Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists

BOOK 13, Pages 551-571

Translated by C.D.Yonge (1854). A few words and spellings have been changed.

See key to translations for an explanation of the format. The page numbers in the Greek text are shown in red. The chapter numbers in the translation are shown in green.

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[1.] G   [555] Antiphanes the comic writer, my friend Timocrates, when he was reading one of his own comedies to Alexander the king, and when it was plain that the king did not think much of it, said to him, "The fact is, O king, that a man who is to appreciate this play, ought to have often supped at contribution-dinners, and must have often borne and inflicted blows in the cause of courtesans," as Lycophron of Chalcis relates in his treatise on Comedy. And accordingly we, who are now about to set out a discussion on amatory matters, (for there was a good deal of conversation about married women and about courtesans,) saying what we have to say to people who understand the subject, will invoke the Muse Erato to impress anew on our memory that long amatory catalogue, and make our commencement from this point [ Apollonius Rhodius, 3.1 ]:-
  Come now, O Erato, and tell me truly
what it was that was said by the different guests about love and about amatory matters.

[2.] G   For our admirable host, praising the married women, said that Hermippus stated in his book about lawgivers, that at Lacedaemon all the damsels used to be shut up in a dark room, while a number of unmarried young men were shut up with them; and whichever girl each of the young men caught hold of he led away as his wife, without a dowry. On which account they punished Lysander, because he left his former wife, and wished to marry another who was by far more beautiful. But Clearchus of Soli, in his treatise On Proverbs, says,- "In Lacedaemon the women, on a certain festival, drag the unmarried men to an altar, and then thrash them; in order that, for the purpose of avoiding the insult of such treatment, they may become more affectionate, and in due season may turn their thoughts to marriage. But at Athens, Cecrops was the first person who married a man to one wife only, when before his time relationships had taken place at random, and men had had their wives in common. On which account it was, as some people state, that Cecrops was called διφυὴς ['of double nature'], because before his time people did not know who their fathers were, by reason of the numbers of men who might have been so." And beginning in this manner, one might fairly blame those who attributed to Socrates two wives, Xanthippe and Myrto, the daughter of Aristeides; not of that Aristeides who was surnamed the Just, (for the time does not agree,) but of his descendant in the third generation. [556] And the men who made this statement are Callisthenes, and Demetrius Phalereus, and Satyrus the Peripatetic, and Aristoxenus; who were preceded in it by Aristotle, who relates the same story in his treatise On Nobleness of Birth. Unless perhaps this licence was allowed by a decree at that time on account of the scarcity of men, so that any one who pleased might have two wives; to which it must be owing that the comic poets make no mention of this fact, though they very often mention Socrates. And Hieronymus of Rhodes has cited the decree about wives; which I will send to you, since I have the book. But Panaetius of Rhodes has contradicted those who make this statement about the wives of Socrates.

[3.] G   But among the Persians the queen tolerates the king's having a number of concubines, because there the king rules his wife like her master; and also because the queen, as Dinon states in his history of Persia, receives a great deal of respect from the concubines. At all events they offer her obeisance. And Priamus, too, had a great many women, and Hecabe was not indignant. Accordingly, Priamus says [ Homer, Il_24'496 ]-
  Nineteen of my sons are from one womb;
  The rest were born to women in my halls.

But among the Greeks, the mother of Phoenix does not tolerate the concubine of Amyntor [ Homer, Il_9'447 ]. And Medeia, although well acquainted with the fashion, as one well established among the barbarians, refuses to tolerate the marriage of Glauce, because she has been introduced to better habits amongst the Greeks. And Clytaemnestra, being exceedingly indignant at a similar provocation, slays Cassandra with Agamemnon himself, when the monarch brought her back with him into Greece, having yielded to the fashion of barbarian marriages.

"And a man may wonder," says Aristotle, "that Homer has nowhere in the Iliad represented any concubine as living with Menelaus, though he has given wives to every one else. And accordingly, in Homer, even old men sleep with women, such as Nestor and Phoenix. For these men were not worn out or disabled in the time of their youth, either by intoxication, or by too much indulgence in love; or by any weakness of digestion engendered by gluttony; so that it was natural for them to be still vigorous in old age. The king of Sparta, then, appears to have too much respect for his wedded wife Helene, on whose account he gathered all the Greek army; and on this account he keeps aloof from any other relationship. But Agamemnon is reproached by Thersites, as a man with many wives [ Il_2'226 ]-
  Yours is whatever the warrior's breast inflames,
  The golden spoil, and yours the lovely dames;
  With all the wealth the Achaeans can bestow,
  Your tents are crowded, your chests do overflow.
"But it is not natural," says Aristotle, "to suppose that all that multitude of female slaves were given to him as concubines, but only as prizes; since he also provided himself with a great quantity of wine, but not for the purpose of getting drunk himself [ Il_7'467 ]."

[4.] G   But Heracles is the man who appears to have had more wives than any one else, for he was very much addicted to women; and he had them in turn, like a soldier, and a man employed at different times in different countries. And by them he had also a great multitude of children. For, in one week, as Herodorus relates, he relieved the fifty daughters of Thestius of their virginity. Aegeus also was a man of many wives. For, first of all he married the daughter of Hoples, and after her he married one of the daughters of Chalcodon, and giving both of them to his friends, he cohabited with a great many without marriage. Afterwards he took Aethra, the daughter of Pittheus; after her he took Medeia. [557] And Theseus, having attempted to ravish Helene, after that carried off Ariadne. Accordingly Ister, in the fourteenth book of his History of the Affairs of Athens, giving a catalogue of those women who became the wives of Theseus, says that some of them became so out of love, and that some were carried off by force, and some were married in legal marriage. Now by force were ravished Helene, Ariadne, Hippolyte, and the daughters of Cercyon and Sinis; and he legally married Meliboea, the mother of Ajax. And Hesiodus says that he also married Hippe and Aegle; on account of whom he broke the oaths which he had sworn to Ariadne, as Cercops tells us. And Pherecydes adds Phereboea. And before ravishing Helene, he had also carried off Anaxo from Troezen; and after Hippolyte he also had Phaedra.

