The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
A "gripping story of politics, sex and sleaze in ancient Athens...."
-- The Sunday Telegraph

About Trying Neaira

Neaira (pronounced "neh-EYE-ruh") grew up in a brothel in Corinth in the early fourth century B.C. She became one of the city-state's higher-priced courtesans while still a teenager. In the next decade she served as the sex slave of two former clients and endured an abusive relationship with a party-hopping Athenian. Finally, barely supporting herself in a sex industry depressed by the war then raging in Greece, she met Stephanos, an Athenian citizen, with whom she would live for the next thirty years or more. Neaira's life with Stephanos was far from tranquil: it was riddled with legal threats and lawsuits. On one occasion in particular the former courtesan herself was dragged into court. The stakes in the case were high, as Neaira's very freedom lay in the jurors' hands. . . . The story of Neaira and her appearance in court is well known to classicists, but Trying Neaira is the first book to tell Neaira's story to a non-specialist audience. The book serves also as a lively introduction to the larger world of fourth-century Greece, and of Athens in particular, in which Neaira's drama played itself out.

Trying Neaira
by Debra Hamel
Yale University Press, 2003

paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)