Lucian, Dialogues of the Courtesans

LCL 431: 384-385

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The Works of Lucian

πάνυ αὐτοῦ· ἴδιον δέ τινα τρόπον ἡδίω παρὰ πολὺ ὁμιλοῦντα ὄψει με. Ἀλλὰ μὴ Ἑρμαφρόδιτος εἶ, ἔφην, οἷοι πολλοὶ εἶναι λέγονται ἀμφότερα ἔχοντες; ἔτι γὰρ ἠγνόουν, ὦ Κλωνάριον, τὸ πρᾶγμα. Οὔ, φησίν, ἀλλὰ τὸ πᾶν ἀνήρ εἰμι. 4. Ἤκουσα, ἔφην ἐγώ, τῆς Βοιωτίας αὐλητρίδος Ἰσμηνοδώρας διηγουμένης τὰ ἐφέστια1 παρ᾿ αὐτοῖς, ὡς γένοιτό τις ἐν Θήβαις ἐκ γυναικὸς ἀνήρ, ὁ δ᾿ αὐτὸς καὶ μάντις ἄριστος, οἶμαι, Τειρεσίας τοὔνομα. μὴ οὖν καὶ σὺ τοιοῦτόν τι πέπονθας; Οὔκουν, ὦ Λέαινα, ἔφη, ἀλλὰ ἐγεννήθην μὲν ὁμοία ταῖς ἄλλαις ὑμῖν, ἡ γνώμη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία 292καὶ τἆλλα πάντα ἀνδρός ἐστί μοι. Καὶ ἱκανὴ γοῦν σοι, ἔφην, ἐπιθυμία; Πάρεχε γοῦν, ὦ Λέαινα, εἰ ἀπιστεῖς, ἔφη, καὶ γνώσῃ οὐδὲν ἐνδέουσάν με τῶν ἀνδρῶν· ἔχω γάρ τι ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀνδρείου. ἀλλὰ πάρεχε, ὄψει γάρ. παρέσχον, ὦ Κλωνάριον, ἱκετευούσης πολλὰ καὶ ὅρμον τινά μοι δούσης τῶν πολυτελῶν καὶ ὀθόνας τῶν λεπτῶν. εἶτ᾿ ἐγὼ μὲν ὥσπερ ἄνδρα περιελάμβανον, ἡ δὲ ἐποίει τε καὶ ἐφίλει καὶ ἤσθμαινε καὶ ἐδόκει μοι ἐς ὑπερβολὴν ἥδεσθαι.


Τί ἐποίει, ὦ Λέαινα, ἢ τίνα τρόπον; τοῦτο γὰρ μάλιστα εἰπέ.


Μὴ ἀνάκρινε ἀκριβῶς, αἰσχρὰ γάρ· ὥστε μὰ τὴν οὐρανίαν οὐκ ἂν εἴποιμι.


The Dialogues of The Courtesans

“You’re surely not a hermaphrodite,” said I, “equipped both as a man and a woman, as many people are said to be?”; for I still didn’t know, Clonarium, what it was all about. But she said, “No, Leaena, I’m all man.” “Well,” I said, “I’ve heard the Boeotian flute-girl, Ismenodora, repeating tales she’d heard at home, and telling us how someone at Thebes had turned from woman to man, someone who was also an excellent soothsayer, and was, I think, called Tiresias. That didn’t happen to you, did it?” “No, Leaena,” she said, “I was born a woman like the rest of you, but I have the mind and the desires and everything else of a man.” “And do you find these desires enough?” said I. “If you don’t believe me Leaena,” said she, “just give me a chance, and you’ll find I’m as good as any man; I have a substitute of my own. Only give me a chance, and you’ll see.”

Well I did, my dear, because she begged so hard, and presented me with a costly necklace, and a very fine linen dress. Then I threw my arms around her as though she were a man, and she went to work, kissing me, and panting, and apparently enjoying herself immensely.


What did she do? How? That’s what I’m most interested to hear.


Don’t enquire too closely into the details; they’re not very nice; so, by Aphrodite in heaven, I won’t tell you!

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.lucian-dialogues_courtesans.1961