival banquet. Now the marriage was to be conducted in the following manner: after the dinner the girl was to come in and mix a cup and give it to any one of the suitors present that she desired; and he to whom she gave it was to be bridegroom. When the girl entered she gave the cup, whether by accident or for some other reason, to Euxenus; the girl's name was Petta. When this befell, the father, believing that her giving the cup had been done by divine sanction, thought it only right that Euxenus should have her, so he took her to wife and lived with her, after changing her name to Aristoxene. And there is a clan in Massilia to this day descended from the woman and called Protiadae; for Protis was the son of Euxenus and Aristoxene."

Further, did not Themistocles, as Idomeneus says, yoke a chariot with prostitutes and drive them into the city when the market-place was crowded? They were Lamia, Scione, Satyra, and Nannion. Was not Themistocles himself born of a prostitute named Abrotonon? So Amphicrates records in his treatise On Famous Men: "Abrotonon was a woman Thracian-born; yet, they say, she brought forth Themistocles, that mighty hero of Greece." But Neanthes of Cyzicus, in the third and fourth books of his History of Greece, says that Themistocles was the son of Euterpe. And as for Cyrus, who made the expedition against his brother, did he not have with him on the expedition the woman of Phocaea, who was a prostitute, though she was called the most wise and most beautiful? Of her Zenophanes says that she formerly had been called Milto, but her name was changed to Aspasia. Cyrus was also accompanied by the concubine from Miletus. And did not Alexander the Great keep with him Thais, the Athenian prostitute? Cleitarchus speaks of her as having occasioned the burning of the palace at Persepolis. This Thais, after Alexander's death, was married to Ptolemy, the first king of Egypt, and bore to him Leontiscus and Lagus, also a daughter, Irene, who was married to Eunostus, the king of Soli in Cyprus. Again, the second king of Egypt surnamed Philadelphus, according to Ptolemy Euergetes in the third book of his Commentaries, had a very great number of mistresses: Didyme, one of the native Egyptian women, of very extraordinary beauty, and Bilistiche, also Agathocleia, and Stratonice, whose great monument used to stand on the seashore near Eleusis; also Myrtion and very many others, since Ptolemy had a more than ordinary leaning to affairs of love. Polybius, in the fourteenth book of his Histories, says that many images of Cleino, the girl who was his cupbearer, are set up in Alexandria, wearing only a tunic and holding a drinking-horn in her hand. And are not the finest houses, Polybius asks, named after Myrtion and Mnesis and Potheine? And yet Mnesis was a flute-girl, Potheine also was a flute-girl, while Myrtion was one of the most notorious variety-actresses before the public. And did not the prostitute Agathocleia hold sway over King Ptolemy Philopator--she who overturned his throne entirely? Eumachus of Neapolis, in the second book of his Histories of Hannibal, says that Hieronymous, the tyrant of Syracuse, took to wife one of the prostitutes from a brothel, named Peitho, and made her queen.

Timotheus, the Athenian general, was known to be the son of a prostitute of Thracian birth, otherwise respectable in her manners. For when such women change to a life of sobriety they are better than the women who pride themselves on their respectability. And when Timotheus was once jeered at because he came from such a mother he answered, "Yes, and what is more, I am grateful to her because she made me the son of Conon." Again, Philetaerus, who was king of Pergamum and that country known as Caene, is said to have been the son of a flute-girl named Boa, a prostitute of Paphlagonian birth, according to Carystius of Pergamum in his Historical Notes. And the orator Aristophon, the same who in the archonship of Eucleides proposed the law that whoever was not born of a citizen mother should be accounted illegitimate, was himself shown by the comic poet Calliades to have had children by the prostitute Choregis, as Carystius again records in the third book of his Notes. And was not Demetrius Poliorcetes passionately in love with the flute-girl Lamia, by whom also he had a daughter, Phila? Of Lamia Polemon says, in his book On the Painted Porch in Sicyon, that she was the daughter of Cleanor of Athens, and that she built for the Sicyonians the Porch in question. But Demetrius was also in love with Leaena, also an Athenian prostitute, and with a good many other women besides.

Now Machon the comic poet, in the collection entitled Bright Sayings, has the following: "With exquisite art Leaena, in lioness attitude, offered herself readily, and found much favour with Demetrius; they say that Lamia also once bestrode the king with graceful art, and received praise therefor. And she made answer thus: 'In view of that, take on Leaena too if you like!'" For Lamia was very quick and witty in repartee, like Gnathaena, of whom we shall speak. But of Lamia, again, Machon writes thus: "Once upon a time at a drinking-party, King Demetrius was showing all kinds of perfumes to Lamia. Now Lamia was a flute-girl whom, they say, Demetrius was very sweet on and for whom he itched greatly. But she rejected all the perfumes and looked with very haughty disdain upon the king; so with a nod he ordered some spikenard to be brought and kept ready, while with his hand penem fricans tangensque digitis, 'Hoc quidem, inquit, olfacito, Lamia, et senties quantum praestet aliis omnibus unguentis.' And she, with a laugh, replied, 'You wretch, I think this smells by far the most putrid of all.' But Demetrius answered: 'Yes, but as the gods are my witnesses, Lamia, I would have you know that this is made from a royal gland.'"

