Book XIII Concerning Women
Now Phryne came from Thespiae. When she was brought to trial by Euthias on a capital charge she was acquitted; this so enraged Euthias that he never afterwards pleaded another case at law, according to Hermippus. As Hypereides, while defending Phryne, was making no progress in his plea, and it became apparent that the judges meant to condemn her, he caused her to be brought where all could see her; tearing off her undervests he laid bare her bosom and broke into such piteous lamentation in his peroration at the sight of her, that he caused the judges to feel superstitious fear of this handmaid and ministrant of Aphrodite, and indulging their feeling of compassion, they refrained from putting her to death. And after she had been acquitted a decree was passed that no person speaking in a defendant's behalf should indulge in lamentation, nor should the accused man or woman on trial be bared for all to see. As a matter of fact, Phryne was more beautiful in the unseen parts. Hence one could not easily catch a glimpse of her naked; for she always wore a tunic which wrapped her body closely, and she did not resort to the public baths. At the great assembly of the Eleusinia and at the festival of Poseidon, in full sight of the whole Greek world, she removed ony her cloak and let down her long hair before stepping into the water; she was the model for Apelles when he painted his Aphrodite Rising from the Sea. So, too, the sculptor Praxiteles, being in love with her, modelled his Cnidian Aphrodite from her, and on the pedestal of his Eros below the stage of the theatre he wrote an epigram: "Praxiteles hath portrayed to perfection the Passion (Eros) which he bore, drawing his model from the depths of his own heart and dedicating Me to Phryne as the price of Me. The spell of love which I cast comes no longer from my arrow, but from gazing upon Me." He also gave her a choice of his statues, to see whether she wished to take his Eros, or his Satyr, which stood in the Street of the Tripods. She chose the Eros and set it up as a votive offering in Thespiae. Of Phryne herself the neighbors made and set up a golden statue at Delphi, on a pillar of Pentelic marble; Praxiteles executed the work. When the Cynic Crates saw it he called it an offering dedicated to Greek incontinence. This image stands midway between that of Archidamus, king of Lacedaemon, and that of Philip, the son of Amyntas, and bears a label, "Phryne, daughter of Epicles, of Thespiae"; so says Alcetas in the second book of his work On the Dedicatory Offerings at Delphi. Now Apollodorus in his book On Courtesans records that there were two Phrynes, one of whom, he says, was nicknamed Teary-Smile, the other Goldfish. But Herodicus in the sixth book of his Persons Mentioned in Comedy says that in the orators the one was called Sestus because she sifted (sethein) and stripped all who resorted to her, whereas the other was the Thespian. Now Phryne was very rich, and used to promise that she would build a wall about Thebes if the Thebans would write an inscription upon it, that "Whereas Alexander demolished it, Phryne the courtesan restored it"; so records Callistratus in his book On Courtesans. Her wealth is spoken of by the comic poet Timocles in Neaera (his testimony has been cited above) and by Amphis in The Tire-Woman. Yet Gryllion, a member of the Areopagus, played the parasite at Phryne's board, as Satyrus, the actor from Olynthus, did at Pamphila's. Aristogeiton, in the speech Against Phryne, says that her real name was Mnesarete. I am not unaware that the speech against her which is ascribed to Euthias is said by Diodorus the Geographer to be by Anaximenes. Now the comic poet Poseidippus says of her these words, in The Woman from Ephesus: "Phryne was once the most illustrious of us courtesans by far. And even though you are too young to remember that time, you must at least have heard of her trial. Although she was thought to have wrought too great injury to men's lives, she nevertheless captured the court when tried for her life, and, clasping the hands of the judges, one by one, she with the help of her tears saved her life at last."
You know, too, that the orator Demades begot Demeas from a flute-playing prostitute. Demeas, once, when proudly ranting on the platform, had his mouth stopped by Hypereides, who said: "Silence, lad! You've got a 'blow' louder than your mother's." And Bion also, the philosopher from the Borysthenes, was a son of the Lacedaemonian courtesan Olympia, according to Nicias of Nicaea in his Succession of Philosophers. Even Sophocles, the tragic poet, when he was already an old man, fell in love with Theoris the courtesan. Accordingly, he supplicated Aphrodite, reciting: "Hearken unto me when I pray, Nurse of children; grant that this woman may refuse to young men the couch of dalliance, but let her find joy in old men whose temples are grey, whose powers, to be sure, are blunted, but whose spirit is keen." These verses are from the collection attributed to Homer. Theoris he mentions in a certain choral ode in the following words: "Verily Theoris is dear." Being in his declining years, as Hegesander says, Sophocles fell in love with the courtesan Archippe and made her in his will heiress to his property. And that Sophocles was old when Archippe lived with him is proved by what her former lover Smicrines wittily said when asked what Archippe was doing: "As the owls sit upon tombs, so sits she."
But another instance: even Isocrates, the most modest of the orators, kept Metaneira as his mistress, as well as Lagisca; so Lysias records in his Letters. But Demosthenes in his speech Against Neaera says that Metaneira was the mistress of Lysias. And Lysias was also smitten with the courtesan Lagis, a eulogy of whom was written by the orator Cephalus; similarly Alcidamas of Elaea, the pupil of Gorgias, wrote in his turn a eulogy of the courtesan Nais. As to this Nais, Lysias in the speech Against Philonides, an action for forcible rescue, if the speech be genuine, says that she became the mistress of Philonides; he writes as follows: "There is, then, a woman named Nais, a courtesan, whose guardian is Archias, whose intimate is Hymenaeus, and whom Philonides admits he loves." Aristophanes mentions her in his Gerytades. And perhaps also in Plutus, in which play he says, "Is it not because of you that Lais loves Philonides?" we should write 'Nais,' and not 'Lais.' Hermippus, in his work On Isocrates, says that Isocrates, when considerably advanced in years, took the courtesan Lagisca into his house, and from her there was born to him a daughter. She is mentioned by Strattis in these lines: "Methought I saw Lagisca, Isocrates' concubine, tickling me while she was still in bed, and then the flute-borer himself came in with a rush." Lysias also, in the speech Against Lais, if it be genuine, mentions her in giving a list of other courtesans besides; her are his words: "Philyra, at leased, ceased whoring when still a young woman, and so also did Scione, Hippaphesis, Theocleia, Psamathe, Lagisca, Antheia, and Aristocleia."
That the orator Demosthenes had children by a courtesan is common report. He himself, at any rate, in the course of his speech On the Bribe of Gold, brought the children out before the court to excite compassion through them, unaccompanied by their mother, although it was customary for defendants in a trial, if they had wives, to produce them; but this he did from shame, to avoid the scandal. The orator was unbridled in sexual matters, according to Idomeneus. At any rate, having fallen in love with a lad named Aristarchus, because of him he attacked Nicodemus in a drunken fit and gouged out his eyes. It is a well-known tradition that he spent money lavishly on dainty foods, young boys, and women. Hence his clerk once said: "What can one say of Demosthenes? For all that it has taken him a year of industry to acquire, one woman in one night has spoilt completely." He is said, at any rate, to have taken even into his house a young lad named Cnosion, although he had a wife; she, in turn, lay with Cnosion to show her resentment.
