Neaira grew up in a Corinthian brothel in the fourth century B.C. and became one of the city-states priciest courtesans while yet a teenager. In her twenties she served as the sex slave of two former clients and endured an abusive relationship with ...
an unsavory Athenian. Finally she met Stephanos, an Athenian citizen with whom she lived for the next thirty years.
Neairas life with Stephanos was riddled with lawsuits. In the 340s Neaira was dragged into court and charged with transgressing Athens marriage laws. During the trial, zealous prosecutors dredged up the most sordid details of her life. The stakes in the case were high; Neairas freedom lay in the jurors hands. The details of Neairas life are known because the speech delivered in court by her prosecutor has survived. Here, with a more sympathetic eye toward the protagonist, Debra Hamel explains the historical, legal, and cultural context of the trial. In reconstructing the facts of Neairas life, this book illuminates the social world of ancient Greece.