[5.] G   And Philippus the Macedonian did not take any women with him to his wars, as Dareius did, whose power was subverted by Alexander. For he used to take about with him three hundred and fifty concubines in all his wars; as Dicaearchus relates in the third book of his Life in Greece. "But Philippus," says he, "was always marrying new wives in war time. For, in the twenty-two years which he reigned, as Satyrus relates in his History of his Life, having married Audata the Illyrian, he had by her a daughter named Cynna; and he also married Phila, a sister of Derdas and Machatas. And wishing to conciliate the nation of the Thessalians, he had children by two Thessalian women; one of whom was Nicesipolis of Pherae, who brought him a daughter named Thessalonice; and the other was Philinna of Larissa, by whom he had Arrhidaeus. He also acquired the kingdom of the Molossians, when he married Olympias, by whom he had Alexander and Cleopatra. And when he subdued Thrace, there came to him Cothelas, the king of the Thracians, bringing with him Meda his daughter, and many presents: and having married her, he added her to Olympias. And after all these, being violently in love, he married Cleopatra, the sister of Hippostratus and niece of Attalus. And bringing her also home to Olympias, he made all his life unquiet and troubled. For, as soon as this marriage took place, Attalus said, 'Now, indeed, legitimate kings shall be born, and not bastards.' And Alexander having heard this, smote Attalus with a goblet which he had in his hand; and Attalus in return struck him with his cup. And after that Olympias fled to the Molossians; and Alexander fled to the Illyrians. And Cleopatra bore to Philippus a daughter who was named Europa."

Euripides the poet, also, was much addicted to women: at all events Hieronymus in his Historical Commentaries speaks as follows,- "When some one told Sophocles that Euripides was a woman-hater, 'He may be,' said he, 'in his tragedies, but in his bed he is very fond of women.' "

[6.] G   But our married women are not such as Eubulus speaks of in his Female Garland-sellers -
  By Zeus, we are not painted with vermilion,
  Nor with dark mulberry juice, as you are often:
  And then, if in the summer you go out,
  Two rivulets of dark discoloured hue
  Flow from your eves, and sweat drops from your jaws,
  And makes a scarlet furrow down your neck;
  And the light hair, which wantons o'er your face,
  [558] Seems grey, so thickly is it plastered over.

And Anaxilas, in his Neottis, says-
  The man whoever has loved a courtesan,
  Will say that no more lawless worthless race
  Can anywhere be found: for what ferocious
  Unsociable she-dragon, what Chimaera,
  Though it breathe fire from its mouth, what Charybdis,
  What three-headed Scylla, dog of the sea,
  Or hydra, sphinx, or raging lioness,
  Or viper, or winged harpy (greedy race),
  Could go beyond those most accursed harlots?
  There is no monster greater. They alone
  Surpass all other evils put together.
  And let us now consider them in order:-
  First there is Plangōn; she, like a Chimaera,
  Scorches the wretched barbarians with fire;
  One knight alone was found to rid the world of her,
  Who, like a brave man, stole her furniture
  And fled, and she despairing, disappeared.
  Then for Sinope's friends, may I not say
  That it is a hydra they cohabit with?
  For she is old: but near her age, and like her,
  Greedy Gnathaena flaunts, a twofold evil.
  And as for Nanniŏn, in what, I pray,
  Does she from Scylla differ? Has she not
  Already swallowed up two lovers, and
  Opened her greedy jaws to enfold a third?
  But he with prosperous oar escaped the gulf.
  Then does not Phryne beat Charybdis hollow?
  Who swallows the sea-captains, ship and all.
  Is not Theano a mere de-feathered Siren?
  Their face and voice are woman's, but their legs
  Are feathered like a blackbird's. Take the lot,
  'Tis not too much to call them Theban Sphinxes.
  For they speak nothing plain, but only riddles;
  And in enigmas tell their victims how
  They love and dote, and long to be caressed.
  "Would that I had a quadruped," says one,
  That may serve for a bed or easy chair.
  "Would that I had a tripod" - "Or a biped,"
  That is, a handmaid. And the hapless fool
  Who understands these hints, like Oedipus,
  If saved at all is saved against his will.
  But they who do believe they're really loved
  Are much elated, and raise their heads to heaven.
  And in a word, of all the beasts on earth
  The direst and most treacherous is a harlot.

[7.] G   After Larensis had said all this, Leonides, finding fault with the very name γαμετή ("married woman"), quoted these verses out of the Soothsayers of Alexis-
  Oh wretched are we husbands, who have sold
  All liberty of life, all luxury,
  And live as slaves of women, not as freemen.
  We say we have a dowry; do we not
  Endure the penalty, full of female bile,
  Compared to which the bile of man's pure honey?
  For men, though injured, pardon: but the women
  First injure us, and then reproach us more;
  They rule those whom they should not; those they should
  They constantly neglect. They falsely swear;
  They have no single hardship, no disease;
  And yet they are complaining without end.

[559] And Xenarchus, in his Sleep, says-
  Are then the grasshoppers not happy, say you ?
  When they have wives who cannot speak a word.

And Philetaerus, in his Corinthiast, says-
  O Zeus, how melting and soft an eye
  The lady has! 'Tis not for nothing we
  Behold the temple of Hetaera here;
  But there is not one temple to a wife
  Throughout the whole of Greece.