Myrrhine, the Samian courtesan, was kept by Demetrius, the one who was the last king of the succession; and though he did not give her the crown, he gave her a share in his royal state, according to Nicolas of Damascus. And Ptolemy, the one who commanded a guard at Ephesus, a son of King Philadelphus, kept the courtesan Eirene; she, when Thracians in Ephesus plotted against Ptolemy and he took refuge in the temple of Artemis, shared in the flight; and after they had killed him she, clinging to the knockers of the temple doors, splashed the altars with her blood until they had despatched her also. Again, Danae, the daughter of the Epicurean Leontion, was a courtesan kept by Sophron, the commandant at Ephesus; it was through her that he himself was saved when plotted against by Laodice, while she was thrown down a precipice, as Phylarchus writes in his twelfth book. His words are these: "Laodice's associate was Danae, trusted by her in all matters; she was the daughter of Leontion, who studied under Epicurus, the natural philosopher, and had previously been the mistress of Sophron; when she understood that Laodice wanted to kill Sophron, she by nods and gestures disclosed the plot. And he, catching her meaning, pretended to agree to Laodice's proposals, but asked for two days in which to consider them; and when she agreed, he fled by night to Ephesus; when Laodice learned what Danae had done, she threw the poor woman over a precipice, taking no thought whatever of past acts of kindness. And they say that Danae, on perceiving the danger that impended over her, though rigorously questioned by Laodice, did not even think her worthy of an answer; and as she was led away to the precipice she said it was no wonder that most men made light of divine power, seeing that 'I (she said) saved him who was once my man, and yet receive such a requital from the deity, whereas Laodice, after killing her own man, is thought worthy of such great honour.'" The same Phylarchus records the following concerning Mysta in his fourteenth book: "Mysta was the mistress of King Seleucus; she, when Seleucus had been defeated by the people of Galatia and had barely escaped from the rout with his life, took off her royal garments, and put on the rags of an ordinary maidservant; she was captured and led off with the other prisoners, and on being sold just like her own maidens she came to Rhodes; there, having revealed who she was, she was sent with all due care by the Rhodians across to Seleucus."
Demetrius of Phalerum, who was in love with Lampito, the Samian courtesan, was for her sake quite content to be called Lampito, as Diyllus declares; he was also called Pretty Eyes. Nicarete the courtesan was the mistress of the orator Stephanus, and Metaneira of the sophist Lysias. These women were slaves, belonging to Casius of Elis, along with other courtesans, Anteia, Stratola, Aristocleia, Phila, Isthmias, and Neaera. Now Neaera was the mistress of Xenocleides the poet, of Hipparchus the actor, and of Phrynion, who came from the deme Paeania and was the son of Demon and nephew of Demochares. Neaera was possessed on alternate days by Phrynion and the orator Stephanus, their friends having acted as arbitrators in the matter; and Neaera's daughter Strymbele, later called Phano, was given in marriage by Stephanus, as though she were his own daughter, to Phrastor of the deme Aegilia as Demosthenes declares in the speech Against Neaera. He has this to say also about the courtesan Sinope: "You punished Archias the hierophant when he was convicted in court of impiety and of offering sacrifices in a manner contrary to ancestral ritual; among other accusations brought against him was this, that at the Haloa he sacrificed a victim, brought by the courtesan Sinope, and in her behalf, on the altar in the court at Eleusis, although it was by law forbidden to sacrifice a victim on that particular day, and the offering of the sacrifice was not his business, but that of the priestess."
A celebrated courtesan, also, was Plangon of Miletus; she was of extraordinary beauty, and loved by a Colophonian lad, who had as mistress Bacchis of Samos. When the lad made proposals to Plangon, she, hearing of the beauty of Bacchis and wishing to divert the lad from his passion for herself, demanded, since that proved impossible, the necklace of Bacchis was the price of an assignation, the necklace being celebrated. And he being passionately in love entreated Bacchis not to permit him to die. So Bacchis, when she saw the young man's eagerness, gave him the necklace. But Plangon, seeing the unselfishness of Bacchis, sent the necklace back to her, and consorted with the young man. And from that time on the girls were friends, entertaining their lover in common. In admiration of these acts the Ionians, according to Menetor in his work On Votive Offerings, called Plangon "Pasiphile." Archilochus is a witness to her in these lines: "Like a fig-tree among the rocks, which feeds many crows, Pasiphile of easy virtue welcomes strangers." That the poet Menander, also, was in love with Glycera is a matter of common knowledge. But he became angry at her; for when Philemon fell in love with a courtesan and called her in his play "good," Menander in answer wrote that no woman is good.
Harpalus, the Macedonian who plundered large sums from Alexander's funds and then sought refuge in Athens, fell in love with Pythionice and squandered a great deal on her, though she was a courtesan; and when she died he erected a monument to her costing many talents. "And so, when he bore her to the place of burial," as Poseidonius declares in the twenty-second book of his Histories, "he escorted the corpse with a large choir of the most distinguished artists, with all kinds of instruments and sweet tones." And Dicaearchus, in his books On the Descent into the Cave of Trophonius, says: "One would feel the same when going up to the city of Athens by way of the Sacred Road, as it is called, from Eleusis. For there, stationing himself at the point from which the temple of Athena and the citadel are first seen in the distance, he will observe a monument, built right beside the road, the like of which, in its size, is not even approached by any other. One would naturally declare quite positively, at first, that this was a monument to Miltiades, or Pericles, or Cimon, or some other man of noble rank and character and, in particular, that it had been erected by the state at public expense or, failing that, that permission to erect it had been given by the state. But when, on again looking, one discovers that it is a monument to Pythionice the courtesan, what must one be led to expect?" Again, Theopompus, when denouncing in his Letter to Alexander the licentiousness of Harpalus, says: "Consider and learn clearly from our agents in Babylon how he ordered the funeral of Pythionice when she died. She, to be sure, was a slave of the flute-girl Bacchis, who in turn was a slave of the Thracian woman Sinope, who had transferred her practice of harlotry from Aegina to Athens; hence Pythionice was not only triply a slave, but also triply a harlot. Now, with the sum of more than two hundred talents he erected two monuments to her; the thing that surprised everyone is this, that whereas for the men who died in Cilicia defending your kingdom and the liberty of Greece neither he nor anyone else among the officials has as yet erected a proper tomb, for the courtesan Pythionice the monument at Athens and the other in Babylon have already stood completed a long time. Here was a woman who, as everybody knew, had been shared by all who desired her at the same price for all, and yet for this woman the man who says he is your friend has set up a shrine and a sacred enclosure and has called the temple and the altar by the name of Aphrodite Pythionice, by one and the same act showing his contempt for the vengeance of the gods and endeavouring to heap insult on the offices you bestow." These persons are also mentioned by Philemon in The Man of Babylon: "You shall be queen of Babylon, if luck so falls; you have heard of Pythionice and Harpalus." And Alexis also mentions her in Lyciscus.
And yet, after the death of Pythionice Harpalus sent for Glycera, who was also a courtesan, to come to him, as Theopompus records, adding that Harpalus forbade anyone to offer him a crown unless he crowned the harlot also. "Further, he has set up a bronze portrait of Glycera in Rhossus, Syria, where he purposes to rear a monument to you and to himself. More, he has given her the privilege of residing in the royal palace at Tarsus, and permits her to be worshipped by the people and hailed as queen and honoured by other emoluments which were more fittingly bestowed upon your mother and your consort." All this is confirmed by the testimony of the writer who made the little satyric play Agen, which was produced when the Dionysia were celebrated at the Hydaspes river, whether the author was Python of Catana (or Byzantium) or the king himself. The play was produced after Harpalus had fled to the coast and revolted. Pythionice is mentioned as already dead, whereas Glycera is mentioned as living with Harpalus and as creating the accusation against the Athenians of receiving bribes from Harpalus; he says: "A. There is, in the place where this reed grows, a fortress too high for the birds; on the other side, at the left here, is a harlot's famous temple, which 'Pallides' built before he condemned himself to flight because of his plot. There, accordingly, some magi among the barbarians, seeing him in utterly despondent mood, persuaded him that they could lure the spirit of Pythionice to the upper world." In this passage the writer calls Harpalus "Pallides." But in the next verse he calls him by his real name and says: "B. I long to learn from you, since I live so far away from there, what fortunes control the Attic land, and what the folk do there. A. At the time when, they alleged, they had taken on a life of slavery, they had enough for dinner; but to-day they are eating only vetch and fennel, but wheat not at all. B. And yet I hear that Harpalus has sent over to them thousands of bushels of grain, as many as Agen sent, and so was made a citizen. A. This grain was Glycera's, and it will doubtless turn out to be their death-warrant, and not merely a whore's earnest money."
