previous next

There was also a certain courtesan named Sappho, a native of Eresus, who was in love with the beautiful Phaon, and she was very celebrated, as Nymphis relates in his Voyage round Asia. But Nicarete of Megara, who was a courtesan, was not a woman of ignoble birth, but she was born of free parents, and was very well calculated to excite affection by reason of her accomplishments, and she was a pupil of Stilpon the philosopher.

There was also Bilisticha the Argive, who was a very celebrated courtesan, and who traced her descent back to the Atridæ, as those historians relate who have written the history of the affairs of Argolis. There was also a courtesan named Leæna, whose name is very celebrated, and she was the mistress of Harmodius, who slew the tyrant. And she, being tortured by command of Hippias the tyrant, died under the torture without having said a word. Stratocles the orator also had for his mistress a courtesan whose name was Leme,1 and who was nicknamed Parorama, because she used to let whoever chose come to her for two drachmas, as Gorgias says in his treatise on Courtesans.

Now though Myrtilus appeared to be intending to say no more after this, he resumed his subject, and said:—But I was nearly forgetting, my friends, to tell you of the Lyda of Antimachus, and also of her namesake Lyda, who was also a courtesan and the mistress of Lamynthius the Milesian. For each of these poets, as Clearchus tells us in his Tales of Love, being inflamed with love for the barbarian Lyde, wrote [p. 953] poems, the one in elegiac, and the other in lyric verse, and they both entitled their poems “Lyde.” I omitted also to mention the female flute-player Nanno, the mistress of Mimnermus, and Leontium, the mistress of Hermesianax of Colophon. For he inscribed with her name, as she was his mistress, three books of elegiac poetry, in the third of which he gives a catalogue of things relating to Love; speaking in the following manner:—

1 λήμη literally means the matter which gathers in the corner of the eyes; λῆμαι, sore eyes. παρόραμα means an oversight, a defect in sight; but there is supposed to be some corruption in this latter word.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
load focus Greek (Kaibel)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: