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LAIS, the name of two Greek courtesans, generally distinguished as follows, (i) The elder, a native of Corinth, born c. 480 B.C., was famous for her greed and hardheartedness, which gained her the nickname of Axine (the axe). Among her lovers were the philosophers Aristippus and Diogenes, and Eubatas (or Aristoteles) of Cyrene, a famous runner. In her old age she became a drunkard. Her grave was shown in the Craneion near Corinth, surmounted by a lioness tearing a ram. (2) The younger, daughter of Timandra the mistress of Alcibiades, born at Hyccara in Sicily c. 420 B.C., taken to Corinth during the Sicilian expedition. The painter Apelles, who saw her drawing water from the fountain of Peirene, was struck by her beauty, and took her as a model. Having followed a handsome Thessalian to his native land, she was slain in the temple of Aphrodite by women who were jealous of her beauty. Many anecdotes are told of a Lai's by Athenaeus, Aelian, Pausanias, and she forms the subject of many epigrams in the Greek Anthology; but, owing to the similarity of names, there is considerable uncertainty to whom they refer. The name itself, like Phryne, was used as a general term for a courtesan.

See F. Jacobs, Vermischte Schriften, iv. (1830).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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