Famous courtesans, distinguished for beauty, were produced by Naucratis also; among them was Doricha, who became the mistress of the fair Sappho's brother Charaxus when he went to Naucratis on business, and whom Sappho denounced in her poetry for having robbed him of a lot of money. But Herodotus calls her Rhodopis, being unaware that she is different from Doriche, the woman who dedicated, at Delphi, the famous spits which Cratinus mentions in these verses: [gap]. . . . . Poseidippus composed the following epigram on Doriche, although he often mentioned her also in his Aesopeia. It is this: "True, Doricha, thy bones are adorned with a band for thy soft tresses, and with the perfume-breathing shawl in which thou didst wrap the handsome Charaxus, flesh to flesh, until the time of the morning bowl. But the white ringing pages of Sappho's lovely song abide and will still abide. Thy name is blessed, since Naucratis will thus treasure it so long as a sea-going ship shall fare over Nile's lagoons." Archedice also was from Naucratis, and she was another beautiful courtesan. For somehow Naucratis, as Herodotus says, is apt to contain courtesans of especial charm.
Again, the courtesan from Eresus, who bore the same name as the poetess, Sappho, was famous as having loved the handsome Phaon, according to Nymphodorus in his Voyage 'Round Asia. And Nicarete of Megara was a courtesan of no mean birth, but, so far as parentage and culture go, she was very desirable; she had studied with the philosopher Stilpon. Again, Bilistiche, the Argive courtesan, was of high repute, deriving her ancestry from the Atreidae, as the writers on Argive history record. Of high repute also is the courtesan Leaena, mistress of Harmodius the tyrannicide; she, when put to the torture by the agents of Hippias, the tyrant, died in torment without uttering a word. The orator Stratocles kept as his mistress the courtesan nicknamed Leme, the one who was called Parorama and Didrachmon because she visited any one who desired her for two drachmas, according to Gorgias in his work On Courtesans.
At this Myrtilus was on the point of stopping when he said: But, my friends, I almost forgot to tell you of Antimachus's Lyde, and also of the like-named courtesan Lyde who was loved by Lamynthius of Miletus. For each of these two poets, according to Clearchus in his Love Stories, in their passion for the foreign girl Lyde, composed the poem called Lyde, the one in elegiac couplets, the other in lyrics. I also omitted Mimnermus's flute-girl, Nanno, and the Leontion of Hermesianax of Colophon; inspired by her after she became his mistress he wrote three books of elegiacs, in the last of which he gives a catalogue of love affairs in the following manner:
"Such was she whom the dear son of Oeagrus, armed only with the lyre, brought back from Hades, even the Thracian Agriope. Ay, he sailed to that evil and inexorable bourne where Charon drags into the common barque the souls of the departed; and over the lake he shouts afar, as it pours its flood from out the tall reeds. Yet Orpheus, though girded for the journey all alone, dared to sound his lyre beside the wave, and he won over gods of every shape; even the lawless Cocytus he saw, raging beneath his banks; and he flinched not before the gaze of the Hound most dread, his voice baying forth angry fire, with fire his cruel eye gleaming, an eye that on triple heads bore terror. Whence, by his song, Orpheus persuaded the mighty lords that Agriope should recover the gentle breath of life.
"Nor did the son of Mene, Musaeus, master of the Graces, cause Antiope to go without her meed of honour. And she, beside Eleusis's strand, expounded to the initiates the loud, sacred voice of mystic oracles, as she duly escorted the priest through the Rarian plain to honour Demeter. And she is known even in Hades.
"I say, too, that Boeotian Hesiod, master of all lore, left his hall and went to the Heliconian village of the Ascraeans, because he was in love; whence, in wooing Eoee, maid of Ascra, he suffered many pangs; and as he sang, he writ all the scrolls of his Catalogues, ever proceeding from a girl's name first.
"But that bard himself, whom the decree of Zeus for ever ordains to be the sweetest divinity among all poets, godlike Homer, languished to thinness, and set Ithaca in the strains of song for love of wise Penelope; for her sake he went, with many sufferings, to that small isle, far from his own wide country; and he celebrated the kin of Icarius, the folk of Amyelas, and Sparta too, ever mindful of his own misfortunes.
"And Mimnermus, who discovered, after much suffering, the sweet sound and spirit breathed from the languorous pentameter, burned for Nanno; yet oft upon his venerable flute, bound to his lips, he with Hexamyles would hold revel. But he quarrelled with Hermobius, the ever cruel, and Pherecles, too, his foe, whom he loathed for the taunts which he hurled against him.
"Antimachus, too, smitten with love for the Lydian girl Lyde, trod the ground where the Pactolus river flows; and when she died, in his helplessness he placed her in the hard earth, weeping the while, and in his woe he left her there and returned to lofty Colophon; then he filled his pious scrolls with plaints, and rested after all his pain.
"As for the Lesbian Alcaeus, thou knowest in how many revels he engaged, when he smote his lyre with yearning love for Sappho. And the bard who loved that nightingale caused sorrow, by the eloquence of his hymns, to the Teian poet. Yea, for the honey-voiced Anacreon contended for her, whose beauty was supreme among the many women of Lesbos. And at times he would leave Samos, at times again his own city, that nestles against the vine-covered hill, and visit Lesbos, rich in wine; and oft he gazed upon Lectum, the Mysian headland across the Aeolian wave.
"How, too, the Attic bee left Colone of the many hillocks, and sang with choruses marshalled in tragedy -- sang of Bacchus and of his passion for Theoris and for Erigone, whom Zeus once gave to Sophocles in his old age.
"I say, too, that that man who had ever guarded himself against passion, and had won the hatred of all men by his railings concerning all women, was none the less smitten by the treacherous bow, and could not lay aside his pangs by night; nay, in Macedonia he traversed all the by-ways in his woe, and became dependant on the steward of Archelaus; until at last Fate found destruction for Euripides, when he met the cruel hounds from Arribius.
"And that poet from Cythera, whom the nurses of Bacchus reared, and the Muses taught to be the most faithful steward of the flute, Philoxenus, -- thou knowest how he was racked with pain, and passed through our city to Ortygia; for thou hast heard of his mighty yearning, which Galateia esteemed less than the very firstlings of the flock.
"Thou knowest also of that bard in whose honour the townsmen of Eurypylus, the men of Cos, raised a bronze statue beneath the plane-tree; he, Philitas, sang his love for the nimble Bittis, versed as he was in all the terms of love and in all its speech.
"Yea, not even all the mortals who ordained for themselves a life austere, seeking to find the dark things of wisdom, whom their very craft caused to choke in the shrewd contests of debate, and their dread skill, which bestowed its care upon eloquence, -- not even they could turn aside the awful, maddened turmoil of Love, but they fell beneath the power of that dread charioteer.
"Such was the madness for Theano that bound with its spell the Samian Pythagoras; yet he had discovered the refinements of geometric spirals, and had modelled in a small globe the mighty circuit of the enveloping aether.
"And with what fiery power did Cypris, in her wrath, heat Socrates, whom Apollo had declared to be supreme among all men in wisdom! Yea, though his soul was deep, yet he laboured with lighter pains when he visited the house of Aspasia; nor could he find any remedy, though he had discovered the many cross-paths of logic.
