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Hetaeras and flutist girls – luxury prostitution in the Ancient Greece

Hetaeras and flutist girls – luxury prostitution in the Ancient Greece

Nearly all of us are watching porn, but how many of us would know the origin of the word porn and what could it mean? Even in the movie My big fat Greek wedding the grandpa was trying to convince us that (nearly) all the words are originating in the Greek language. Of course the word porn also, but it didn't mean a seven veil dancer, but simply a whore. In the hierarchy of the prostitutes it stands (mostly lies) very under all of them.

The Hetaeras stood on the top of the hierarchy, girls with perfect body and assets, cultivated, sophisticated, well aware of the arts, philosophy and politics. Man with a desire and adequate financial background tried to find these Hetaeras. The very best (or most lucky) girls were the partners of important statesman, and even their name remained in the history.

The Hetaera word means companion; above a certain level, if someone wanted an equal women companion, he couldn't rely on his nor his friend's wife. The legal spouses weren't allowed to improve themselves and become mentally equal with their husbands.

Being seen, eating out and having fun with a Hetaera wasn't a big of a fuss for others at all. To blackmail someone in the Ancient Greece would never occur in anyone's right mind,even though they had a great imagination. The wives were locked down at home, away from all kind of social events, there weren't any other choices for the Greek who were keen on to have fun then to enjoy their time with the Hetaeras who were trained specifically to entertain men. Or in some cases when the men wanted to have fun only in between male company (they didn't have any second thoughts about it).

Being a Hetaera wasn't a shameful carrier, only girls could apply who had a beautiful look, were very intelligent and adaptable to situations. Citizens weren't able to become a Hetaera, only immigrants and freed slaves could be the choosen one.

It was a basic request that the girls should be able to sing, dance and to play the flute. It happened to some flutist (alutrida) that they became a very successful Hetaera, for instance the most successful lady was Lamia. I'm pretty sure that their only talent wasn't playing the flute but also the oboe, and any other wind instrument.

By the way Lamia was Alexandros general's (Ptolemaios) lover. Ptolemaios, whose descendants were ruling Egypt for hundreds of years, those descendants who were arguing and killing each other, and they ended their dynasty with Cleopathra's death. Well, this Lamia must have known what's up, because due to a sea battle she became a booty for an other much younger general, Demetrios. She made him like her so much that Demetrios got rid off off all the other lovers and only Lamia was on his mind- and in his bed.

hetaerasDemetrios wasn't a beginner, and his youngster attitude was pushing him forward, he just took over Athen and he asked 250 talentum (currently it worth 2,8 million euros) as a war tribute, this act would have already triggered the citizens of Athen, but he gave all of the money to Lamia, on soap purchasing purposes. The rumours had that she never had a bath before so that's why she needed all this spending money for soaps.

The most well known Hetaera was Aspasia, who was born in Milethos, she was the lover of Pericles, she even gave birth to a child for the general/politician. Pericles was one of the greatest figures in the classic Athen, his girlfriend was so well known that even Platon put her in one of his writings. Allegedly Aspasia was a great orator, in her salon she had great figures, who are still outstanding, however it was more than a few years ago. There are some people who believe that Aspasia was never a Hetaera (only haters put the blame on her), she simply lived with Pericles in concubine, because according to the laws of Athen, a foreigner could not get married to a person who is from Athen, it doesn't actually matter how they got together with Pericles, she must have been a very special woman.

The concubinate (oddly its not Greek, but a word coming from the Latin language), it was in between of the borders of free love, marriage and prostitution. The word means laying together, in this case in a sexual sense. They used to call the wild marriage concubinate, a kind of sexual relationship where they live together, they were only missing the blessing of God or as we think nowadays – only the paper was missing, to be a real marriage. The concubina was a person who got taken care of the man financially while he also had a wife. If the woman was only making a living out of getting presents and money from her male partner or partners, then we can look at it as it was prostitution.

We shouldn't sweep it under the carpet that according to many sources, there was a sacral, church prostitution also. According to Herodotos in Babilon during the Persian ruling it was a habit that every girl once in her lifetime should give herself to a stranger for money, in appreciation of a local God. The Hellens couldn't miss out on it, in Corinthos, the God of love, in Aphrodite's church (where else) the church slaves served the needs of the innocent believers.

Many people think that it's only a fantasy of the men, also products of authors with different dehonestant imaginations, probably misunderstanding the erotic depictions. Who knows... The ancient people weren't famous for their shyness, back then even the Gods liked the pleasure of the body, so religion and sex wasn't annulling each other.

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