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Laïs

Λαΐς). The name of two celebrated Grecian hetaerae, or courtesans.


1.

The elder, a native probably of Corinth, lived in the time of the Peloponnesian War, and was celebrated as the most beautiful woman of that age. She was notorious also for her avarice and caprice. One of her lovers was the Cyrenaic philosopher Aristippus, two of whose works were inscribed with her name. In her old age she took to drink. At her death she was buried in Corinth, and over her was placed a monument representing a lioness tearing a ram. So much was her reputation a part of that of her city that there arose the proverb οὐ Κόρινθος οὔτε Λαΐς. A number of anecdotes regarding her are preserved in Athenaeus.


2.

The younger daughter of Timandra, probably born at Hyccara in Sicily. According to some accounts she was brought to Corinth when seven years old, having been taken prisoner in the Athenian expedition to Sicily, and bought by a Corinthian. This story, however, involves numerous difficulties, and seems to have arisen from a confusion between this Laïs and the other woman of the same name. She was a contemporary and rival of Phryné (q.v.). She became enamoured of a Thessalian named Hippolochus, or Hippostratus, and accompanied him to Thessaly, where, it is said, some Thessalian women, jealous of her beauty, enticed her into a temple of Aphrodité, and there stoned her to death (Pausan. ii. 2, 5).

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