And Amphis says in his Athamas-
  Is not a courtesan much more good-humoured
  Than any wedded wife ? No doubt she is,
  And it is only natural; for she, by law,
  Thinks she's a right to sulk and stay at home:
  But well the other knows that it is her manners
  By which alone she can retain her friends;
  And if they fail, she must seek out some others.

[8.] G   And Eubulus, in his Chrysilla, says-
  May that man, fool as he is, who marries
  A second wife, most miserably perish;
  Him who weds one, I will not blame too much,
  For he knew little of the ills he courted.
  But well the widower had proved all
  The ills which are in wedlock and in wives.

And a little further on he says-
  O holy Zeus, may I be quite undone,
  If ever I say a word against the women,
  The choicest of all creatures. And suppose
  Medeia was a termagant,- what then ?
  Was not Penelope a noble creature ?
  If one should say, "Just think of Clytaemnestra,"
  I meet him with Alcestis chaste and true.
  Perhaps he'll turn and say no good of Phaedra;
  But think of virtuous . . .. who ? . . . . Alas, alas!
  I cannot recollect another good one,
  Though I could still count bad ones up by scores.

And Aristophon, in his Callonides, says-
  May he be quite undone, he well deserves it,
  Who dares to marry any second wife;
  A man who marries once may be excused;
  Not knowing what misfortune he was seeking.
  But he who, once escaped, then tries another,
  With his eyes open seeks for misery.

And Antiphanes, in his Philopator, says-
  (A)   He's married now.
  (B)   How say you? do you mean
  He's really gone and married- when I left him,
  Alive and well, possessed of all his senses ?

And Menander, in his Symbol-Bearer, or The Female Flute-player, says-
  (A)   You will not marry if you're in your senses,
  Abandoning your current life. For I myself
  Did marry; so I recommend you not to.
  (B)   The matter is decided- the die is cast.
  (A)   Go on then. I do wish you then well over it;
  But you are taking arms, with no good reason,
  Against a sea of troubles. In the waves
  Of the deep Libyan or Aegean sea
  Scarce three of thirty ships are lost or wrecked;
  But scarcely one poor husband escapes at all.

And in his Woman Burnt he says-
  Oh, may the man be totally undone
  Who was the first to venture on a wife;
  And then the next who followed his example;
  And then the third, and fourth, and all who followed.

And Carcinus the tragedian, in his Semele (which begins, "O nights"), says-
  O Zeus, why need one waste one's words
  In speaking ill of women? for what worse
  Can he add, once he has called them women.

[9.] G   But, above all other cases, those who when advanced in years marry young wives, do not perceive that they are running voluntarily into danger, which every one else foresees plainly; and that, too, though the Megarian poet [ Theognis_457 ] has given them this warning:
  [560] A young wife suits not with an aged husband;
  For she will not obey the pilot's helm
  Like a well-managed boat; nor can the anchor
  Hold her securely in her port, but oft
  She breaks her chains and cables in the night,
  And headlong drives into another harbour.

And Theophilus, in his Neoptolemus, says-
  A young wife does not suit an old man well;
  For, like a crazy boat, she not at all
  Answers the helm, but slips her cable off
  By night, and in some other port is found.

[10.] G   And I do not think that any of you are ignorant, my friends, that the greatest wars have taken place on account of women:- the Trojan war on account of Helene; the plague which took place in it was on account of Chryseis; the anger of Achilles was excited about Briseis; and the war called the Sacred War, on account of another wife (as Duris relates in the second book of his History), who was a Theban by birth, by name Theano, and who was carried off by some Phocian. And this war also lasted ten years, and in the tenth year was brought to an end by the cooperation of Philippus; for by his aid the Thebans took Phocis.

The war, also, which is called the Crissaean War (as Callisthenes tells us in his account of the Sacred War), when the Crissaeans made war upon the Phocians, lasted ten years; and it was excited on this account,- because the Crissaeans carried off Megisto, the daughter of Pelagon the Phocian, and the daughters of the Argives, as they were returning from the Pythian temple: and in the tenth year Crissa was taken. And whole families also have been ruined owing to women;- for instance, that of Philippus, the father of Alexander, was ruined on account of his marriage with Cleopatra; and Heracles was ruined by his marriage with Iole, the daughter of Eurytus; and Theseus on account of his marriage with Phaedra, the daughter of Minos; and Athamas on account of his marriage with Themisto, the daughter of Hypseus; and Jason on account of his marriage with Glauce, the daughter of Creon; and Agamemnon on account of Cassandra. And, the expedition of Cambyses against Egypt (as Ctesias relates) took place on account of a woman; for Cambyses, having heard that Egyptian women were far more amorous than other women, sent to Amasis the king of the Egyptians, asking him for one of his daughters in marriage. But Amasis did not give him one of his own daughters, thinking that she would not be honoured as a wife, but only treated as a concubine; but he sent him Nitetis, the daughter of Apries. And Apries had been deposed from the sovereignty of Egypt, because of the defeats which had been inflicted on him by the Cyrenaeans; and afterwards he had been put to death by Amasis. Accordingly, Cambyses, being much pleased with Nitetis, and being very violently in love with her, learnt the whole circumstances of the case from her; and she entreated him to avenge the murder of Apries, and persuaded him to make war upon the Egyptians. But Dinon, in his History of Persia, and Lynceas of Naucratis, in the third book of his History of Egypt, say that it was Cyrus to whom Nitetis was sent by Amasis; and that she was the mother of Cambyses, who made this expedition against Egypt to avenge the wrongs of his mother and her family.  # But Duris the Samian says that the first war carried on by two women was that between Olympias and Eurydice; in which Olympias advanced something in the manner of a Bacchant, with drums beating; but Eurydice came forward armed like a Macedonian soldier, having been already accustomed to war and military habits at the court of Cynnane the Illyrian.