Ptolemy, the son of Agesarchus, in his Histories of Philopator, when giving a list of the king's mistresses says: "The mistress of Philip, who raised Macedonia to power, was the dancing-girl Philinna, by whom he became the father of Arrhidaeus, who succeeded to the throne after Alexander; of Demetrius Poliorcetes, after the women mentioned above, there was Mania; of Antigonus, Demo, who bore him Alcyoneus; and of Seleucus the Younger, there were Mysta and Nysa." But Heracleides Lembus in the thirty-sixth book of his Histories says the Demo was the mistress of Demetrius; with her, he says, Demetrius's father Antigonus fell madly in love, and he put to death Oxythemis for sharing in the many crimes of Demetrius and because Oxythemis had put to death on the rack the female attendants of Demo.

Now regarding the name Mania just mentioned, Machon has the following: "But perhaps one of my present hearers may ask, and with good reason, too, may doubt whether a woman of Attic birth was ever named or regularly called Mania. For it is scandalous, you say, that a woman should bear a Phrygian name, especially when she comes from the center of Greece, even though she be a prostitute; scandalous that the city of Athens, by whose authority all men are kept in order, should not prevent it somehow. Now the name that had been given to her from babyhood was Melitta. In height, to be sure, she fell somewhat short of the other women of her age; but with voice and conversation she was well supplied; very good-looking too, and stunning, with many lovers, both citizens and foreigners. Wherever any talk arose over this woman people would say, 'It's madness, how beautiful Melitta is!' And then she would herself proceed to put the word to further use. For whenever one made a joke she would straightway cry out that little word 'madness!' And when she herself praised anyone, or again blamed him, to both of her sentences she added 'madness.' Hence, it seems, one of her lovers lengthened the word mania (madness) and called her Mania; and so this by-word came to prevail more than her own name.

"Now it seems, as is reported, that Mania suffered from the stone; but Gnathaena, because she soiled the bedclothes, was chastised somehow for this by Diphilus. And once after this Gnathaena was reviling Mania and said, 'How about this, sister, even if you did have a stone?' Mania retorted, 'I should have given it to you, you wretch, that you might have had something with which to cleanse yourself.'"

To show that Mania was witty in her answers Machon records the following about her: "The pancratiast Leontiscus was once the lover of Mania, and kept her for himself alone like a wedded wife. He later discovered that she was being seduced by Antenor, and was very angry. But she said: 'Let that not bother you at all, sweetheart; for I just wanted to make sure and find out for myself what two athletes, victors at Olympia, could do, stroke for stroke, in a single night.'

"They say that Mania, cum clunes eius aliquando poposcisset rex Demetrius, demanded in return a favour from him. And when the king had conferred it she, after a little, turned about and said, 'Son of Agamemnon, now you may have that which you desired.'

"A foreigner who was supposed to be a slacker and had come to live in Athens once sent for Mania, paying her all that she asked. And to his drinking-party he had invited some others from the town, men accustomed to laugh always with approval in gratitude to their patrons for all they gave. The host was eager to show himself both subtle and witty, while Mania played her very best tricks, but frequently had to retire; and he, intending to jeer at her as at some scurrying hare said, 'In the name of the gods, my lads, what wild animal in the forest do you think can run the fastest?' But Mania replied, 'The slacker, my fine fellow.' When Mania, after this, had entered the room once more, she began to jeer at the slacker and said he had been a shield-caster on the occasion of some attack. The soldier, scowling not a little at this, sent her home; but after a day's interval she said, 'Don't be disturbed, dearie, at what I have said; for, as Aphrodite is my witness, it wasn't you who lost the shield when you fled, but it was the man who lent it to you that day.'

"And at a symposium, so they say, in Mania's house, one of the guests, a very vicious man, took his turn to embrace her. And when he asked, 'Do you wish to come together from before or from behind?' she said with a laugh, 'From before, good sir. For I am rather afraid that otherwise you will bite off my braids.'"

Machon has collected memorable sayings of other prostitutes as well, which it will not be out of place to record in order here. Of Gnathaena he has the following: "Diphilus, drinking once at Gnathaena's house, remarked, 'That vessel you have is cold, Gnathaena.' 'Yes,' she said, 'we make it so on purpose; for we always pour in some of your plays, Diphilus.'