"Even the man of Cyrene, keen Aristippus, was drawn by overpowering love beyond the Isthmus, when he fell in love with Lais of Apidane; in his flight he renounced all discourse, and expounded a life of worthlessness."
In these lines Hermesianax makes the mistake of supposing that Sappho and Anacreon belonged to the same period, for he flourished in the time of Cyrus and Polycrates, whereas she belonged to the time of Alyattes, the father of Croesus. Yet Chamaeleon, in his book On Sappho, asserts that some say it was to her that the following verses were addressed by Anacreon: "Now golden-haired Eros tosses at me his purple ball, and challenges me to sport with the maiden of the broidered sandal. But she -- for she is from fair Lesbos -- finds fault with my hair, for it is white, and is all agape for another -- a woman!" And Chamaeleon further says that Sappho spoke to Anacreon these lines: "The hymn which thou didst utter, O Muse of the golden throne, is that which the Teian, glorious old man from the goodly land of fair women, sang to our delight." But that this song is not by Sappho is plain, I imagine, to any one. In fact I think that Hermesianax was joking as regards the love affair. For the comic poet Diphilus, in his play, Sappho, has even made Archilochus and Hipponax lovers of Sappho!
In all this, my friends, methinks I have constructed for you, not without care, a catalogue of lovers, not being myself so love-mad, as Cynulcus has insultingly called me, though I admit that I am a lover, but not "love-mad." "What need is there to make oneself unhappy by more words when one may keep silence and hide all this in darkness?" So said Aeschylus of Alexandria in his Amphitryo. This Aeschylus is the one who composed the Epic of Messenia; he was a great man of learning.
Since, then, I believe that Eros is a mighty and most powerful divinity, as is also Aphrodite "the golden," I will recite the lines of Euripides as I remember them: "Dost thou not see how great a goddess is Aphrodite? Of her thou canst not tell, thou canst not measure how great she is, or how far her power extends. She it is who nurtures you and me and all mortals. And a proof (that you may not learn it from words alone, and that I may show the goddess's power by facts): the earth is in love with the rain, whensoe'er the dry ground, fruitless in drought, hath need of moisture. And the august heaven, filled with rain, casts itself upon the earth through Aphrodite's spell. And when the twain mingle as one, they cause all things to grow for us, and nurture them as well,--all things by which the race of mortals lives and flourishes." Again, the most august Aeschylus, in his Danaids, introduces Aphrodite herself saying: "The chaste heaven loves to violate the earth, and love lays hold on earth to join in wedlock. The rain from the streaming heaven falls down and impregnates the earth; and she brings forth for mortals the pasturage of sheep and Demeter's sustenance; and the ripe season for the trees is perfected by the watery union. Of all this I am the cause."
In the Euripidean Hippolytus, again, Aphrodite declares: "And all who dwell between the Pontus and the bounds of Atlas, looking upon the light of the sun--those who reverence my power I honour, but I bring low all who think presumptuous thoughts against me." A young man who possessed every virtue, beset only by this error, that he failed to honour Aphrodite -- to him she became the cause of his destruction; and neither Artemis, who loved him exceedingly, nor any other god or spirit could aid him. And so, as the same poet puts it: "Whoever judges not Eros to be a mighty god is either stupid or, having no experience of good things, knows not of the god who is the mightiest power among men." Yes, he is the god of whom Anacreon, the poet on every man's lips, is constantly singing. Hence the most excellent Critias says of him: "Teos brought to Hellas that poet who once wove the strains of song with Woman as his theme, delightful Anacreon, flame of drinking-parties, cheater of women, of flutes the foe, lover of the lyre, full of delight, healer of pain. Never shall love of thee grow old or die, so long as a slave-boy solemnly bears round water and wine mingled for the cups, dispensing toasts from left to right, -- so long as feminine choirs do their ministry in holy night- long vigils, and the scale-pan, daughter of bronze, sits upon the high peak of the cottabos to receive the drops of Bromian."
Archytas -- the one who wrote on the theory of music -- says, according to Chamaeleon, that Alcman led the way as a composer of erotic songs, and was the first to publish a licentious song, being prone in his habits of life to the pursuit of women and to poetry of that kind. Hence he says, in one of his songs: "Once again sweet Eros, to grace Cypris, overflows and melts my heart." He says, too, that Alcman fell immoderately in love with Megalostrate, who was a poetess and able to attract lovers to her by her conversation. He speaks thus of her: "This is the gift of the sweet Muses, which she, happy maiden, the golden-haired Megalostrata, hath shown forth." Stesichorus, also, was immoderately erotic and has composed that type of songs; these, as is well known, were of old called "paideia" and "paidika." So active was the pursuit of love-affairs, since no one regarded erotic persons as vulgar, that even a great poet like Aeschylus, and Sophocles, introduced in the theatre love themes in their tragedies -- the first, that of Achilles and Patroclus, the second, that of the boys in Niobe: hence some call the tragedy "Paederastria;" and the audience gladly accepted such stories.
And Ibycus of Rhegium, also, cries out and shouts aloud: "Only in spring grow the quinces and pomegranates, watered by streams in the inviolate garden of the Maidens, and the swelling grape-blossoms thrive beneath the shade of the vine-shoots; but for me there is no season when love lies quiet; all aflame, like Thracian Boreas 'mid the lightning-flash, he from my boyhood hath darted love upon me from Cypris, darkling, unflinching, with scorching madness, and hath kept my heart under fierce sway." Pindar, too, being immoderately erotic, says: "May it be mine to love and to yield to love in due season. Pursue not, my heart, that action as something to be esteemed beyond measure." Wherefore Timon in his Satires has said: "There is a time to love, a time to marry, and a time to stop it for good," and not wait until some one utters the line of this same philosopher: "Now, when his sun out to be declining, he begins to recline in the lap of pleasure." When Pindar calls to mind Theoxenus of Tenedos, with whom he was in love, what does he say? "Meet it were, my heart, to cull the flowers of love in due season, in thy prime; but whosoever, once he hath seen the rays flashing from the eyes of Theoxenus, is not tossed on the waves of desire, hath a black heart forged, in cold flame, of adamant or of iron, and having no honour from Aphrodite of the quick glance, he either toileth brutally for wealth, or else through some woman's boldness his soul is borne along on every path while he serves her. But I, to grace the goddess, like wax of the sacred bees when smitten by the sun, am melted when I look at the young limbs of boys. And so, even in Tenedos, Persuasion came to dwell, and Charm reared the son of Hagesilas." Altogether, many persons prefer liaisons with males to those with females. For they maintain that this practice is zealously pursued in those cities throughout Hellas which, as compared with others, are ruled by good laws. The Cretans, for example, as I have said, and the people of Chalcis in Euboea, have a marvellous passion for such liaisons. Echemenes, at any rate, says in his History of Crete that it was not Zeus who carried off Ganymede, but Minos. But the Chalcidians just mentioned assert that Ganymede was carried off by Zeus in their own country, and they point out the place, calling it Harpagion; in it grow excellent myrtle-trees. Even his quarrel with the Athenians was given up by Minos, though it had arisen over the murder of his son, because he loved Theseus and gave him his daughter Phaedra to be his wife, according to Zenis (or Zeneus) of Chios in the History of his native land.