[11.] G   [561] Now, after this conversation, it seemed good to the philosophers who were present to say something themselves about love and about beauty: and so a great many philosophical sentiments were uttered; among which, some quoted the songs of the dramatic philosopher, Euripides, some of which were these:-
  Eros, who is wisdom's pupil gay,
  To virtue often leads the way:
  And this great god
  Is of all others far the best for man;
  For with his gentle nod
  He bids them hope, and banishes all pain.
  Never may I be amongst those who scorn
  To own his power, and live forlorn,
  Cherishing habits all uncouth.
  I entreat every youth
  Never to flee from Love,
  But welcome him, and willing subjects prove.

And some one else quoted from Pindarus:-
  Let it be my fate always to love,
  And to obey love's will in proper season.

And some one else added the following lines from Euripides:-
  But you, O mighty Eros, of gods and men
  The sovereign ruler, either bid what's fair
  To seem no longer fair; or else bring aid
  To hapless lovers whom you've caused to love,
  And aid the labours you yourself have prompted.
  If you do this, the gods will honour you;
  But if you keep aloof, you will not even
  Retain the gratitude which now they feel
  For having learnt of you the way to love.

[12.] G   And Pontianus said that Zenon of Citium thought that Eros was the God of Friendship and Liberty, and also that he was the great author of concord among men; but that he had no other office. On which account, he says in his Republic, that Eros is a God, being one who cooperates in securing the safety of the city. And the philosophers, who were earlier than him, also considered Eros a venerable Deity, removed from everything discreditable: and this is plain from their having set up holy statues in his honour in their gymnasia, along with those of Hermes and Heracles - the one of whom is the patron of eloquence, and the other of valour. And when these are united, friendship and unanimity are engendered; by means of which the most perfect liberty is secured to those who excel in these practices. But the Athenians were so far from thinking that Eros presided over the mere gratification of sexual intercourse, that, though the Academy was manifestly consecrated to Athena, they yet erected in that place also a statue of Eros, and sacrificed to it. The Thespians also celebrate Erotidia, or festivals of Eros, just as the Athenians do Athenaea, or festivals of Athena, and as the Eleans celebrate the Olympian festivals, and the Rhodians the Halieia. And in the public sacrifices, everywhere almost, Eros is honoured. And the Lacedaemonians offer sacrifices to Eros before they go to battle, thinking that safety and victory depend on the friendship of those who stand side by side in the battle array. And the Cretans, in their line of battle, adorn the handsomest of their citizens, and employ them to offer sacrifices to Eros on behalf of the state, as Sosicrates relates. And the regiment among the Thebans which is called the Sacred Band, is wholly composed of mutual lovers, indicating the majesty of Eros, as these men prefer a glorious death to a shameful and discreditable life. But the Samians (as Erxias says, in his History of Colophon), having consecrated a gymnasium to Eros, [562] called the festival which was instituted in his honour the Eleutheria ["Feast of Liberty"]; and it was owing to this God, too, that the Athenians obtained their freedom. And the Peisistratidae, after their banishment, were the first people who ever tried to throw discredit on the events which took place through his influence.

[13.] G   After this had been said, Plutarchus cited the following passage from the Phaedrus of Alexis:
  As I was coming back from Peiraeus,
  In great perplexity and sad distress,
  I fell to thoughts of deep philosophy.
  And first I thought that all the painters seem
  Ignorant of the real nature of Eros;
  And so do all the other artists too,
  Who make statues of this deity:
  For he is neither male nor female either;
  Again, he is not god, nor yet is he man:
  He is not foolish, nor yet is he wise;
  But he's made up of all kinds of quality,
  And underneath one form bears many natures.
  His courage is a man's; his cowardice
  A very woman's. Then his folly is
  Pure madness, but his wisdom a philosopher's;
  His vehemence is that of a wild beast,
  But his endurance is like adamant;
  His jealousy equals any other god's.
  And I, indeed,- by Athena and all the gods,-
  Do not myself precisely understand him;
  But still he much resembles my description,
  And I have come close to the truth.

And Eubulus, or Araros, in his Campylion, says:-
  What man was he, what modeller or painter,
  Who first did represent young Eros as winged?
  He was a man fit only to draw swallows,
  Quite ignorant of the character of the god.
  For he's not light, nor easy for a man
  Who's once by him been mastered, to shake off;
  But he's a heavy and tenacious master.
  How, then, can he be spoken of as winged:
  The man's a fool who such a thing could say.

And Alexis, in his Cut off, says:-
  For this opinion is by all the sophists
  Embraced, that Eros is not a winged god;
  But that the winged parties are the lovers,
  And that he falsely bears this imputation:
  So that it is out of pure ignorance
  That painters clothe this deity with wings.

[14.] G   And Theophrastus, in his book on Eros, says that Chaeremon the tragedian said in one of his plays, that:-
  As wine adapts itself to the constitution
  Of those who drink it, so likewise does Eros
  Who, when he's moderately worshipped,
  Is mild and manageable; but if loosed
  From moderation, then is fierce and troublesome.

. . . On which account the same poet [Euripides] afterwards, as he aptly distinguishes the god's powers, says [Euripides, IA_548]:-
  For he doth bend a double bow of beauty,
  And sometimes men to fortune leads,
  But sometimes overwhelms their lives
  With trouble and confusion.