"Once upon a time Diphilus was invited to Gnathaena's house, to dine, so they say, in celebration of the festival of Aphrodite; he, being the most esteemed of all her lovers (and he delighted in her passionate love for him), came with two jars of Chian, four of Thasian, perfume, wreaths, nuts, and raisins, a kid, ribbons, relishes, a cook, and after all that a flute-girl. And one of her lovers, a stranger from Syria, had sent her some snow and one saperda; she, being ashamed if any one should learn of such gifts, and most of all fearing that Diphilus might punish her by putting her in one of his comedies afterwards, ordered the dried fish to be quickly carried away to those who were indubitably in want of a dole, while the snow was to be secretly shaken up in the unmixed wine; then she directed the slave to pour out about a pint and offer the cup to Diphilus. Overjoyed, Diphilus quickly drank out the cup, and overcome by the surprising effect he cried, 'I swear, Athena and the gods bear me witness, Gnathaena, that your wine-cellar is indubitably cold.' And she replied, 'Yes, for we always take care to pour in the prologues of your plays.'

"It so happened that a rogue with the scars of a flogging rising high on his back went to bed with Gnathaena. And discovering in her embrace how rough his back was everywhere she said, 'Wretched, wretched man, how did you get these bruises?' And he answered her curtly that he got them once when he was a boy playing with some of his mates and fell into a funeral-pyre. 'Yes, by the dear Demeter,' said she; 'it was quite right, you rascal, that you should have your skin peeled off, lecher that you are.'

"Once Gnathaena was at dinner with the courtesan Dexithea, and when the latter set aside almost all the choices relishes for her mother, Gnathaena said, 'By Artemis, if I had known of this, I should have taken dinner with your mother, instead of with you, woman.'

"After Gnathaena had advanced in years and was by that time, as all agreed, nothing but a perfect corpse, they say she went out into the market-place, and as she gazed at the dainties there she kept asking how much each cost. Finally she chanced to see a very nice butcher's boy, very young in years, at the meat-scales, and she said: 'You, there, my lad, you pretty one, tell me in the gods' name how you weigh your meat?' And he replied with a smile, 'Stooping over, at the cost of threepence.' 'But who,' she said, 'will allow you, you wretch, to use Carian measures when you are in Athens?'

"Stratocles once offered to his acquaintances two kids as a free gift, but added some dishes highly seasoned with salt, expecting a redoubled thirst on the morrow on the part of those who wanted to continue their drinking into the early morning; he could then, he thought, exact the payment of large contributions. And Gnathaena, seeing one of her lovers haggling over the payments said to him, 'Stratocles can raise a storm over the kids.'

"Seeing a lad who was very lean, dark, and to all appearances exceedingly weak and emaciated, moreover shorter than the lads of his age, Gnathaena derisively called him Adonis. But when the lad jostled against her in a rude and truculent manner, she gave a meaning look at her daughter, who was walking with her, and said: 'By the two goddesses, my child, it would have been more correct...' (supply perhaps "to call him not Adonis but the Boar.")

"They say that a stripling from Pontus went to bed with Gnathaena, and when morning came he demanded clunes ut ei semel praeberet; whereat she said, 'You wretch! tu a me clunes postulas, when it is now high time you were driving out the pigs to pasture?'"

And then again, Machon records these sayings of Gnathaenion, the granddaughter of Gnathaena: "A stranger came to live in Athens, a nabob very old -- about ninety years -- who at the festival of Cronus saw Gnathaenion with Gnathaena leaving the temple of Aphrodite; and after studying her figure with its symmetries he asked how much she charged as fee for the night. Gnathaena, having an eye to his purple cloak and his lances, set the price at a thousand drachmas. But he, struck with this sudden body-blow, said, 'Alas, woman, you treat me like a prisoner of war because of my military appearance; let's make a truce; take five minae and spread a couch for us inside.' And she, since the nabob was so eager to show his powers, took him in and said: 'To me you may give anything you like, gaffer; for I know certainly and am quite confident that as the night draws on you will give it to my little girl doubled over.'

"In Athens there was a very gifted coppersmith; now Gnathaenion had about retired from her profession, and no longer wanted to be a common prostitute because she was content with Andronicus, the actor; but at the time he was away on tour -- from him she had had a male child; although, as I say, Gnathaenion did not wish to earn any fee, the coppersmith by entreaty and importunity finally won her, expending upon her a vast deal of gold. But being a rude person, completely vulgar, he, as he sat with some others in a cobbler's shop, passed the time in slandering Gnathaenion, saying that he had never consorted with her in any other way, sed ab illa se quinquies deinceps inequitatum esse. Andronicus, hearing soon after of what had happened, for he had just returned from Corinth, was angry, and in bitter reproach he said to Gnathaenion while they were drinking together, that although he had asked for this favour she had never granted him that posture, whereas others, rascally jail-birds, had revelled in it. Thereupon, they say, Gnathaenion replied: 'I did not thnk fit, you poor fool, to clasp in my arms a man who was covered with soot up to his mouth; so I gave way, after receiving a large sum in gold, and I cleverly contrived to touch the part of his person which projects farthest and is smallest.'

