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Mimes of the Courtesans, by Lucian [1928], at

p. 126 p. 127

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p. 128 p. 129

PHILINNA, a courtesan


p. 130 p. 131



You must have been crazy yesterday, Philinna. What got into you during the banquet? Diphilos came weeping here this morning. He told me you had made him suffer. You were drunk. You rose from your couch in the middle of the meal and danced, though he had ordered you to remain at his side. After that you kissed his friend, Lamprias. And when Diphilos became angry, you left him altogether and took Lamprias in your arms and lay with him, while Diphilos choked with rage. And you did not sleep with him at night. You left Diphilos to his tears and anguish. You stretched yourself on another bed and sang all night so as to hurt him the more.

PHILINNA (Furious)

But he forgot to tell you what he did to me! If you knew everything, you would not be taking his side. He left me to talk to Thais, the mistress of Lamprias, who hadn't yet arrived. He saw that this made me unhappy.

p. 132

[paragraph continues] I beckoned for him to return to my side. Instead of coming back to me, he took hold of the tip of the lobe of Thais's ear and pulled her head backwards and gave her such a deep, sucking kiss that she could not free her lips from his for some time. I started to weep, but he only snickered and whispered all kinds of things to Thais. I am sure he was talking about me, because Thais regarded me and smiled. Then they heard Lamprias enter and they stopped kissing and separated. I went to lie down with Diphilos; I did not want to give him an excuse for further inattention.

Thais was the first to dance. She danced with her robe tucked up, so as to show her legs and thighs as if she were the only person around here having beautiful legs. When she had finished, Lamprias said not a word; but Diphilos praised as much as he could the rhythm and movement of her dance, and said: "Her foot is wedded to the cithara!" and "A beautiful leg! By Adrasteia, a beautiful leg!" And he continued with many such sayings, as if he were referring to Sosandra of Kalamis and not to that Thais whom both of us know so well. Don't we see her in the baths?

Then Thais started to mock me and said: "If somebody at this symposium is not ashamed of her spindle legs, let her get up and dance, too!

What else could I have done, mother? I got up

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p. 133

and danced. I wasn't going to let everybody present believe that woman was right.


You are too touchy, child. You shouldn't take such things to heart.


Well, everybody congratulated me on my fine dancing. Diphilos, however, remained lying on his back. He kept on looking at the ceiling till I was out of breath and could dance no longer.


And is it true that later you kissed Lamprias and that you rose from your couch and Diphilos's side to take Lamprias in your arms? You are silent. Indeed, that is unpardonable.


I wanted to render him heartache for heartache.


And you did not sleep with him last night! You lay on another bed and sang while he was in tears. Apparently you don't understand, my daughter, that we are poor. You forget how much we have received from Diphilos. How could we have survived the last winter if Aphrodite hadn't sent him to us.

p. 134


Must I then bear all kinds of insults?


Rage all you want, daughter, but don't ever mock any lover of yours. You don't know that men stop loving when they are laughed at. You have always been too captious with that man. Take care we do not, as the proverb says, burst the rope by pulling it too taut.

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