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In ancient Greece, courtesans [ἑταίραι], were sophisticated female companions and prostitutes.

In ancient Greek society, hetaerae were independent and sometimes influential women who were required to wear distinctive dresses and had to pay taxes. Generally foreigners, these courtesans were renowned for their achievements in dance and music, as well as for their physical talents. There is evidence that, unlike most other women in Greek society at the time, hetaerae were educated. It is remarkable that hetaerae not only were the only females who would actively take part in the symposium, but also that their opinions and beliefs were respected by men.

Because of the intellectual aspect of their profession, it should come as no surprise that a number of the hetaerae were attached to the Epicurean school; those hostile to Epicureanism, however, were quick to insinuate that these associations were predicated on their more basic services.

The most famous of the Epicurean hetaerae was Leontium. Others named in the classical literature include:

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