. . . But the same poet [Alexis] also, in his play entitled The Wounded Man, speaks of people in love in this manner:-
  Who would not say that those who love
  Live a life of hard labour?
  For first of all they must be skilful soldiers,
  And able to endure great toil of body,
  And to stick close to the objects of their love:
  They must be active, and inventive too,
  Eager, and fertile in expedients,
  And prompt to see their way in difficulties.

[563] And Theophilus, in his Man fond of the Flute, says:-
  Who says that lovers are devoid of sense?
  He is himself no better than a fool:
  For if you take away from life its pleasures,
  You leave it nothing but impending death.
  And I myself am now indeed in love
  With a fair maiden playing on the harp;
  And tell me, pray, am I a fool for that?
  She's fair, she's tall, she's skilful in her art;
  And I'm more glad when I see her, than you
  (?) When you share the admission price among you.

But Aristophon, in his Pythagorean, says:-
  Now, is not Eros deservedly cast out
  From his place among the twelve immortal gods?
  For he did sow the seeds of great confusion,
  And quarrels dire, among that heavenly band,
  When he was one of them. And, as he was
  Bold and impertinent, they clipped his wings,
  That he might never soar again to heaven;
  And then they banished him to us below;
  And for the wings which he did boast before,
  Them they did give to Victory, a spoil
  Well won, and splendid, from her enemy.

Amphis, too, in his Dithyrambus, speaks thus of loving:-
  What do you say?- do you think that all your words
  Could ever persuade me that that man's a lover
  Who falls in love with a girl's manners only,
  And never thinks what kind of face she's got?
  I call him mad; nor can I ever believe
  That a poor man, who often sees a rich one,
  Forbears to covet some of his great riches.

But Alexis says in his Helene:-
  The man who falls in love with beauty's flower,
  And takes heed of nothing else, may be
  A lover of pleasure, but not of his love;
  And he does openly disparage Eros,
  And causes him to be suspect to others.

[15.] G   Myrtilus, having cited these lines of Alexis, and then looking round on the men who were partisans of the Stoic school, first recited the following passage out of the Iambics of Hermeias of Curium-
  Listen, you Stoiclings, traffickers in nonsense,
  Punners on words,- gluttons, who by yourselves
  Eat up the whole of what is in the dishes,
  And give no single bit to a philosopher.
  Besides, you are most clearly proved to do
  All that is contrary to those declarations
  Which you so pompously parade abroad,
  Hunting for beauty;-
and then went on to say,-  # And in this point alone you are imitators of the master of your school, Zenon the Phoenician, who was always a slave to the most infamous passions (as Antigonus of Carystus relates, in his Life of Zenon); for you are always saying that "the proper object of love is not the body, but the mind;" you who say at the same time, that you ought to remain faithful to the objects of your love, till they are eight-and-twenty years of age. And Ariston of Ceos, the Peripatetic, appears to me to have said very well (in the second book of his treatise on Likenesses connected with Love), to some Athenian who was very tall for his age, and at the same time was boasting of his beauty, (and his name was Dorus,) "It seems to me that one may very well apply to you the line which Odysseus uttered when he met Dolon [ Homer, Il_10'401 ],
  Great was thy aim, and mighty is the prize."

[16.] G   [564] But Hegesander, in his Commentaries, says that all men love seasoned dishes, but not plain meats, or plainly dressed fish. And accordingly, when there is no seasoning, no one willingly eats either meat or fish; nor does any one desire meat which is raw and unseasoned. For in ancient times men used to love boys (as Ariston relates); on which account it came to pass that the objects of their love were called boy-favourites [παιδικά]. And it was with truth (as Clearchus says in the first book of his treatise On Love and the Affairs of Love) that Lycophronides said:-
  No boy, no maid with golden ornaments,
  No woman with a deep and ample robe,
  Is so much beautiful as modest; for
  'Tis modesty that gives the bloom to beauty.

And Aristotle said that lovers look at no other part of the objects of their affection, but only at their eyes, in which modesty makes her abode. And Sophocles somewhere represents Hippodameia as speaking of the beauty of Pelops, and saying-
  And in his eyes the charm which love compels
  Shines forth a light, embellishing his face:
  He glows himself, and he makes me glow too,
  Measuring my eyes with his,- as any builder
  Makes his work correspond to his careful rule.

[17.] G   And Licymnius the Chian, saying that Hypnos [sleep] was in love with Endymion, represents him as refusing to close the eyes of the youth even when he is asleep; but the god sends his beloved one to sleep with his eyelids still open, so that he may not for a single moment be deprived of the pleasure of contemplating them. And his words are these:-
  But Hypnos much delighted
  In the bright beams which shot from his eyes,
  And lulled the youth to sleep with unclosed lids.

And Sappho says to a man who was admired above all measure for his beauty, and who was accounted very handsome indeed:-
  Stand opposite, my love,
  And open upon me
  The beauteous grace which from your eyes does flow.

And what says Anacreon?
  Oh, boy, as maiden fair, I fix my heart on you;
  But you despise my prayer,
  And little care that you do hold the reins
  Which my soul's course incessantly do guide.

And the magnificent Pindarus says:-
  The man who gazes on the brilliant rays
  Which shoot from the eyes
  Of beautiful Theoxenus, and yet can feel his heart
  Unmoved within his breast, nor yields to love,
  Must have a heart
  Black, and composed of adamant or iron.

But the Cyclops of Philoxenus of Cythera, in love with Galateia, and praising her beauty, and prophesying, as it were, his own blindness, praises every part of her rather than mention her eyes, which he does not; speaking thus:-
  O Galateia,
  Nymph with the beauteous face and golden hair,
  Whose voice the Graces tune,
  True flower of love, my beauteous Galateia.

