from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An ancient Greek courtesan or concubine, especially one of a special class of cultivated female companions.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A mistress, especially a highly cultivated courtesan in ancient Greece.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A female paramour; a mistress, concubine, or harlot.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In ancient Greece, a woman, particularly a slave or a foreigner, devoted to public or private entertainment, making a profession of flute-playing, dancing, etc., and in some cases rising to high consideration for learning, talents, and the social arts; hence, a courtezan; an avowed concubine or female paramour. At Athens only daughters of full citizens could become, under the law, wives of citizens; thus, Aspasia of Miletus, the accomplished companion of Pericles, was, as a foreigner, classed as a hetæra. Also written hetaira, plural hetairai.
Roman hetaera, relief, around 2nd century — head is missing.
Pericles' celebrated hetaera, Aspasia, came from Miletos.
The godlike Xenocrates showed this by the firmness of his reason, who was declared by the famous hetaera Phryne to be a statue and not a man, when all her blandishments could not shake his resolve, as Valerius Maximus relates at length.
He owned a shield factory and was wealthy enough to have a hetaera, a high-class prostitute, if that's what Aspasia was.
A great hetaera never proposes a contract and usually won't listen if a man is bold enough to propose one himself.
You see, a friend of mine, wife of another friend and they were both close to me-as a special gift she introduced me to another hetaera, a great beauty, and arranged for me a holiday with her-paid for by my friends; they could afford it, she is wealthy.
I'm not speaking of technique; I suspect that any high-priced hetaera in New Rome is as skilled as any famous courtesan in history.
Not a slut, but what is a hetaera; and not a hetaera, but what is well-nigh Kypris herself!
In Xenophon.  he goes with a friend to a hetaera, who is sitting as a model for a painter, and instructs her in the art of enticing men.
Aspasia took advantage of this and became a hetaera, or really high class hooker.
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