"Sometime afterwards, they say, Gnathaenion refused to kiss Andronicus when they were drinking together as she had always done in days gone by; she was angry because he gave her nothing. So then the actor said to her granny: 'Don't you see, Gnathaena, that your girl is treating me shamefully?' The old woman, indignant at her, said: 'You foolish child, embrace him and kiss him if he wants it.' But she replied, 'Mother, how can I kiss that fellow who is no good, that man who wants to have as a free gift under one roof all "hollow Argos"?'

"On the occasion of some festival Gnathaenion started down to the Peiraeus to meet a foreign merchant who was her lover; she did the journey cheaply on a litter, with three donkeys in all in her train, three maidservants and one young nurse. Thereupon, at a narrow place on the road, they were met by a poor wrestler, one of those who always contrive, on purpose, to be beaten in the contests. He, unable to get by them at that point easily, and jostled into a narrow corner, cried out, 'You thrice-damned ass-driver, if you don't just get out of the road I'll throw to the ground these wenches here, donkeys and litters and all.' But Gnathaenion said, 'You poor fool, not you sir! For that is something you have never yet done.'"

Continuing, Machon records this also: "They say that Lais, the Corinthian courtesan, once saw Euripides in a garden, with his writing-tablet and stilus hanging to his belt. 'O poet,' said she, 'answer, what did you mean when you wrote in a tragedy, "To perdition, you perpetrator of foul deeds?"' And Euripides, amazed at her impudence, said, 'Why, what are you yourself, woman? Are you not a perpetrator of foul deeds?' But she responded with a laugh, 'What is foul, if it seems not so to those who indulge in it?'

"Glycerium had received from one of her lovers a new summer dress (ledion, ladion) with purple border, Corinthian style, and sent it to the fuller's; later, when she thought it must be finished, she sent her maidservant with the price, bidding her fetch home the garment. But the fuller said, 'If you will hand over besides three-fourths of the oil (eladion) you may take the dress. For that is the only thing which prevents me.' When the maid reported this, Glycerium said, 'Unhappy I am with all this bother; for he must be going to fry my dress like a dish of sprats.'

"Demophon, the favourite of Sophocles, once kept as his mistress, when he himself was still young, the 'she-goat' Nico, although she was older. She was nicknamed She-goat because she had once devoured that tall lover, Greensprout Thallus; for he had come to Athens to buy dried russet-figs and take away a cargo of Hymettus honey. Now the woman in question is said to have had a very beautiful derriere, which Demophon once desired to possess. And she said with a laugh, 'Very good, dearie; take it from me and pass it on to Sophocles.'

"Callistion, who was called the Sow, was once quarrelling with her mother, whose nickname was the Crow. Gnathaena tried to reconcile them. Being asked what they were quarrelling about, she replied, 'What else, to be sure, than that the daughter of the Crow blames her for one thing, while she blames the girl for something else?'

"They say that the courtesan Hippe had as a lover Theodotus, who at that time had become Keeper of the Provender. She once, at a late hour of the day, went into the palace to have a cup with King Ptolemy; for she was in the habit of drinking with him constantly. Anyway, as she came in, very much behind time, she said: 'Ptolemy, old dear, I am awfully thirsty. Do let someone pour out for me four cups to drink, in the big jug.' Thereupon the king said: 'You mean, rather, into the feed-pan; for it seems to me, Hippe, that you have eaten up a very large bag of Provender.'

"Moerichus was asking Phryne, the courtesan from Thespiae, for her favours; when she then demanded a mina, Moerichus said, 'Too much; didn't you, the other day, stay with a stranger after you had received only two gold pieces?' 'Well then,' said she, 'you too wait until I feel like indulging myself, and I will accept that amount.'

"The story is told of Nico, the 'she-goat,' that when a man named Python had at one time abandoned her and taken up with the fat woman Euardis, only, it seems, to send for Nico again at a later time, she said to the slave who came to get her: 'Now that Python has become chockfull of pork-tenderloin, is he fit to switch round again to goat-meat?'"

Up to this point I have been giving the sayings of Machon. For our beautiful Athens produced such a quantity of courtesans, about whom I shall go on further to tell, so far as I can -- a throng such as no populous city ever yet had. At any rate, Aristophanes of Byzantium has made a list of one hundred and thirty-five; Apollodorus gives more than that, and Gorgias still more, both declaring that in the list of numerous courtesans Aristophanes has omitted the following: ..., nicknamed Tipsy, besides Lampyris and Euphrosyne; this last was a fuller's daughter. He has failed to record also Megiste, Agallis, Thaumarion, Theocleia (she was nicknamed Crow), Lenaetocystus, Astra, Gnathaena and her granddaughter Gnathaenion, besides Sige, Synoris nicknamed Lamp, Eucleia, Grymea, Thryallis, and Chimaera and Lampas. As for Gnathaena, she was madly loved by the comic poet Diphilus, as has been said before, and as Lynceus of Samos also records in his Reminiscences. Once in a dramatic contest it happened that he was shamefully defeated and 'lifted' out of the theatre, yet none the less he went to visit Gnathaena. As Diphilus bade her wash his feet Gnathaena asked, "Why need I, indeed? Haven't you come to me on your head?" Gnathaena was very quick in repartee. There were other courtesans also who thought very highly of themselves, going in for culture and apportioning their time to learned studies; hence they also were quick in making answers. For example, Stilpo was once accusing Glycera, while they were drinking together, of corrupting the young men, as Satyrus tell in his Lives, when Glycera interrupted: "We both fall under the same charge, Stilpo. For they say that you corrupt all who meet you by teaching them good-for-nothing, eristic sophistries, while I in like manner teach them erotic. It makes no difference, therefore, to people who are ruined and injured, whether they live in the company of a philosopher or of a courtesan." In fact, as Agathon says: "Truly a woman, just because she is inactive in body, need not for that reason carry an inactive mind within her."