But this is but a blind panegyric, and not at all to be compared with the poem of Ibycus:-
  Beauteous Euryalus, of all the Graces
  The choicest branch,- object of love to all
  The fair-haired {Muses},- sure the goddess
  Cypris, and tender-eyed Persuasion,
  Combined to nourish you on beds of roses.

And Phrynichus said of Troilus:-
  The light of love shines in his purple cheeks.

[18.] G   But you prefer having all the objects of your love shaved and hairless. And this custom of shaving the beard, originated in the age of Alexander, [565] as Chrysippus tells us in the fourth book of his treatise On the Beautiful and on Pleasure. And I think it will not be inappropriate if I quote what he says; for he is an author of whom I am very fond, on account of his great learning and his gentle good-humoured disposition. And these are the words of the philosopher:- "The custom of shaving the beard was introduced in the time of Alexander, for the people in earlier times did not practise it; and Timotheus the flute-player used to play on the flute having a very long beard. And at Athens they even now remember that the man who first shaved his chin, (and he is not a very ancient man indeed,) was given the surname of Κόρσης; on which account Alexis says:-
  Do you see any man whose beard has been
  Removed by sharp pitch-plasters or by razors?
  In one of these two ways he may be spoken, of:
  Either he seems to me to think of war,
  And so to be rehearsing acts of fierce
  Hostility against his beard and chin;
  Or else he's some complaint of wealthy men.
  For how, I pray you, do your beards annoy you? -
  Beards by which best you may be known as men!
  Unless, indeed, you're planning now some deed
  Unworthy of the character of men.

And Diogenes, when he saw some one once whose chin was smooth, said, 'I am afraid you think you have great ground to accuse nature, for having made you a man and not a woman.' And once, when he saw another man, riding a horse, who was shaved in the same manner, and perfumed all over, and clothed, too, in a fashion corresponding to those particulars, he said that he had often asked what a Ἱππόπορνος was; and now he had found out. And at Rhodes, though there is a law against shaving, still no one ever prosecutes another for doing so, as the whole population is shaved. And at Byzantium, though there is a penalty to which any barber is liable who is possessed of a razor, still every one uses a razor despite that law." And this is the statement of the admirable Chrysippus.

[19.] G   But that wise Zenon, as Antigonus of Carystus says, speaking, as it should seem, almost prophetically of the lives and professed discipline of your sect, said that "those who misunderstood and failed rightly to enter into the spirit of his words, would become dirty and mean; just as those who adopted Aristippus's sect, but perverted his precepts, became intemperate and shameless." And the greater portion of you are such as that, men with contracted brows, and dirty clothes, sordid not only in your dispositions, but also in your appearance. For, wishing to assume the character of independence and frugality, you are found at the gate of avarice, living sordidly, clothed in scanty cloaks, filling the soles of your shoes with nails, and giving hard names to any one who uses the very smallest quantity of perfume, or who is dressed in apparel which is at all delicate. But men of your sect have no business to be attracted by money, or to lead about the objects of their love with their beards shaved and smooth, who follow you, as Antiphanes, says:-
  In the Lyceium, with sophists, by Zeus! -
  Thin, starved philosophers, as dry as leather.

[20.] G   But I am a great admirer of beauty myself. For, in the contests [at Athens] for the prize of manliness, they select the handsomest, and give them the post of honour to bear the sacred vessels at the festivals of the gods. And at Elis there is a contest of beauty, and the conqueror has the vessels of the goddess given to him to carry; and the next handsomest has the ox to lead, and the third places the sacrificial cakes on the head of the victim. [566] But Heracleides Lembus relates that in Sparta the handsomest man and the handsomest woman have special honours conferred on them; and Sparta is famous for producing the handsomest women in the world. On which account they tell a story of king Archidamus, that when one wife was offered to him who was very handsome, and another who was ugly but rich, and he chose the rich one, the ephors imposed a fine upon him, saying that he had preferred begetting kinglings rather than kings for the Spartans. And Euripides has said:-
  Firstly, a form that is worthy of a kingdom.

And in Homer, the old men among the people marvelling at the beauty of Helene, are represented as speaking thus to one another [ Il_3'156 ]:-
  They cried, "No wonder the Trojans and Achaeans
  Have suffered woes so long for this woman;-
  Her countenance is like to an immortal goddess!"

And even Priamus himself is moved at the beauty of the woman, though he is in great distress. And also he admires Agamemnon for his beauty, and uses the following language respecting him [ Il_3'169 ]:-
  Say, what Greek is he
  Around whose brow such martial graces shine,-
  So tall, so awful, and almost divine!
  Though some of larger stature tread the green,
  None match his grandeur and exalted mien.

And many nations have made the handsomest men their kings on that account. As even to this day that Ethiopian tribe called the Immortals does; as Bion relates in his History of the Affairs of Ethiopia. For, as it would seem, they consider beauty as the especial attribute of kings. And goddesses have contended with one another respecting beauty; and it was on account of his beauty that the gods carried off Ganymedes to be the cupbearer of Zeus [ Homer, Il_20'235 ]:-
  The matchless Ganymedes, divinely fair,
  Whom Heaven, enamoured, snatched to upper air.

And who are they whom the goddesses have carried off? are they not the handsomest of men? And they cohabit with them; as Dawn does with Cephalus and Cleitus and Tithonus; and Demeter with Iasion; and Aphrodite with Anchises and Adonis. And it was for the sake of beauty also that the greatest of the gods entered through a roof under the form of gold, and became a bull, and often transformed himself into a winged eagle, as he did in the case of Aegina. And Socrates the philosopher, who despised everything, was, for all that, subdued by the beauty of Alcibiades; as also was the venerable Aristotle by the beauty of his pupil [Theodectas] of Phaselis. And do not we too, even in the case of inanimate things, prefer what is the most beautiful? The fashion, too, of Sparta is much praised, I mean that of displaying their maidens naked to their guests; and in the island of Chios it is a beautiful sight to go to the gymnasia and the race-courses, and to see the young men wrestling naked with the maidens, who are also naked.