Hieronymous the Peripatetic declares these love affairs with boys became widespread because it often happened that the vigour of the young men, joined to the mutual sympathy of their companionship, brought many tyrannical governments to an end. For if their favourites were present, lovers would choose to suffer anything whatever rather than incur a reputation for cowardice in the mind of their favourites. This was proved, at any rate, by the Sacred Band organized at Thebes by Epameinondas, and by the murderous attempt on the Peisistratidae made by Harmodius and Aristogeiton; and again in Sicily at Agrigentum, by the love of Chariton and Melanippus. The latter was Chariton's favourite, according to Heracleides of Pontus in his work On Love Affairs. It transpired that they were plotting against Phalaris, but on being put to the torture and compelled to speak, they not only refused to name their accomplices but even moved Phalaris to pity for their tortures, so that he released them with hearty praise. Wherefore Apollo, pleased at this action, favoured Phalaris with a postponement of his death, making a declaration of this to those who inquired of the Pythian priestess how they should attack Phalaris; Apollo also gave forth an oracle concerning Chariton and his followers, putting the pentameter before the hexameter, according to the method later followed by Dionysius of Athens, nicknamed the Bronze, in his Elegies. The oracle is as follows: "Happy were Chariton and Melanippus, guides for mortals in divine loving." Notorious are also the things that happened in the case of Cratinus of Athens; for he was a handsome lad at the time when Epimenides was purifying Attica by the sacrifice of human blood, because of some ancient acts of abomination, as recorded by Neanthes of Cyzicus in the second book of his work On the Rituals of Initiation; and Cratinus voluntarily gave himself up in behalf of the land that had nurtured him; following him his lover Aristodemus also died, and so the terrible act was atoned for. Because of these love affairs, then, tyrants, to whom such friendships are inimical, tried to abolish entirely relations between males, extirpating them everywhere. Some even went so far as to set fire to the wrestling-schools, regarding them as counter-walls to their own citadels, and so demolished them; this was done by Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos.
Among the Spartans, as Hagnon the Academic philosopher says, it was customary for girls before their marriage to be treated like favourite boys. Why, even the lawgiver Solon said: "With longing glance at thighs and sweet lips." Likewise Aeschylus and Sophocles quite frankly said -- the first in The Myrmidons: "For the pure honour of the thighs thou hadst no reverence, O thankless one for those frequent kisses!" while the other, in The Colchian Women, speaking of Ganymede: "Setting Zeus's majesty aflame with his thighs." But I am not ignorant that Polemon the Geographer asserts in his Replies to Neanthes that the story of Cratinus and Aristodemus is a fiction. But you, Cynulcus, believe these stories to be true even if they are false, and you practice in private all such things in the poems as have to do with the love of boys . . . . [gap?] The practice of paederasty came into Greece from the Cretans first, according to Timaeus. But other declare that Laius initiated such love-practices when he was the guest of Pelops; he became enamoured of Pelops's son, Chrysippus, whom he seized and placed in his chariot, and then fled to Thebes. Yet Praxilla of Sicyon says that Chrysippus was carried off by Zeus. And among the barbarians the Celts also, though they have very beautiful women, enjoy boys more; so that some of them often have two lovers to sleep with on their beds of animal skins. As for the Persians, Herodotus says they learned the use of boys from the Greeks.
King Alexander also was madly devoted to boys. Dicaearchus, at any rate, in his book On the Sacrifice at Ilium, says that he was so overcome with love for the eunuch Bagoas that, in full view of the entire theatre, he, bending over, caressed Bagoas fondly, and when the audience clapped and shouted in applause, he, nothing loath, again bent over and kissed him. But Carystius in Historical Notes says: "Charon of Chalcis had a beautiful boy who was dear to him. But when Alexander, at a drinking-party in the house of Craterus, praised the boy, Charon bade him kiss Alexander; and he said, 'Not so! For that will not delight me so much as it will pain you.' For, passionate as this king was, he was in like measure self-controlled when it came to the observance of decency and the best form. When, for example, he had taken captive the daughters of Darius and his wife as well, a woman of very distinguished beauty, he not only kept his hands off them, but he even refrained from letting them know that they were captives, and ordered that everything be done for them just as if Darius were still king. Therefore Darius, on learning this, raised his arms and prayed to the Sun that either he or Alexander might be king." As for the righteous Rhadamanthys, Ibycus says that Talos was his lover. And Diotimus in the Epic of Heracles says that Eurystheus was the favourite of Heracles, and for that reason Heracles patiently undertook his Labours. Again, Agamemnon loved Argynnus, so the story goes, having seen him swimming in the Cephisus river; in which, in fact, he lost his life (for he constantly bathed in this river), and Agamemnon buried him and founded there a temple of Aphrodite Argynnis. Licymnius of Chios in his Dithyrambs says that Hymenaeus was the beloved of Argynnus. Aristocles the harp-singer was the beloved of King Antigonus, concerning whom Antigonus of Carystus, in his Life of Zeno, writes as follows: "King Antigonus used to have revels at the house of Zeno. On one occasion, coming away from a drinking-party at daybreak, he rushed to the house of Aristocles the harp-singer, whom the king loved greatly."
Sophocles was fond of young lads, as Euripides was fond of women. The poet Ion, at any rate, in the work entitled Sojournings, writes as follows: "I met Sophocles the poet at Chios when he was sailing as general to Lesbos; he was playful in his cups, and clever. A Chian friend of his, Hermesilaus, who was the proxenus of Athens, entertained him, when there appeared, standing beside the fire, the wine-pourer, a handsome, blushing boy; Sophocles was plainly stirred and said: 'Do you want me to drink with pleasure?' And when the boy said 'Yes' he said, 'Then don't be too rapid in handing me the cup and taking it away.' When the boy blushed still more violently he said to the man who shared his couch: 'That was a good thing Phrynichus wrote when he said: "There shines upon his crimson cheeks the light of love."' To this the man from Eretria (or Erythrae), who was a schoolmaster, made answer: 'Wise you are, to be sure, Sophocles, in the art of poetry; nevertheless Phrynichus did not express himself happily when he described the handsome boy's cheeks as crimson. For if a painter should brush a crimson colour on this boy's cheeks he would no longer look handsome. Surely one must not compare the beautiful with what is obviously not beautiful.' Laughing loudly at the Eretrian Sophocles said: 'So, then, stranger, you don't like that line of Simonides, either, though the Greeks think it very well expressed: "From her crimson lips the maiden uttered speech"; nor again the poet who speaks of "golden-haired Apollo"; for if a painter had made the god's locks golden instead of black, the picture would not be so good. And so for the poet who said "rosy-fingered"; for if one should dip his fingers into a rose-dye, he would produce the hands of a purple-dyer and not those of a lovely woman.' There was a laugh at this, and while the Eretrian was squelched by the rebuke, Sophocles returned to his conversation with the boy. He asked him, as he was trying to pick off a straw from the cup with his little finger, whether he could see the straw clearly. When the boy declared he could see it Sophocles said, 'Then blow it away, for I shouldn't want you to get your finger wet.' As the boy brought his face up to the cup, Sophocles drew the cup nearer to his own lips, that the two heads might come closer together. When he was very near the lad, he drew him close with his arm and kissed him. They all applauded, amid laughter and shouting, because he had put it over the boy so neatly; and Sophocles said, 'I am practising strategy, gentlemen, since Pericles told me that whereas I could write poetry, I didn't know how to be a general. Don't you think my stratagem has turned out happily for me?' Many things of this sort he was wont to say and do cleverly when he drank or when he did anything. In civic matters, however, he was neither wise nor efficient, but like any other individual among the better class of Athenians."
Hieronymus of Rhodes says in his Historical Notes that Sophocles lured a handsome boy outside the city wall to consort with him. Now the boy spread his own cloak on the grass, while they wrapped themselves in Sophocles' cape. When the meeting was over the boy seized Sophocles' cape and made off with it, leaving behind for Sophocles his boyish cloak. Naturally the incident was much talked of; when Euripides learned of the occurence he jeered, saying that he himself had once consorted with this boy without paying any bonus, whereas Sophocles had been treated with contempt for his licentiousness. When Sophocles heard that, he addressed to him the following epigram, which refers to the fable of the Sun and the North Wind, and also alludes lightly to Euripides' practice of adultery: "Helios it was, and not a boy, Euripides, who by his heat stripped me of my cape; but with you, when you were embracing another man's wife, Boreas consorted. So you are not so clever, because when sowing in another's field, you bring Eros into court for thieving."