Lynceus has recorded many of Gnathaena's retorts. To a parasite who was kept by an old woman and who was very stout of body, Gnathaena said, "Your body is in very nice condition, laddie." "What, then, do you think it would be if I didn't have another bedfellow to sleep with?" "You would have died of famine." When Pausanias, the "Tank," fell into a jar as he was dancing she said, "The tank has fallen into the jar." When some one poured into her cup, which was small, some small wine, with the remark that it was sixteen years old, she said, "It's small indeed, considering how many years old it is." When some lads in their cups had come to blows with each other in a quarrel over her, she said to the one who was beaten, "Cheer up, kid; for the prize of this contest is not laurel, but silver." Since the man who had paid the pound to her daughter failed to bring any more, but still kept coming to her empty-handed, she said, "Kid, do you think you can keep on coming to her as you would to Hippomachus the athletic trainer, when you have paid only a pound?"

Once Phryne said rather sourly to her, "Suppose you had the stone?" She retorted, "I'd have given it to you to wipe yourself with." For it so happened that one of them was reputed to have the stone, while the other was said to suffer from diarrhoea. When the men who were drinking in her house crashed into a dish of bulbs and lentils, the slave girl, while cleaning it up, thrust some of the lentils into her bosom, at which Gnathaena remarked, "She's planning to make a dish of bosom-lentils." Andronicus, the tragic actor, after a performance of the Epigoni in which he had won applause, proposed to have a drinking-bout in her house; when his slave bade Gnathaena to pay the expenses in advance she quoted, "'Cursed slave, what word hast thou spoken!'" To a garrulous person who was relating that he had come all the way from the Hellespont she said, "How, then, did you fail to reach the first town on that route?" He asked, "Which town?" She said, "Sigeium." Once a man who entered her house saw some eggs on a platter and asked, "Are these raw, Gnathaena, or boiled?" She said, "They are bronzed, laddie." When Chaerephon came to dinner uninvited, Gnathaena pledged a cup to him and said, "Take it, proud man." And he, "I, proud?" "Who more so," said Gnathaena, "seeing that you don't even come invited?" Nico, the woman who was nicknamed She-Goat, as Lynceus says, met a parasite who was thin as a result of illness and said to him, "How skinny you are!" "Why, yes; what do you think I have had to eat in the last three days?" "Either your oil bottle," she said, "or your shoes."

The courtesan Metaneira, when the parasite Democles, nicknamed Hardbottle, tumbled into a heap of plaster, said to him, "Really, you have consigned yourself to a place where there are plenty of pebbles." And when he leaped across to the neighbouring couch she said, "Look out that you don't get upset." This is recorded by Hegesander. And Aristodemus, in the second book of his Ludicrous Memoirs, says of Gnathaena: "Two men, a soldier and a jail-bird, engaged her services; the soldier very rudely called her a lake, at which she asked, 'Just how do you mean? Is it because you two streams empty into me, -- the Wolf River and the Free River?' Some indigent lovers assailed in drunken revel the daughter of Gnathaena, threatening to demolish her house; for, said they, they had brought mattocks and picks. 'If you really had them,' said Gnathaena, 'you might have put them in pawn and so sent us our pay.'" For Gnathaena was very adept and humorous in making reply; she had, in fact, compiled a Rule for Dining in Company (which lovers who came to her and to her daughter must follow) in imitation of the philosophers who have drawn up similar rules. Callimachus has recorded it in the third "tablet" of his Rules, citing the beginning of it as follows: "The Rule here written down is equal and fair for all" -- three hundred and twenty-three lines.