[21.] G   And Cynulcus said:-

And do you dare to talk in this way, you who are not "rosy-fingered", as Cratinus says, but who have one foot made of cow-dung [ Aristophanes, Frogs_294 ], and carry around the leg of your namesake the poet [Myrtilus]? You spend all your time in wineshops and inns, although Isocrates the orator has said, in his Areopagitic Oration [ 49 ], "But not one of their servants ever would have ventured to eat or drink in a wineshop; for they studied to keep up the dignity of their appearance, and not to behave like buffoons." And Hypereides, in his oration against Patrocles (if, at least, the speech is a genuine one), says that they forbade a man who had dined at a wineshop from going up to the Areopagus. [22.] G   [567] But you, you sophist, spend your time in wineshops, not with your friends (ἑταίρων), but with prostitutes (ἑταιρῶν), having a lot of female pimps about you, and always carrying about these books of Aristophanes, and Apollodorus, and Ammonius, and Antiphanes, and also of Gorgias the Athenian, who have all written about the prostitutes at Athens. Oh, what a learned man you are! how far are you from imitating Theomander of Cyrene, who, as Theophrastus, in his treatise On Happiness, says, used to go about and profess that he gave lessons in prosperity. You, you teacher of love, are in no respect better than Amasis of Elis, whom Theophrastus, in his treatise On Love, says was extraordinarily addicted to amatory pursuits. And a man will not be much out who calls you a pornographer [πορνογράφος], just as they call Aristeides and (?) Pausias and Nicophanes painters [ζωγράφοι]. And Polemon mentions them, as painting these subjects exceedingly well, in his treatise On the Pictures at Sicyon. Think, my friends, of the great and varied learning of this grammarian, who does not conceal what he means, but openly quotes the verses of Eubulus, in his Cercopes:-
  I came to Corinth; there I ate with pleasure
  Some herb called basil [ocimŏn], and was ruined by it;
  And also, trifling there, I lost my cloak.

And the Corinthian sophist is very fine here, explaining to his pupils that Ocimŏn is the name of a harlot. And a great many other plays also, you impudent fellow, derived their names from courtesans. There is the Thalatta of Diocles, the Corianno of Pherecrates, the Anteia of Eunicus or Philyllius, the Thais, and the Phaniŏn of Menander, the Opora of Alexis, the Clepsydra of Eubulus - and the woman who bore this name, had it because she used to distribute her favours by a water-clock, and to dismiss her visitors when it had run down; as Asclepiades, the son of Areius, relates in his History of Demetrius Phalereus; and he says that her proper name was Metiche.

As Antiphanes says in his Farmer:-
  A courtesan is a positive
  Calamity and ruin to her keeper;
  And yet he is glad to nourish such a pest.

On which account, in the Neaera of Timocles, a man is represented as lamenting his fate, and saying:-
  But I, unhappy man, who first loved Phryne
  When she was but a gatherer of capers,
  And was not quite as rich as now she is,-
  I who spent such sums of money upon her,
  Am now excluded from her doors.

And in the play entitled Orestautocleides, the same Timocles says:-
  And round the wretched man old women sleep,
  Nanniŏn and Plangōn, Lyca, Phryne too,
  Gnathaena, Pythionice, Myrrhine,
  Chrysis, Conalis, Hierocleia, and
  Lopadiŏn also.

And these courtesans are mentioned by Amphis, in his Curis, where he says:-
  Wealth truly seems to me to be quite blind,
  Since he never ventures near this woman's doors,
  But haunts Sinope, Nanniŏn, and Lyca,
  And others like them, traps of men's existence.
  And in their houses sits like one amazed,
  And never departs.

[23.] G   [568] And Alexis, in the drama entitled Isostasium, thus describes the equipment of a courtesan, and the artifices which some women use to make themselves up:-
  For, first of all, to earn themselves much gain,
  And better to plunder all the neighbouring men,
  They use a heap of adventitious aids, -
  They plot to take in every one. And when,
  By subtle artifice, they've made some money,
  They enlist fresh girls, and add recruits, who never
  Have tried the trade, into their cunning troop.
  And drill them so that they are very soon
  Different in manners, and in look, and semblance
  From all they were before. Suppose one's short -
  They put cork soles within the heels of her shoes;
  Is any one too tall - she wears a slipper
  Of thinnest substance, and, with head bent down
  Between the shoulders, walks the public streets,
  And so reduces her superfluous height.
  Is any one too lean about the flank -
  They hoop her with a bustle, so that all
  Who see her marvel at her her proportions.
  Has any one too prominent a stomach -
  They crown it with false breasts, such as perchance
  At times you may in comic actors see;
  And what is still too prominent, they force
  Back, ramming it as if with scaffolding.
  Has any one red eyebrows - those they smear
  With soot. Has any one a dark complexion -
  White-lead will that correct. This girl's too fair -
  They rub her well with rich vermillion.
  Is she a splendid figure - then her charms
  Are shown in naked beauty to the purchaser.
  Has she good teeth - then she is forced to laugh,
  That all the bystanders may see her mouth,
  How beautiful it is; and if she be
  But ill-inclined to laugh, then she is kept
  Close within doors whole days, and the things
  Which butchers use when selling goats' heads,
  Such as a stick of myrrh, she's forced to keep
  Between her lips, till they have learnt the shape
  Of the required grin. And by such arts
  They make their charms and persons up for market.

