59. AGAINST NEAERA

INTRODUCTION

The author of this speech is almost certainly Apollodorus, fatherin-law (also brother-in-law) of the man who delivers the first sixteen sections. The style of Against Neaera is repetitious and sprawling and shows other signs that the speech is not by Demosthenes himself (see the Introduction, pp. 12–15). Yet Against Neaera holds exceptional interest for its picture of aspects of Athenian life seldom touched on with such detail in other texts. We see in particular how hetairai, deluxe prostitutes, played a part in the erotic and public lives of many Athenians, some of them very prominent.

Prostitution itself was not a crime in Athens, and men were at no risk of prosecution for employing prostitutes. Moreover, just beneath the surface of the speakers’ contempt for prostitutes and their righteous denunciations of Neaera’s alleged offenses against the city of Athens and her gods, we can see the possibility that some element of genuine affection and concern might have coexisted with the inherent brutality of paid sex with slave women and with manumitted women at risk of losing their freedom. Lysias was eager to bestow on his favorite the benefits of initiation into the Mysteries (21). Phrastor, when an invalid, felt closer to Neaera and her daughter than to his own relatives, despite the trick the women played on him (55–56). Epainetus, once Neaera’s lover, though blackmailed and humiliated, was willing to contribute to a dowry for her daughter (69–70). In addition, in the often-quoted passage distinguishing wives from what we might call “kept” women (122), the speaker assigns the latter group the domains of “pleasure” and “tending,” leaving wives only the role of mothering legitimate children and serving as “guardians” of the household.

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Speeches 50-59
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Editor’s Preface ix
  • Translator’s Preface xi
  • Series Introduction Greek Oratory xiii
  • Introduction to Demosthenes 3
  • Introduction to This Volume 9
  • 50- Against Polycles in the Matter of a Period of Supplementary Service as Trierarch 19
  • 51- On the Trierarchic Crown 39
  • 52- Against Callippus 46
  • 53- Against Nicostratus 56
  • 54- Against Conon 66
  • 55- Against Callicles for Damage to Property 81
  • 56- Against Dionysodorus for Damages 92
  • 57- Appeal against Eubulides 107
  • 58- Against Theocrines 129
  • 59- Against Neaera 151
  • Index 195
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