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Prostitution in the ancient Greek world was widespread, legal, and acceptable as a fact of life and an unavoidable necessity. The state regulated the industry and treated prostitution as any other trade. Almost every prominent man in the ancient world has been truly or falsely associated with some famous hetaira. These women, who sold their affections to the richest and most influential men of their time, have become legends in their own right. They pushed the boundaries of female empowerment in their quest for self-promotion and notoriety, and continue to fascinate us. Prostitution remains a complex phenomenon linked to issues of gender, culture, law, civic ideology, education, social control, and economic forces. This is why its study is of paramount importance for our understanding of the culture, outlook and institutions of the ancient world, and in turn it can shed new light and introduce new perspectives to the challenging debate of our times on prostitution and contemporary sexual morality. The main purpose of this book is to provide the primary historical study of the topic with emphasis upon the separation of facts from the mythology surrounding the countless references to prostitution in Greek literary sources.
Konstantinos Kapparis, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
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