Theopompus in his treatise On the Funds Plundered from Delphi says that Asopichus, the favourite of Epameinondas, had the trophy erected at Leuctra pictured on his shield, and that he risked extraordinary dangers; this shield was dedicated as a votive offering in the colonnade at Delphi. In the same treatise Theopompus says that Phayllus, the tyrant of Phocis, was fond of women, Onomarchus, of boys; and from the treasures of Apollo the latter gave the offerings of the Sybarites, four golden strigils, to . . . [gap], the son of Pythodorus of Sicyon, who had come to Delphi to dedicate his shorn locks, and who, being beautiful, had accorded his favours to Onomarchus. To the flute-girl Bromias, daughter of Deiniades, Phayllus gave a silver karchesion, a votive offering of the Phocaeans, and an ivy wreath of gold, the offering of the Peparethians. "This girl," Theopompus says, "would even have played the flute- accompaniment to the Pythian Games had she not been prevented from doing so by the populace. And (he adds) to Physcidas, the son of Lycolas of Trichoneium, a beautiful boy, Onomarchus gave a laurel wreath of gold, votive offering of the Ephesians. This boy was taken to Philip by his father and was there prostituted, and afterwards dismissed without reward. To Damippus, the son of Epilycus of Amphipolis, a beautiful boy, Onomarchus gave. . . [gap], a votive offering of Pleisthenes. To Pharsalia, the Thessalian dancing-girl, Philomelus gave a laurel crown of gold, a votive offering of the Lampsacenes. This Pharsalia lost her life in Metapontium at the hands of the soothsayers in the market-place; for a voice had issued from the bronze bay-tree which the Metapontines had set up when Aristeas of Proconesus visited them and declared that he had come from the land of the Hyperboreans; and no sooner was she spied setting foot in the market-place than the soothsayers became furious, and she was pulled to pieces by them. And when people later came to look into the cause it was found that she had been killed because of the wreath which belonged to the god."
So beware, you philosophers who indulge in passion contrary to nature, who sin against the goddess of love, -- beware lest you also are destroyed in the same manner. For even boys are handsome, as the courtesan Glycera, in the account given by Clearchus, was wont to say, only so long as they look like a woman. It was, in my opinion, quite in accordance with nature that Cleonymus the Spartan acted when he, the first of men to do so, took as hostages from the Metapontines two hundred of their most eminent and beautiful matrons and maidens, as Duris of Samos records in the third book of his History of Agathocles and His Times; and what is more, to put it as Epicrates does in Anti-Lais: "I have learned completely all the love-affairs of Sappho, Meletus, Cleomenes, and Lamynthius." But do you, my philosophers, if you ever fall in love with women and then see that it is impossible to attain your object, learn that it then comes to an end, as Clearchus asserts. For example, a bull once mounted the bronze cow of Peirene; and a painted bitch, pigeon and goose were approached, in the one case, by a dog, in the other, by a pigeon, in the last, by a gander leaping upon them; but when it became clear to all these creatures that their desires were impossible, they desisted, like Cleisophus of Selymbria. For he, becoming enamoured of the statue in Parian marble at Samos, locked himself up in the temple, thinking he should be able to have intercourse with it; and since he found that impossible on account of the frigidity and resistance of the stone, he then and there desisted from that desire and placing before him a small piece of flesh he consorted with that. This deed is mentioned by the poet Alexis in the play entitled A Picture: "Another case of a like sort occurred, they say, in Samos. A man conceived a passion for a stone maiden, and locked himself up in the temple." And Philemon, mentioning the same, says: "Why, once on a time, in Samos, a man fell in love with a stone image; thereupon he locked himself in the temple." Now the statue is the work of Ctesicles, as Adaeus of Mytilene says in his work On Sculptors. But Polemon, or whoever wrote the work entitled Of Hellas, says that "at Delphi, in the treasury of the Spinatae, are two lads carved in stone; for one of these, the Delphians say, a pilgrim to the shrine once conceived a passion and locked himself up with it, leaving behind him a wreath as the price of the intercourse. When his act was detected the god ordained to the Delphians who consulted his oracle that they should release the fellow; for, the god declared, he had paid the price."
What is more, dumb animals have fallen in love with human beings: a cock fell in love with a certain Secundus, royal wine-pourer; the cock was called Centaur, and Secundus was a slave of Nicomedes, the king of Bithynia, as recorded by Nicander in the sixth book of his Catastrophes. In Aegium a goose fell in love with a boy, as Clearchus records in the first book of his Love Stories. Of this boy Theophrastus in his essay On Love says that he was named Amphilochus and that his family was from Olene: and Hermeias, the son of Hermodorus, a Samian by birth, says that a goose became enamoured of the philosopher Lacydes. In Leucadia, again, Clearchus says, a peacock was so much in love with a maiden that when she departed this life it died with her. There is a story in Iasus that a dolphin fell in love with a boy, as Duris records in his ninth book. He is talking about Alexander, and his account follows: "He summoned also the boy of Iasus. For near this city lived a boy named Dionysius who, in company with the other boys of the wrestling-school, went to the seashore and began to dive in. A dolphin came up to him out of the sea, and taking him on his back swam off with him a very great distance, setting him down again safely on the shore." Moreover, the dolphin is a most friendly animal to man and extremely intelligent, and knows how to repay kindness with gratitude. Phylarchus, at any rate, says in the twelfth book: "Coeranus of Miletus saw that some fishermen had caught a dolphin in their net and were on the point of cutting it up; after entreating them and paying them money he let the dolphin go in the sea. Some time later he met with shipwreck off Myconos, and when all the rest were lost, Coeranus alone was saved by a dolphin. When he died in old age in his native city his funeral chanced to take place in Miletus by the seashore; and a school of dolphins appeared that day in the harbour, a short distance from the company attending the remains of Coeranus, just as if they were joining in the funeral and the mourning for the man." Phylarchus, again, records in the twentieth book what great affection the animal known as the elephant had for a baby. He writes as follows: "With this elephant was kept a female elephant which they called Nicaea; when the wife of the Indian keeper was dying she placed her month-old baby in its care. On the woman's death a remarkable affection for the child arose in the animal; in fact she could not endure the baby's being separated from her, and she was distressed whenever the baby was out of her sight. So, whenever the nurse had satisfied the child with milk, she would place it in its cradle right between the animal's feet. Whenever she failed to do this, the elephant would refuse to take food. Then, throughout the livelong day, she would take the stalks from the fodder set before her and brush away the flies from the baby while it slept; and whenever it cried, she would rock the cradle with her trunk and put it to sleep. And the same thing was often done by the male elephant also."
