), a celebrated Athenian courtezan, daughter of Cleanor.
She commenced her career as a flute-player on the stage, in which profession she attained considerable celebrity, but afterwards abandoned it for that of a hetaera. We know not by what accident she found herself on board of the fleet of Ptolemy at the great sea-fight off Salamis (B. C. 306), but it was on that occasion that she fell into the hands of the young Demetrius, over whom she quickly obtained the most unbounded influence. Though then already past her prime, she so completely captivated the young prince, that her sway continued unbroken for many years, notwithstanding the numerous rivals with whom she had to contend.
It was apparently not so much to her beauty as to her wit and talents that she owed her power: the latter were celebrated by the comic writers as well as the historians of the period, and many anecdotes concerning her have been transmitted to us by Plutarch and Athenaeus. Like most persons of her class, she was noted for her profusion, and the magnificence of the banquets which she gave to Demetrius was celebrated even in those times of wanton extravagance.
In one instance, however, she is recorded to have made a better use of the treasures which were lavished upon her by her lover with almost incredible profusion, and built a splendid portico for the citizens of Sicyon, probably at the period when their city was in great measure rebuilt by Demetrius. Among the various flatteries invented by the Athenians to please Demetrius was that of consecrating a temple in honour of Lamia, under the title of Aphrodite, and their example was followed by the Thebans. (Plut. Demetr. 16
; Athen. 3.101
, iv. p. 128, vi. p. 253, xiii. p. 577, xiv. p. 615; Ael. VH 12.17
According to Athenaeus, she had a daughter by Demetrius, who received the name of Phila. Diogenes Laertius (5.76) mentions that Demetrius Phalereus also cohabited with a woman named Lamia, whom he calls an Athenian of noble birth. If this story be not altogether a mistake, which seems not improbable, the Lamia meant must be distinct from the subject of the present article.