February 10, 2002
Bloomberg and Phryne

So Mayor Bloomberg wants to give corporations the right to name public sites after themselves? Not just football stadiums but even parks and such? That reminds this Latin teacher of the story of Phryne (pronounced 'fry knee'). Along with Lais and Thais, Phryne was one of the greatest hetaerae, or courtesans, of ancient Greece. (Her name means 'Toad', which is of course a joke, since she was very beautiful. She was Praxiteles' model when he sculpted his nude Aphrodite of Cnidus.) After Alexander the Great destroyed the walls of Thebes, her native city, in 335 B.C., she offered to rebuild them from her own earnings, provided the new walls were inscribed "destroyed by Alexander, rebuilt by Phryne the hetaera". The city fathers turned down the proposal as shameful.

Tangential points:

1. The National Press Club used to have a painting of Phryne hanging on their wall, but it was removed under pressure from a few women members in May, 1998. See this NPC page (about a third of the way down) for a reproduction of a photograph of a man holding a photograph of the painting.

2. Isn't it about time the editorial writers of the New York Post made "life-long Democrat Bloomberg" a hot-key combination?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at February 10, 2002 10:00 PM