1. The elder Lais, a native probably of Corinth. Athenaeus (xiii. p. 588) says that she was born at Hyccara, in Sicily, but he has probably confounded her with her younger namesake, the daughter of Timandra (Athen. 12. 535
, c. xiii. p. 574e.
); for Timandra, as we know from Plutarch (Plut. Alc. 39
), was a native of Hyccara.
The elder Lais lived in the time of the Peloponnesian war, and was celebrated as the most beautiful woman of her age. Her figure was especially admired. (Athen. 13.587
d. 588, e.)
She was notorious also for her avarice and caprice. (Athen. 13.570
, ch. 588
. ch. 585, d.
) Amongst her numerous lovers she numbered the philosopher Aristippus. (Ath. 12.544
), two of whose works were entitled Πρὸς Λαΐδα
, and Πρὸς Λαΐδα περὶ του κατόπτρου
. (D. L. 2.84
She fell in love with and offered her hand to Eubotas, of Cyrene [EUBOTAS], who, after his victory at Olympia, fulfilled his promise of taking her with him to Cyrene, in word only--he took with him her portrait. (Aelian, Ael. VH 10.2
; Clemens Alex. Strom.
iii. p. 447c.)
In her old age she became addicted to drinking. Of her death various stories were told. (Athen. 13.570
b. d. 587, e.; Phot. cod. cxc. p. 146, 23, ed. Bekker.)
She died at Corinth, where a monument (a lioness tearing a ram) was erected to her, in the cypress grove called the Κράνειον
. (Paus. 2.2.4
; Athen. 13.589
c.) Numerous anecdotes of her were current, but they are not worth relating here. (Athen. 13.582
; Auson. Epig.
17.) Lais presenting her looking-glass to Aphrodite was a frequent subject of epigrams. (Brunck. Anal.
i. p. 170, 7, ii. p. 494, 5; Anthol. Pal.
6.1, 19.) Her fame was still fresh at Corinth in the time of Pausanias (2.2.5
), and οὐ Κόρινθος οὔτε Λαίς
became a proverb. (Athen. 4.137