Aspasia

An hetaira and writer of the Classical Period, inventor of prose fiction.

Aspasia was born about 4750, evidently of good family, probably in central Gehennum. She came to Thekla in 4770, and began work in an hetairon of middling quality, the Perfumed Garden. In 4774, sponsored by a wealthy admirer, she took her own house, and set up as a free-lance hetaira, without even the pretence of a male guardian. In 4775, amid great scandal, she started teaching music and rhetoric to the ephebe sons of some of her clients.

Aspasia’s first novel, Kallisto, the first work of prose fiction known to Gehennum, appeared in 4777. A realistic work, told from the point of view of a woman in a strict house (believed to represent Aspasia’s mother), it caused a revolution in the way men perceived women. Denunciation as scandalous improved its sales, and provoked the writing of Aspasia’s second novel, Khrysokomes, again told from the point of view of a woman in a strict house, but this time about an illicit love affair. Except for the spoken dialogue (which was in Gehennese), Khrysokomes was written in Elusian.

Despite huge gifts from wealthy clients, substantial modelling fees paid by artists, large fees for teaching rhetoric, and a string of financially rewarding (and very varied) novels, Aspasia did not give up work as an hetaira. In 4786 she closed her house and went to work at the White Rose Garden. In 4790 she retired to live and teach at House Azure. Aspasia’s eleventh and last novel was published in 4793.

Aspasia bore two sons (Tamé in 4775, Persilian in 4778) and twin daughters (Daramala and Lena, born in 4780), who succeeded to considerable wealth.


Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.