You, however, my philosophers, are more cruel and more untamed in your hearts than dolphins and elephants, although Persaeus of Citium in his Convivial Notes loudly proclaims that "it is appropriate for a man in his cups to make mention of sexual matters; for (he said) we are naturally prone to this when we tipple. In those circumstances those who indulge in them in a gentlemanly and moderate fashion are to be praised, but those who do it in beastly and insatiate ways are to be blamed. And if men skilled in dialectic should converse on the subject of syllogisms when they have gathered for a drinking-party, one might protest that they were acting in a way alien to the occasion, when even a polite gentleman might get drunk. Moreover, people who desire very earnestly to be sober maintain that ideal up to a certain point in their drinking-parties; later, when the spirit of the wine insinuates itself, then they display the entire picture of indecency; this actually happened the other day when the delegation from Arcadia visited Antigonus. For they were breakfasting very solemnly and decently, according to their notions, not only not glancing at any of us, but even casting no looks at one another. But when the drinking was going on apace and there entered, among other entertaining shows, those Thessalian dancing-girls who danced, as their custom is, in loincloths without other covering, the men could no longer restrain themselves, but started up from their couches and shouted aloud at the wonderful sight they were seeing; and they hailed the king as a happy man because he was privileged to enjoy these things, and they proceeded to commit very many other vulgarities similar to that. There was a philosopher drinking with us; and when a flute-girl entered and desired to sit beside him, although there was plenty of room for the girl at his side, he refused to permit it, and assumed an attitude of insensibility. But later, when the flute-girl was put up for the highest bidder, as is the custom in drinking-bouts, he became very vehement during the bargaining, and when the auctioneer too quickly assigned the girl to some one else, he expostulated with him, denying that he had completed the sale, and finally that insensible philosopher came to blows, although at the beginning he would not permit the flute-girl even to sit beside him." Possibly it was Persaeus himself who got into the fist-fight over the flute-girl; for Antigonus of Carystus mentions him in his work On Zeno, writing as follows: "Zeno of Citium, when Persaeus bought a little flute-player at a drinking-party, but hesitated to take her home because he lived in the same house with Zeno, no sooner perceived this than he pulled the lass into the house and shut her up with Persaeus." I know, too, of Polystratus of Athens, nicknamed the Etruscan, and a disciple of Theophrastus, that he used to clothe himself in the garments of the flute-girls.
Even princes were often excited over flute-girls and harp-girls, as is made clear by Parmenio in the Letter to Alexander dispatched to him after the capture of Damascus, when he came into possession of Darius's household goods. Having caused an inventory to be made of the captured stuff, he writes also the following: "I discovered concubines of the king who played musical instruments, to the number of 329; men employed to weave chaplets, 46; caterers, 277; kettle-tenders, 29; pudding-makers, 13; bartenders, 17; wine-clarifiers, 70; perfume- makers, 14."
And to you, my companions, I say that there is nothing so likely to delight the eye as a woman's beauty. The tragic poet Chaeremon's Oeneus, at any rate, in describing some girls whom he was gazing at, says in the play which bears his name: "One lay there displaying to the moonlight her white breast, her tunic slipped from her shoulder; of another girl, again, the left side had been loosed to view by the dance; bared to the eyes of the sky, it showed a living picture; its colour, so white to my eyes, outshone the effect of the shadowy darkness. Another girl had bared her fair arms and shoulders as she clasped the delicate neck of her companion; she, meanwhile, her robes all torn, showed her thigh from beneath its folds, and desire for that smiling loveliness was stamped upon my mind, but without hope. For-done with sleep they lay where they had thrown themselves, on beds of calamint, after twining together the darkling petals of violets and the crocus, which had rubbed its sunny likeness into the woven texture of their robes, and there sweet marjoram, lush-grown by the dew, stretched forth its tender stalks in the meadows."
Now this poet, being attracted to flowers, has this also to say in Alphesiboea: "Radiant and magnificent, her white skin shone resplendent in the vision of her body, yet modesty tempered the gentle blush with which she covered her brightness of colour; her long tresses, curls and all, as of some statue fashioned of wax, were tossed about luxuriantly in the humming breezes." And in his Io he called flowers "the children of the spring-time": "The men had strewn all about the children of the spring-time." But in The Centaur, a play written in many metres, they are "children of the meadow": "Thereupon some of the maidens charged upon the unnumbered, spearless host of flowers, hunting in their delight the lush children of the meadows." Again, in Dionysus: "Ivy, that lover of the dancing choirs, child of the year." And of roses he speaks in his Odysseus as follows: "In their long hair they wore the eyes of the Horae, lovely-flowered roses, splendid nurselings of the spring-time." In Thyestes: "Roses of bright lustre, together with white lilies." And in The Minyae: "Love's fruit was there to be seen in abundance, darkling to the ripeness of youthful bloom at time's decree."
Many women have been renowned for their beauty (indeed, as Euripides says, "an aged bard can still celebrate Memory"). Among them was Thargelia of Miletus, who had been married fourteen times, and who was very beautiful in looks as well as clever, according to the Sophist Hippias in his work entitled A Collection. Dinon, in the fifth book of his Persian History, first part, says that the wife of Bagabazus, who was a step-sister of Xerxes by the same father, and named Anoutis, was the most beautiful of all the women in Asia, and the most licentious. Phylarchus, in his nineteenth book, says that Timosa, the concubine of Oxyartes, surpassed all other women in beauty. This girl had been sent as a present by the king of Egypt to Statira, the king's wife. Again, Theopompus, in the fifty-sixth book of his Histories, says that Xenopeitheia, the mother of Lysandridas, was more beautiful than all the other women of Peloponnesus. But the Lacedaemonians murdered her and her sister Chryse when King Agesilaus, having defeated Lysandridas, who was his personal enemy, in party quarrels, caused him to be banished by the Lacedaemonians. Very beautiful, also, was Pantica of Cyprus, concerning whom Phylarchus says, in the tenth book of his Histories, that when she was living at the court of Olympias, Alexander's mother, she was demanded in marriage by Monimus, the son of Pythion. But since the woman was licentious, Olympias said to him: "You poor fool, you are marrying with your eyes and not with your reason." Then again, there was the woman who restored Peisistratus to supreme power, as having the likeness of Athena Pallenis, and who, Phylarchus says, was beautiful, seeing that she resembled the goddess in looks. She had been a flower-girl; and Peisistratus gave her in marriage to his son Hipparchus, as Anticleides records in the eighth book of his Returns: "He also gave in marriage to his son Hipparchus the woman who had driven beside him, Phya the daughter of Socrates, and for Hippias, who assumed the tyranny after him, he took the daughter of the former polemarch Charmus, a very beautiful girl. It happened, he says, that Charmus had been the lover of Hippias and had been the first to establish the Eros near the Academy, on which is the inscription: 'Eros of many devices, for thee hath Charmus established this altar here at the shadowy limits of the Gymnasium.'" Again, Hesiod in the third book of his Epic of Melampus has called Chalcis, in Euboea, the city of lovely women. The women there are indeed good- looking, as Theophrastus also testifies. And Nymphodorus, in his Voyage in Asia, says that women more beautiful than women anywhere else are found in Tenedos, the island near Troy.
I know also of a contest of feminine beauty that was instituted once; Nicias, recounting this in his History of Arcadia, says that Cypselus instituted it after founding a city in the plain of the Alpheius river; in it he settled some Parrhasians and dedicated a precinct and altar to Demeter of Eleusis, in whose festival he held the beauty contest; and on the first occasion his own wife Herodice won the prize. This contest is held even to the present day, and the women who enter are called "Chrysophoroe." Theophrastus, too, says that there is a beauty contest of men in Elis, that the trial is held with all solemnity, and that the winners receive weapons as prizes; these, says Dionysius of Leuctra, are dedicated to Athena, and the winner, beribboned by his friends, leads the procession which marches to her temple. But the crown given to the winners is of myrtle, as Myrsilus records in his Historical Paradoxes. In some places, the same Theophrastus says, there were female contests also of sobriety and housekeeping, as among the barbarians; in other places, of beauty, as though this also deserved a reward of honour, as among the people of Tenedos and of Lesbos; but, he says, this honour is a matter of chance or of nature, whereas a special reward for sobriety should be offered. For only so is beauty an honourable thing, otherwise there is danger that it will lead to licentiousness.