Callistion, she who was nicknamed Beggar-Helen, was once engaged by a jail-bird. It being summer, he lay down stripped so that she saw the marks of flogging and asked, "How did you get these, you poor wretch?" He replied, "When I was a lad some hot broth was spilled on me." She said, "Obviously veal-broth." The poet Menander having met with bad luck entered the house of Glycera, who brought him some boiled milk and urged him to drink it down. But he said, "I don't want it." For there was scum on the top of it. She said, "Blow it off and use what's underneath." To a bragging lover who had borrowed cups from many persons and who said that he wanted to smash them up and make others of them, Thais said, "You will only spoil the peculiar character of each." Leontion was reclining at dinner with a lover when Glycera came into the symposium later; and when the lover paid more devoted attention to her, Leontion looked downcast. Her friend, turning toward her, asked what pained her. She replied, "The last comer gives me a pain!" A lover once sent his seal to Lais of Corinth with the command to attend him. But she said, "I can't; it's only clay." Thais was once on her way to a lover who smelt like a goat, and when some one asked her where she was going she said: "To stay with Aegeus the son of Pandion." Phryne, dining once with a man who smelt like a goat, picked up a piece of skin from a pig and said, "Take that and eat it." When one of her friends sent her some wine which, though good, was small in quantity, explaining that it was ten years old, she said, "Small indeed, considering how many years old it is." A question being raised at a drinking-party why people hang up wreaths, she said, "Because they lure the spirits." A certain jail-bird tried to tease her by saying that he had been embraced by many, whereupon she affected to be downcast. When he asked her the reason she said "I am provoked at you for having so many." A stingy lover, by way of flattery, said to her, "You are Praxiteles' little Aphrodite." She retorted, "You are Pheidias's Cupid."

Inasmuch as I know, too, of some statesmen who mention courtesans either by way of accusation or of defence, I will quote the statesmen also. Demosthenes, for example, in his Speech against Androtion mentions Sinope and Phanostrate. Concerning Sinope Herodicus, of the school of Crates, says in the sixth book of his Persons Mentioned In Comedy that she was called Abydus because she was an old hag. She is mentioned also by Antiphanes in The Arcadian, The Gardener, The Sempstress, She Goes a-Fishing, and The Chick; by Alexis in Cleobuline, and by Callicrates in Moschion. Concerning Phanostrate Apollodorus in his work On the Athenian Courtesans says the she was nicknamed Louse-Gate because she picked lice from herself as she stood at her door. Hypereides says in the Speech against Aristagora: "And again, the women who are called 'Anchovies' -- you called her by the same name." "Anchovies" is a name given to courtesans, of whom Apollodorus, whom I have just quoted, says: "Stagonion and Anthis were sisters; they were called Anchovies because they were of light colour, thin, and had large eyes." And Antiphanes in his work On Courtesans says that Nicostratis was nicknamed Anchovy for the same reason. Hypereides, again, in the Speech against Mantitheus, in an action for assault, has this to say about Glycera: "Taking with him Glycera, daughter of Thalassis, in a chariot and pair." It is uncertain whether she is the Glycera who lived with Harpalus; of her Theopompus says, in his treatise On the Chian Letter, that after the death of Pythionice Harpalus summoned Glycera from Athens; on her arrival she took up her residence in the palace at Tarsus and had obeisance done to her by the populace, being hailed as queen; further, all persons were forbidden to honour Harpalus with a crown unless they also gave a crown to Glycera. In Rhossus they even went so far as to set up an image of her in bronze beside his own. The like is recorded also by Cleitarchus in his Histories of Alexander. The author of Agen, the little satyric drama, whether it be Python of Catana or King Alexander himself, say: "A. And yet I hear that Harpalus has sent over to them thousands of bushels of grain, as many as Agen sent, and so was made a citizen. B. This grain was Glycera's, but it will doubtless turn out to be their death-warrant, and not merely a whore's earnest money."

Lysias in the Speech against Lais, if it is really genuine, mentions these courtesans: "Phylira, at least, ceased whoring when still a young woman, and so did Scione, Hippaphesis, Theocleia, Psamathe, Lagisca, and Antheia." Perhaps for Antheia we should write Anteia. For we cannot find in any author the name Antheia recorded as that of a courtesan, whereas from Anteia an entire play takes its title, as I have said above, the Anteia of Eunicus or Philyllius. And the writer of the Speech against Neaera also mentions her. In the Speech against Philonides, an action for forcible seizure, Lysias, if it be genuine, mentions also the courtesan Nais, and in that Against Medon, an action for perjury, Anticyra. Now this was an epithet given to the courtesan; for her real name was Oia, as Aristophanes says in his work On Courtesans, alleging that she was called Anticyra either because she joined the drinking bouts of men who were insane with passion, or because the physician Nicostratus took her up and at his death bequeathed to her a large quantity of hellebore, but nothing else. Lycurgus, further, in his Speech against Leocrates, mentions a courtesan named Eirenis as one who was kept by Leocrates. As for Nannion, Hypereides mentions her in the Speech against Patrocles. That she was nicknamed Goat because she had wasted the substance of Sprout the huckster we have stated above. Now that she-goats enjoy a green branch, for which reason the creature is not allowed to range on the Acropolis and consequently is never sacrificed to Athena at all, will be a matter for another discussion. Sophocles, at least, says in The Shepherds that the creature is a branch-eater in these words: "Early in the morning, indeed, before I could see any of the farmer-folk about, I was offering a fresh-cut branch to a she-goat when I saw an army marching along the height by the sea." Nannion is mentioned also by Alexis in The Tarentines thus: "And Nannion is mad over Dionysus," thus satirizing her as a drunken tippler. Also Menander in Sham-Heracles says: "Did he not try to rape Nannion?" Antiphanes in his work On Courtesans says: "Nannion was nicknamed Proscenium because, although she had a pretty face and wore gold jewelry and expensive clothes, when she stripped she was very ugly. Now there was a daughter of Nannion named Corone (Crow) who acquired the name Grandmother because she was a whore throughout three generations." Again, Nemeas the flute-girl is mentioned by Hypereides in the Speech against Patrocles. Concerning her one may rightly wonder how the Athenians permitted the whore to be so called, since the name she had assumed was that of a highly-revered festival; for the adoption of such names as these had been forbidden, not only to women practising prostitution, but also to other women of the slave class, as Polemon declares in his work On the Acropolis. And my own Ocimon, as you call her, Cynulcus, is mentioned by Hypereides in the second Speech against Aristagora, in these words: "Wherefore, Lais, who was reputed to excel in looks all women who had ever yet lived, and Ocimon, and Metaneira,..." Also Nicostratus, the poet of the Middle Comedy, in Pandrosus, speaking as follows: "After that, says he, go by the same street to Aerope and bid her send spreads for the couches, and from Ocimon get bronze dishes." Menander, again, in The Flatterer, gives a list of courtesans as follows: "Chrysis, Corone, Anticyra, Ischas, and tiny Nannion you have possessed -- the last a very great beauty." Philetaerus in The Huntress: "Has not Cercope by this time grown to be three thousand years old, and Diopeithes' foul Telesis another ten thousand? As for Theolyte, nobody even knows the time when she first came to birth. Did not Lais die at the end from excessive commerce? and have not Isthmias and Neaera and Phila rotted away? As for all the Cossyphes, Galenes, and Corones, I say nothing; and concerning Nais I am dumb; she has no molars left." Theophilus in He Liked to Play the Flute: "To prevent him from falling pell-mell into the clutches of Lais or Meconis or Sisymbrion or Barathron or Thallusa or one of those women, in whose nets the pimps entangle one,... or Nausion or Malthace."

After this long recital, spoken with some volubility, Myrtilus said: I hope you philosophers will not be like that -- you who in your own lives anticipated the so-called Voluptuaries in "undermining the wall of Pleasure," as Eratosthenes has expressed it somewhere. As for me, let the clever retorts of courtesans be brought to a close at this point; for I am going to shift the discussion to another topic. And first of all I will recall Epicurus, who is distinguished for his candour; for, being himself unitiated in the mysteries of a general education, he congratulated those who went in for philosophy as he had, giving vent to such words as these: "I congratulate you, sir, on having gone in for philosophy while innocent of all education." Whence Timon even calls him "pettifogging school-teacher, most ill-bred of living men." Well, did not this same Epicurus keep Leontion as his mistress, the woman who had become notorious as a strumpet? Why! Even when she began to be a philosopher, she did not cease her strumpet ways, but consorted with all the Epicureans in their gardens, and even before the very eyes of Epicurus; wherefore he, poor devil, was really worried about her, as he makes clear in his Letters to Hermarchus.

Then there was Lais from Hyccara (this is a Sicilian town, from which she was brought as a captive to Corinth, as recorded by Polemon in the sixth book of his Reply to Timaeus; she became the mistress of Aristippus, of the orator Demosthenes, and of Diogenes the Cynic; to her the Aphrodite of Corinth, who is called Melaenis, appeared by night and revealed the coming of wealthy lovers); does not Hypereides mention her in his second Speech against Aristagora? The painter Apelles caught sight of her when she was still a maid carrying water from the fountain of Peirene, and, struck by her beauty, he took her with him once to a symposium of his friends. And when they jeered at him for having brought to a symposium not a professional courtesan, but a maid, he replied, "Don't be surprised; for I want to show you that her beauty is a promise of enjoyment to come in less, altogether, than three years." Socrates, also, divined the same promise in the case of Theodote of Athens, as Xenophon says in his Memorabilia: "When someone remarked that she was very beautiful and had a bosom beyond the power of any tongue to describe Socrates said, 'We must go to see the woman; for it is not possible to judge her beauty by hearsay.'" So beautiful was Lais that painters came to her and copied her breasts and chest. In her rivalry with Phryne at one time she had a large crowd of lovers, making no distinction between rich and poor, nor treating them disdainfully.

Aristippus every year spent two months with Lais in Aegina, at the time of Poseidon's festival; and being reproached by Hicetas because, as he said, "you give her so much money, whereas she wallows with Diogenes the Cynic for nothing," he answered: "I give Lais many bounties that I may enjoy her myself, not that I may prevent another from doing so." When Diogenes said to him: "Aristippus, you cohabit with a common whore. Either, then, you should be a Cynic like me, or stop it entirely," Aristippus said, "You don't think it out of place, Diogenes, to live in a house in which other men have lived before?" "Not at all," he replied. "How about sailing in a ship in which many have sailed?" "Nor that either," he said. "That being the case, then, it isn't out of place to consort with a woman whom many have enjoyed."

