Neaira grew up in a Corinthian brothel in the fourth century B.C., became a high-priced courtesan and a sex slave, then settled into a thirty-year relationship with Stephanos of Athens. But next she found herself in court, charged with transgressing Athens’s marriage laws which prohibited a non-Athenian citizen to be married to, or appear to be married to, an Athenian citizen. This book reconstructs the amazing facts of Neaira’s life and trial, illuminating the social, legal, and cultural worlds of ancient Greece.
“A marvelous account of a fascinating series of events in the life of a Greek woman of the fourth century B.C. Hamel tells the tale with clarity and verve and, along the way, she teaches the reader a vast amount about Athenian society in the most interesting and entertaining way.” —Donald Kagan, Yale University
“Hamel’s treatment of this complicated story is outstanding . . . for its comprehensive [yet remarkably concise] presentation of the social and historical context of fourth-century Athens.”—Ingrid D. Rowland, New Republic
“As told by Debra Hamel, this true-life story offers an extraordinary window on a civilization that wasn’t half so rarefied in its interests or affections as we tend to assume.”—The Scotsman