And Philemon, in his Brothers, relates that Solon at first, on account of the unbridled passions of the young, made a law that women might be brought to be prostituted at brothels; as Nicander of Colophon also states, in the third book of his History of the Affairs of Colophon,—saying that [p. 911] he first erected a temple to the Public Venus with the money which was earned by the women who were prostituted at these brothels. But Philemon speaks on this subject as follows:—
But you did well for every man, O Solon;And Aspasia, the friend of Socrates, imported great numbers of beautiful women, and Greece was entirely filled with her courtesans; as that witty writer Aristophanes (in his Acharnenses1) relates,—saying, that the Peloponnesian war was excited by Pericles, on account of his love for Aspasia, and on account of the girls who had been carried away from her by the Megarians.
For they do say you were the first to see
The justice of a public-spirited measure,
The saviour of the state—(and it is fit
For me to utter this avowal, Solon);—
You, seeing that the state was full of men,
Young, and possess'd of all the natural appetites,
And wandering in their lusts where they'd no business,
Bought women, and in certain spots did place them,
Common to be, and ready for all comers.
They naked stand: look well at them, my youth,—
Do not deceive yourself; a'nt you well off
You're ready, so are they: the door is open—
The price an obol: enter straight—there is
No nonsense here, no cheat or trickery;
But do just what you like, and how you like.
You're off: wish her good-bye; she 's no more claim on you.
For some young men, drunk with the cottabus
Going to Megara, carry off by stealth
A harlot named Simætha. Then the citizens
Of Megara, full of grief and indignation,
Stole in return two of Aspasia's girls;
And this was the beginning of the war
Which devastated Greece, for three lewd women.