[24.] G   And therefore I advise you, my Thessalian friend with the handsome chairs, to be content to embrace the women in the brothels, and not to spend the inheritance of your children on vanities. For, truly, the lame man gets on best at this sort of work; since your father, the boot-maker, did not lecture you and teach you any great deal, and did not force you to look like leather. Or do you not know those women, as we find them called in the Pannuchis of Eubulus -
  Thrifty decoys, who gather in the money,-
  Well-trained fillies of Aphrodite, standing
  Naked in line, clad in transparent robes
  Of thinnest web, like the fair damsels whom
  Eridanus waters with his holy stream ;
  From whom, with safety and frugality,
  You may buy pleasure at a moderate cost.

And in his Nanniŏn, (if the play under this name is the work of Eubulus, and not of Philippus):-
  For he who secretly goes hunting for
  Illicit love, must surely of all men
  Most miserable be; and yet he may
  See in the light of the sun a willing row
  Of naked damsels, standing all arrayed
  In robes transparent, like the damsels whom
  Eridanus waters with his holy stream,
  And buy some pleasure at a trifling rate,
  [569] Without pursuing a clandestine love
  (There is no heavier calamity),
  Just out of wantonness and not for love.
  I do bewail the fate of hapless Greece,
  Which sent forth such an admiral as Cydias.

Xenarchus also, in his Pentathlum, reproaches those men who live as you do, and who fix their hearts on extravagant courtesans, and on freeborn women, in the following lines:-
  It is a terrible, yes a terrible and
  Intolerable evil, what the young
  Men do throughout this city. And yet
  There are most beauteous damsels in the brothels,
  Whom any man may see standing all willing
  In the full light of day, with open bosoms,
  Showing their naked charms, all in a row,
  Marshalled in order; and there they may choose
  Without the slightest trouble, as they fancy,
  Thin, stout, or round, tall, wrinkled, or smooth-faced,
  Young, old, or middle-aged, or elderly,
  So that they need not clamber up a ladder,
  Nor steal through windows out of free men's houses,
  Nor smuggle themselves inside bags of chaff.
  For these gay girls will ravish you by force,
  And drag you in to them; if old, they'll call you
  Their dear papa; if young, their darling baby;
  And these a man may fearlessly and cheaply
  Amuse himself with, morning, noon, or night,
  In any way he please. But the other women
  He dares not gaze on openly nor look at,
  But fearing, trembling, shivering, with his heart,
  As they say, in his mouth, he creeps towards them.
  How can these men, sea-born immortal Aphrodite,
  Press on, even when they have the opportunity,
  If any thought of Dracon's laws comes over them.

[25.] G   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 he first erected a temple to the Public Aphrodite 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;
  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 possessed 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; are you not 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.

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 relates [ Acharn_524 ], saying that the Peloponnesian war was excited by Pericles, [570] on account of his love for Aspasia, and on account of the girls who had been carried away from her by the Megarians.
  For some young men, drunk with the cottabus,
  Going to Megara, carry off by stealth
  A harlot named Simaetha. 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.

[26.] G   I therefore, my most learned grammarian, warn you to beware of the courtesans who want a high price, because
  You may see other girls who play the flute,
  Playing the tunes of Apollo, or of Zeus;
  But these play no tune save the tune of the hawk,
as Epicrates says in his Anti-Lais; in which play he also uses the following expressions concerning the celebrated Lais:-
  But this fair Lais is both drunk and lazy,
  And cares for nothing, save what she may eat
  And drink all day. And she, as I do think,
  Has the same fate the eagles have; for they,
  When they are young, down from the mountains stoop,
  Ravage the flocks and eat the timid hares,
  Bearing their prey aloft with fearful might.
  But when they're old, on temple tops they perch,
  Hungry and helpless; and the soothsayers
  Turn such a sight into a prodigy.
  And so might Lais well be thought an omen;
  For when she was a maiden, young and fresh,
  She was quite savage with her wondrous riches;
  And you might easier get access to
  The satrap Pharnabazus. But at present,
  Now that she's more advanced in years, and age
  Has meddled with her body's round proportions,
  'Tis easy both to see her and to scorn her.
  Now she runs everywhere to get some drink;
  She'll take a stater -aye, or three obols;
  She will admit you, young or old; and is
  Become so tame, so utterly subdued,
  That she will take the money from your hand.

Anaxandrides also, in his Old Man's Madness, mentions Lais, and includes her with many other courtesans in a list which he gives in the following lines:
  (A)   You know Corinthian Lais?
  (B)   To be sure;
  My countrywoman.
  (A)   Well, she had a friend,
  By name Anteia.
  (B)   Yes; I knew her well.
  (A)   Well, in those days Lagisce was in beauty;
  Theolyte, too, was wondrous fair to see,
  And seemed likely to be fairer still;
  And Ocimŏn was beautiful as any.

[27.] G   This, then, is the advice I want to give you, my friend Myrtilus; and, as we read in the Huntress of Philetaerus,-
  Now you are old, reform those ways of yours;
  Know you not that 'tis hardly well to die
  In the embraces of a prostitute,
  As men do say Phormisius perished ?

Or do you think that delightful which Timocles speaks of in his Marathonian Women ?-
  How great the difference whether you pass the night
  With a lawful wife or with a prostitute
  Bah! Where's the firmness of the flesh, the freshness
  Of breath and of complexion? Oh, ye gods!
  What appetite it gives one not to find
  Everything waiting, but to be constrained
  [571] To struggle a little, and from tender hands
  To bear soft blows and buffets; that, indeed
  Is really pleasure.

→ Following pages (571-589)

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