CLA219H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Against Neaera, Panathenaic Games, Metanira

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20 Nov 2012
CLA219: Women in Antiquity
Texts 88, 90, 267
88. A husband’s dense. Athens, c. 400 BC (Lysias, On the Murder of Eratos-
thenes 6-33, 47-50. Tr. K. Freeman. G)
Euphiletus murders his wife’s lover Eratosthenes
He speaks in his own defense
When first he married he did not wish to ‘annoy’ his wife but kept her under close watch
When she bore him a child he came to trust her, as this was to him the greatest sign of affection
In the beginning she was the best of women - clever, economical, and exact in her management
of everything
When his mother died his troubles began
Is this blaming his mother?
At funeral his wife met Eratosthenes
One of the few occasions women could leave the house
Went to her maid with the suggestion of an affair
The maid is aways an intermediary
He explains his house:
Men’s space on lower floor, women’s on upper
But when they had a child he moved the women’s downstairs as he did not want her to run
risk of going downstairs (injury? You frail, frail woman)
When he came home unexpectedly and the child was crying it was actually the maid who was
pinching the babe and the man Eratosthenes in the house
He told his wife to go and feed the child but at first she refused, pretending to be glad to see
him back after his long absence
He grew annoyed and insisted she see to the baby
She then accuses of him of lusting after the maid, trying to get her away so he can have sex
with her
She ‘jokingly’ locked his door behind him and went to go ‘feed the baby’
In the morning he saw she had makeup on, despite the recent passing of her brother
No appropriate, she should be in mourning
Some time later he was approached by an old woman, apparently sent by a previous mistress of
Eratosthenes who was scorned
She says to interrogate his wife’s maid, and that the man is a common enemy
Apparently it’s his ‘profession’ to seduce married women
A habit?
He then reflected on the happenings mentioned above and was filled with suspicion
Told the servant to accompany him to the market but really he took her to a friends house
where he confronted her
Gives her two choices: a harsh life of misery or a pardon if she confesses
After her confession he sees to it that no one else knows of this
Asks her to initiate another meeting so he can catch them in the act as a visual will speak loud-
er to him
When his maid tells him that Eratosthenes it here he slips out and goes to mens houses, collect-
ed a mob
When caught Eratosthenes pleas for his wife, asking to be fined instead
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CLA219: Women in Antiquity
Texts 88, 90, 267
Euphiletus says “It is not I who shall be killing ow, but the law of the state, which you, in trans-
gressing, have valued less highly than your own pleasure”
His crimes go against decent behavior
Euphiletus is absolving himself of murder
According to Solon, an adulterer may be put to death by the man who catches him
He would not accept a fine as he preferred to accord a ‘higher authority’ to the law of the state
Solon was strongly convinced of the justice of murder of an adulterer
This law applies to married women and concubines
90. The past activities of a courtesan. Athens, 4th cent. BC (Apollodorus
(=‘Demosthenes’), Against Neaera, 59. 18-42, 45-60, 72-3, 78-9, 85-7, 110-
14, 122. Tr. K. Freeman. G)
Case brought against Neaera when she was in her 70’s by her ex pimp-lover Stephanus
One of 7 little girls bought from Nicarete who had an eye for beauty and who understood the
art of rearing and training girls early on
Nicarete called the girls her daughters, in order to exact a higher fee
On of the girls, Metaneira bought by the man Lysias was initiated and figured it as a gift for the
Lodged the girls, Metaneira and Nicarete with a friend, out of respect for his wife and mother
They were accompanied with Neaera who was already working as a prostitute though she was
not yet at the proper age
On a later occasion Simos brought Neaera to the Great Panathenaic Festival accompanied by
Nicarete and they were put up in the house of Ctesippus
She dank and dined in the presence of a large company as a courtesan would do
After that she worked openly at Corinth as a prostitute and became famous
After which she acquired two new lovers, Timanoridas of Corinth and Excretes of Leucas, who
found the Nicarete’s charges excessive, as she expected them to pay all the daily expenses of her
And so they bought her outright from her mistress
When it came time for them to be married they did not wish her to go back to her former life
and gave her money towards her freedom so she could reap some benefit from her trade, except
for the 20 minas remaining, which they told her to repay to them
Neaera on hearing this proposition sent messages to a number of former lovers, asking them to
come to corinth.
Among these was Phrynion who when she told him of the proposition offered to her, and hand-
ed him the money she had collected from her other lovers as a contribution towards the purchase
of her freedom, together with her own savings, asked him to make up the amount to 20 minas
and pay I to Eucrates and Timanoridas so that she could be free
He did so on the condition she would not work in Corinth
When they arrived in Athens he kept her and they lived int he most dissolute and reckless way
Took her to dinner with him where there was drinking!
Went on after-dinner excursions!
Made love to her openly, anywhere and everywhere to excite jealousy in onlookers!
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