After this long catalogue had been given in order by Myrtilus, and all the others had expressed their admiration for his powers of memory, Cynulcus said: "Learning, much learning -- than which there is nothing more empty!" So said the godless Hippon. But even the divine Heracleitus says: "Much learning teaches not how to possess wisdom." And Timon, also, said: "And the boasting of much learning withal, than which there is nothing more empty." What, really, is the use of all these names, you pedant -- more likely to obstruct than to instruct your hearers? Why, if one should ask you who the men were who shut themselves up in the Wooden Horse, you would perhaps tell at most the name of one or two; and you couldn't get even that number from the poems of Stesichorus -- hardly! -- but from the Sack of Troy by Sacadas of Argos: he, to be sure, has given a list of a great many. What is more, you probably couldn't recite so glibly the names of Odysseus's companions, and who among them were devoured by the Cyclops, or by the Laestrygones, or whether they really were devoured; well then, you don't even know this, though you continually quote Phylarchus, that in the towns of Ceos neither courtesans nor flute-girls are to be seen.
Thereupon Myrtilus asked: Where has Phylarchus said this? For I have read his History from one end to the other. When Cynulcus replied, In the twenty-third book, Myrtilus said: Then am I not right in hating all of you philosophers, seeing that you hate literature? You are the persons whom not only King Lysimachus drove by proclamation from his kingdom, as Carystius declares in his Historical Notes, but the Athenians did it as well. Alexis, at any rate, says in The Horseman: "So this is what the Academy is, this is Xenocrates? May the gods grant many blessings to Demetrius and the legislators, for they have hurled to perdition out of Attica the men who transmit to our youth the power of discourse, as they call it." A man named Sophocles also drove out of Attica all philosophers by a decree; against him Philon, a disciple of Aristotle, wrote a speech, after Demochares, the cousin of Demosthenes, had made a speech defending Sophocles. And the Romans, too, the most virtuous of men in all things, cast out the Sophists from Rome on the ground that they corrupted the young men; later, for some reason or other, they took them back. The comic poet Anaxippus brings out clearly your foolishness when he says, in Thunder-struck: "Woe's me, you go in for philosophy! But I find philosophers are wise only when it is a matter of words, but when it comes to actions I see they are fools."
With good reason, therefore, many states, including especially the Lacedaemonian (so says Chamaeleon in his work On Simonides), refuse to permit the teaching either of rhetoric or philosophy because of the envious strife in which you indulge in your debates, and because of your untimely arguments; because of which, in fact, Socrates lost his life -- he who, in the presence of the very men who were assigned by lot to jury-duty, used arguments of the most knavish sort, though his theme was justice; on this account, also, Theodorus the atheist lost his life, and Diagoras was sent into exile; on which occasion, when he was sailing away, he met with shipwreck; again, Diotimus, who wrote the books attacking Epicurus, was sought out by Zeno the Epicurean and put to death, as Demetrius of Magnesia tells us in Like-named Poets. To put it concisely in the words of Clearchus of Soli, you do not pursue a life of dogged endurance, but rather you live truly the life of the Cynic dogs; although this animal possesses a nature that is extraordinary for four qualities, of which you share and keep only the worst. For example, in his powers of perception, with reference to his sense of smell, and with reference to the familiar and the unfamiliar, the dog is remarkable; and in his association with man as the guardian of the house, and in his capacity to watch over the lives of all who treat him well, he is most extraordinary; but neither of these two last qualities belongs to you, who imitate the life of Cynic dogs. For you neither associate with men, nor can you discern the character of anyone with whom you deal, and further, you lag far behind the dog in your powers of perception, and live idly and unguardedly. But the dog is also by nature snarling and voracious, and what is more, he lives an abject and naked life, and both these qualities you diligently affect, for you are given to abuse, you are voracious, and in addition to this, you live on, homeless and hearthless. As a result of all this you are aliens to virtue, and futile when it comes to a useful life. In fact, there is nothing more unphilosophic than the so-called philosophers. For who ever expected Aeschines, the disciple of Socrates, to prove himself such a character as the orator Lysias describes in his speeches On Contracts? We admire Aeschines as a good, sober man, to judge him by his dialogues published under his name, unless, to be sure, they are really compositions of the wise Socrates presented to Aeschines as a token of esteem by Xanthippe, Socrates's wife, after his death, as Idomeneus and others of his group assert.
However that may be, in the speech bearing the title Against Aeschines the Socratic, for debt -- I will quote it, although what he says is lengthy, to match your loud swaggering, my philosophers! -- the orator begins thus: "I should never have expected Aeschines, gentlemen of the court, to hazard a verdict in a case so scandalous as this, and I do not think he could easily find another case that smelt more of blackmail than this does. For the plaintiff here, gentlemen of the court, owed money, with interest at three drachmas a month, to the banker Sosinomus and to Aristogeiton, and he came to me with the entreaty not to permit him to be evicted from his property, because of the defaulted interest. 'I am setting up,' said he, 'the business of distilling perfumes; I require capital, and I will pay you nine obols per mina a month interest.'" Glorious, indeed, is the philosopher's goal of happiness, this business of distilling perfumes, the natural sequence, too, of the Socratic philosophy! For Socrates was a man who actually disapproved of such a use of perfumes, and Solon the lawgiver would not so much as permit a male to superintend that kind of business; hence Pherecrates, too, says in The Oven or The Vigil: "And besides, what is a man thinking of that he should keep a perfume-stall, loftily seated under an awning, his establishment just a gathering-place for lads to gossip in the livelong day?" Then he goes on to say: "For example, no one has ever yet seen a butcheress or a fishmongeress." He means that the various arts should be adapted appropriately to each sex. Well, following the words given above the orator continues: "I was persuaded by this plea of his, believing at the same time that as he had been a disciple of Socrates and had been giving many solemn lectures on justice and virtue, he would never undertake or venture upon those acts which only the most depraved and dishonest men undertake to practise."
After this the orator again attacks him for the manner in which he had borrowed the money: he had paid neither interest nor principal; he had let the day of payment lapse, and by a court verdict had been adjudged in default; and a branded slave of his had been seized as security; finally, after many other accusations against him Lysias concludes: "But enough of this, gentlemen of the court; not towards me alone has he been that sort of man, but towards all others who have had dealings with him. Do not the retail-dealers who live near him, and from whom he gets credit without paying his bills, shut up their shops and go to law with him, while his neighbours are so ill-treated by him that they abandon their own houses and hire others far away? And as for all the club-contributions which he has collected -- he does not pay out the sums left over, but they are as completely ruined by this swindling peddler as (a chariot which crashes when) rounding the turning-post. And so many people go to his house at day-break to claim what is owing to them that the passers-by imagine that he is dead, and that they have come to attend his funeral. Moreover, the Peiraeus merchants are in such a state of mind that it seems much safer to them to send a ship to the Adriatic than to lend money to him. For in fact he regards what he borrows as far more his own than what his father bequeathed to him. Why! Has he not acquired the property of Hermaeus the perfume-seller, after seducing his wife, who was seventy years old? Pretending to be in love with her, he put her in such a state of mind that he made beggars of her husband and her sons, and promoted himself from the condition of peddler to that of perfume-seller; with such erotic passion did he treat 'the girlie' the while he enjoyed her 'youth.' Why! It was easier to count her teeth than the fingers of one's hand, so much fewer were they. Witnesses of these facts, step up on the platform. -- So the life of the sophist is as I have described it." So much, then, for what Lysias has said, my Cynulcus. As for myself, I have spoken, to quote the tragic poet Aristarchus, "Not as the aggressor in these things, but as the avenger," and I will now bring to a close the speech here spoken against you and the other Cynic-Dogs.
END OF BOOK XIII
Article on the Deipnosophistai (Encyclopaedia Iranica)
Enter the Bath House
The Electronic Library of the Bath House
HelioGabby's Home Page