Porne (πόρνη). A woman of loose character. There are a number of words in Greek and Latin to designate the harlot; Hetaera (ἑταίρα) and concubina usually implying one who has a quasi-recognized connection with a single man, while πόρνη, meretrix, scortum, etc., designate the common prostitute: Pallakis (παλλάκή, παλλακίς), and pellex usually imply the kept mistress of a married man.

—In Greece the State not only tolerated but protected the public courtesans. Solon is said to have established a brothel (πορνεῖον) from whose profits he built a temple to Aphrodite Pandemos. In later times the number of such places increased and were licensed (πορνικὸν τέλος). Women living by themselves also paid a regular tax like the filles inscrites. The keepers of houses of ill-fame were known as πορνοβοσκοί. Private courtesans were very numerous at Athens and especially at Corinth, which last city was proverbial for its loose morals and the beauty of its hetaerae. Some of these persons were famous throughout Greece for their wit and accomplishments, and seem to have prided themselves on their mental gifts. Thus the Arcadian Lasthenea was a pupil of Plato, Leontion of Epicurus, and Aspasia is said to have instructed Sophocles and Pericles. For other famous courtesans, Laïs; Phryne.

As virtuous women in Greece (outside of Sparta and a few Dorian communities) were kept strictly at home and possessed few accomplishments, we find the hetaera occupying often the influential position which in modern times belongs to the lawful wife; and so long as the husband did not altogether neglect his wife, any associations that he might have outside his own home with hetaerae were not regarded with severity. It is probable that the indulgence with which women of this class were looked upon sprang in part from the semi-religious character of the prostitute as being associated with the worship of Aphrodite. At Corinth, for instance, a large number of these women were formally dedicated to the service of that goddess and were styled ἱερόδουλοι. Few citizens ever entered the ranks of the πορναί, and whenever such a case happened loss of citizenship was the penalty, as also for a person who kept a πορνεῖον.

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