Phryne was an ancient Greek prostitute, one with wealthy and influential clients. This wasn’t her real name, instead, it was a nickname given to her by her lovers based on her yellowish complexion. Phyrne means “toad”, which I guess a toad can be yellowish.
Not much is known about Phyrne, except for her trial in which one of her clients who was a great Greek orator, defended her by disrobing her in front of the court. Supposedly the verdict was looking bad for her so her legal defense took a bold and unexpected move.
She was charged with impiety, which is something like sacrilege or blasphemy. For this Phyrne was put on trial, and she was defended by one of her lovers Hypereides. Hypereides had a trick up his sleeve which he played close to the chest. It would pay off tremendously.
The men of the court were so moved by the body of Phyrne they acquitted her immediately. A risky move by her legal defense for sure. The court determined that they could not in good faith charge Phyrne, “a prophetess and priestess of Aphrodite”.
“Your honor I give you Exhibit A, behold!” But don’t take my word for it, just look at this 1861 painting Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gérôme.
And take a look at this one which is depicting the same scene.
Phyrne’s beauty was too much for the prosecution, her bare breasts were enough to convince them to have mercy on her for the charge of blasphemy.
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Phryne Was Put On Trial And Acquitted Based On Her Amazing Body was first posted on February 20, 2021 at 3:11 am.