Nymphodorus of Syracuse, in The Wonders of Sicily, says that Lais came from Hyccarum, a Sicilian outpost. But Strattis in The Macedonians or Pausanias, says she was a Corinthian, in these lines: "A. Whence come these girls, and who are they? B. Just now they have come from Megara, but they are Corinthian; first there is Lais here, belonging to Megacles." Timaeus, however, says in the thirteenth book of his Histories that she was from Hyccara; this agrees with Polemon, who says that she was murdered by some women in Thessaly; she had fallen in love with a Thessalian named Pausanias, and through envy and jealousy was beaten to death with wooden footstools in a temple of Aphrodite. Hence, he further says, the precinct came to be called that of Sinful Aphrodite. Her tomb is shown beside the Peneius river, bearing a stone water-jar and the following epigram: "Time was when proud Hellas, invincible in might, was enslaved by the divine beauty of Lais here, whom Eros begot and Corinthus nourished; now she lies in the glorious plains of Thessaly." Hence those who say that she is buried in Corinth beside the Cornel Grove are inventing the story.

As for Aristotle of Stageira, did he not beget Nicomachus from the courtesan Herpyllis and live with her until his death? So says Hermippus in the first book of his work On Aristotle, adding that she received fitting provision by the terms of the philosopher's will. And was not our noble Plato in love with Archeanassa, the courtesan of Colophon? So much so that he sang these lines to her: "Archeanassa, the courtesan of Colophon, is mine, though upon her wrinkles now rests a passion bitter. Ah, ye wretches who encountered her youth in its first course, through what hot flame did ye pass!" Again, take the Olympian Pericles, as Clearchus says in the first book of his Love Stories: "On account of Aspasia -- not the younger, but the one who associated with Socrates -- although he had acquired so eminent a reputation for political sagacity and influence, did he not for her sake, throw all Greece into turmoil? He was a man in fact very prone to love affairs. Why! He even consorted with his son's wife, as Stesimbrotus of Thasos, who lived at the same period as Pericles and had seen him, records in the book entitled On Themistocles, Thucydides, and Pericles. Antisthenes the Socratic says that when in love with Aspasia he would go in and out of her house twice a day to greet the wench, and once, when she was prosecuted on a charge of impiety he, while pleading in her behalf, wept more tears than when his life and property were endangered. Again, when Cimon consorted unlawfully with his sister Elpinice and she was later given in marriage to Callias, after Cimon had been sent into exile, Pericles took as the price of Cimon's restoration the privilege of lying with Elpinice. Pythaenetus in the third book of his work On Aegina says that Periander saw in Epidauras the daughter of Procles, Melissa, dressed in the Peloponnesian fashion (that is, she wore no cloak, but was clad in a simple tunic while she acted as wine-pourer for the workmen in the fields) and falling in love he married her. As for Pyrrhus, the king of Epeirus, third in descent from the Pyrrhus who invaded Italy, his mistress was Tigris of Leucadia, whom Olympias, the young man's mother, murdered with poison."

Thereupon Ulpian, as though pouncing upon a lucky find, asked, while Myrtilus was still speaking, where we have the word 'tigris' (tiger) used as a masculine. For I know that Philemon has the following in Neaera: "A. Just as Seleucus sent hither the tigress, which we ourselves have seen, so we in turn ought to send to Seleucus some beast of ours. B. Ha, a wild trygeranus! For that monster isn't found there." In answer to Ulpian Myrtilus said: Since you broke in upon us when I was making a catalogue of women -- though not comparable with the Or Such Men As of Sosicrates of Phanagoreia or the Catalogue of Women by Nicaenetus of Samos or Abdera -- I will pause for a bit and attend to your question, Phoenix, my venerable father." Learn, therefore, that 'tiger' occurs as a masculine word in Alexis's Fire-Lighter thus: "Open the door, open! Long have I been going about without knowing that I was a mere statue, a grindstone, a hippopotamus, a wall, Seleucus's tiger." But though I have other testimony, I postpone quoting it for the present until I have recited the list of beautiful women. For Clearchus has the following about Epameinondas: "Epameinondas of Thebes was wont to speak more solemnly than these whom I have mentioned, yet in his actual relations with women he by indecency failed to measure up to his sentiments, if one considers what he did in the affair with the Lacedaemonian's wife." And Hypereides the orator, after casting away his son Glaucippus from the ancestral home, took up with Myrrhine, the most costly of all prostitutes, and kept her in Athens, while in the Peiraeus he kept Aristagora, and in Eleusis Phila, whom he purchased for a very large sum of money and kept as a freed-woman, later making her even mistress of his household, as Idomeneus records. In his speech, also, In Defence of Phryne, he confesses that he was in love with the woman and had not even then ceased from his passion when he brought the aforesaid Myrrhine into his house.

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