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History of lesbianism, Archestratus, Astyanassa

Philaenis of Samos (in Greek, was apparently a Greek courtesan of the 4th or 3rd centuries BC. She was commonly said to be the author of a manual on courtship and sex. The poet Aeschrion of Samos denied that his compatriot Philaenis was really the author of this notorious work.

Brief fragments of the manual, including the introductory words, have been rediscovered among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (P.Oxy. 2891). It begins:

Philaenis of Samos, daughter of Ocymenes, wrote the following things for those wanting ... life ...
Adapted from the translation in the online catalogue Oxyrhynchus: A City and its Texts (see below)

Beginning with techniques of seduction, the book is believed to have treated the sexual arts systematically, including descriptions of sexual positions, aphrodisiacs, abortifacients, and cosmetics. The rediscovery demonstrates that a real tradition of technical manuals underlay the more playful Art of Love written in Latin verse by Ovid in the late 1st century BC.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Philaenis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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