Eternal September: How Trolls Overran the Public Square: Project Syndicate
Self-Portrait of Otto von Bismarck as an Atheistic Young Hegelian

I would simply remark that an awful lot of the written record inherited from antiquity is a weird combination of Foreign Affairs the National Enquirer, and should be read—both when it speaks about the disempowered and the empowered—with the hermeneutic of suspicion one would apply to those publications today: Comment of the Day: Philip Koop 'Here is something that James Davidson had to say about Phryne in his book Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens: "These megalomisthoi hetaerai are the rich and famous ones, the ones catalogued in scholarly treatises, who had plays written about them and speeches composed on their behalf, the ones whose bons mots were recorded in anecdotal collections like those of Machon and Lynceus of Samos. Thanks to Apollodorus’ speech and a comedy of Timocles named after her, Neaera herself could claim a place on this exalted list along with Laïs the younger, Laïs the elder, Sinope, Mania, Gnathaena, Naïs, Thaïs and many others. Of all of these Phryne was perhaps the most renowned. Like Theodote, she allowed artists to paint her. It was she who modelled for Praxiteles, it was said, his revolutionary female nude, first of its kind, known as the Venus of Cnidus, and, for Apelles, the Birth of Venus that was reimagined so famously by Botticelli. Another statue sua ipsa persona, again modelled by Praxiteles in gilt or gold, was dedicated at Delphi and placed between Philip of Macedon and Archidamus, King of Sparta. It was a dedication, said the Cynic Crates, to Greek self-indulgence. These works of art not only immortalized the form of Phryne for posterity but spread her image throughout Greece. According to Callistratus in his work On Hetaeras, she became so rich that after the Macedonians had razed the city of Thebes to the ground she said she would pay for the city wall to be rebuilt, providing the citizens put up an inscription: ‘Alexander may have knocked it down, but Phryne the hetaera got it back up again’, one of the very few occasions when these women gave themselves the label...

#commentoftheday #2012-12-10