The Sanctified Prostitute Of Aphrodite Corinthian

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Another ancient history chronicle always had a special fixation with this famous temple (Maybe it’s the fact that it was home to 1000 women… and only one man, the perfect paradise). Historical information and details may be inexact, according to the Official Record. Story edited by my new friend FelixRyder, he also writes, go and have a look 😉

Corinth was one of the most famous cities in the Ancient World and two things were the reason for it. There was the Isthmic Games, the second athletic competition behind the Olympics, and the sacred Temple of Aphrodite Corinthian, home of 1000 priestesses who served the goddess and were famous for their services to foreign men… mostly sexual services, let’s be honest. Besides the holy ceremonies to worship the goddess, the temple also offered financial services. It was the most important building in the city and the pride of Corinth.

The commercial activity was very important, as many sailors and merchants were working in the Isthmus Harbor. Departures to famous places such as Athens, Tyre or Sidon were the most wanted for the merchants but adventurous people also tried the other direction, the far and unknown West, to distant colonies of Greece and barbarian lands. Many ships from Phoenicia arrived every day or week to Corinth bringing exotic products to the city and many foreigners looking for a better future filling any vacancy.

A merchant ship was a few miles away from the port. It was a ship from Miletus carrying fruits from the other side of the Aegean. The captain, Demetrius, an old man of 50 years old, was in the middle of the deck barking orders to his crew of about 15 healthy sailors from all over Greece. One of them was a young sailor from Thebes called Psystrios. He was 25 years old with brown long hair, brown eyes and tanned skin. He was struggling to not hit someone else’s shoulders as his fellow partners were doing other things. Neither tall nor strong, he loved the sea and was willing to do any work, no matter how difficult it might be.

”Psystrios, the deck won’t clean itself. For Poseidon’s sake, move sailor!” Captain Demetrius shouted.

”Yes, captain!” Psystrios responded and went at it.

Well, Psystrios wasn’t exactly a ”real” sailor. He was the maid of the ship, but at least he could navigate the big ocean in search of new adventures… by new adventures he would say transporting food and other supplies to any Greek city. While the rest of the crew was deploying the sails or rowing, he was cleaning the floor with an old wet rag. When the ship came closer to the port, the sailors picked up the sails and rowed until the ship was tied to the dock. The crew left the boat and they were able to feel land under their feet after 12 days on the sea, thanking Poseidon for the favorable winds during the last few days.

Only Psystrios and another sailor called Nisyas stayed on the ship. Nisyas was a 6” tall and blonde-haired man only a few years older than him, 5 years to be precise, but he had a lot of knowledge about the gods and the world. He was the kind of man that could have a nice conversation with anyone and talk about any topic.

Psystrios stared at the horizon. The sun was setting down slowly and the sea had an incredible but beautiful mix of colors on the water, giving the appearance of melted bronze. The young sailor admired the sea until Nisyas noticed his daydreaming gaze.

”Psystrios, wake up. Are you alright?” Nisyas asked.

”Yeah, I was looking at the sea… and wondering about distant lands,” Psystrios clarified. His colleague laughed.

”Again? You seem mesmerized with what lies on the other side of the sea. You shouldn’t, I have been there several times. Despite its good fertile land, it’s not Greece…” he said.

”You might be right. But I want to travel and see the world, like you have done,” Psystrios confessed.

”Psystrios… it was the will of Zeus, he set my destiny… I just followed the path in front of me. Delphos’ Oracle was a good guide, too,” he admitted and put his hand on his shoulder.

The young sailor looked at the sea one more time and then the sky, with a wonderful mix of blue and pink tones thanks to the effect of the sunlight during the sunset.

”Nisyas… Do you think I can have such a destiny? Or will I clean the decks of the ships for the rest of my life?” Psystrios asked.

Nisyas sighed, thinking deeply before answering.

”Well, what you are asking is part of the hidden wisdom of the gods. Depending on what you believe, the most important thing, Psystrios, is now. Because when you stand in front of the Boatman, there’s nothing else, only shadows and judgment. The Three Judges…”

”Yeah, I heard that. But, what do you think?” he insisted.

”Psystrios… I trust the immemorial knowledge of the gods, especially Zeus. But there are some extraordinary people that changed their lives by following their instinct. The real question is, are you an extraordinary man or just another Betturkey shadow in this world?” Nisyas said.

He didn’t answer, it was a really deep question and Nisyas knew what he was thinking. So, the sailor suggested for him to stand outside the ship to watch the people walking around. Thousands of people were walking or waiting outside the last ship. A few prostitutes came offering their services to all the sailors, Nisyas and Psystrios included. This was a service they declined kindly, waiting for the rest of the crew.

The captain and the other sailors returned two hours later with several barrels full of cider. Demetrius paid some drachms and guaranteed a good time for his crew with some decent pornai (prostitutes). Meanwhile, Psystrios was sitting on the bow, thinking about the words Nisyas had told him, especially the last sentence. He then knew if he wanted to be a real explorer, he had to leave Captain Demetrius’ crew.

To be sure he was making the right choice, Psystrios thought the best thing was to consult an oracle. Aphrodite Corinthian’s Oracle was one of the most famous and trustworthy (not like Delphos’ but quite close) in the world. The only problem was he didn’t have a lot of money to offer to the goddess as a gift, which was a big handicap. He knew stealing was wrong, but Psystrios preferred the word ”borrowing” to feel better, and while the sailors were having fun with the buyable ladies, he sneaked over and borrowed some medallions and drachms from one of the sailors.

Psystrios couldn’t sleep that night with all the moans and screams around him, so he went up and slept on the deck. The night was windy and fresh with the presage of a storm, covering the sky with dark clouds so it was darker than it normally would be, but the man didn’t worry for some water; it was the best chance to admire the power of Zeus and his Lightning. The god didn’t disappoint him and the spectacle of lights in the sky was amazing. Psystrios, amazed by the length and shape of each lightning bolt, had a better night’s sleep than the last days at sea, not missing the waves and constant shouting of the navigating sailors.

”Miserable failed men! I hope the Judges condemn you to a whole eternity swimming in melted coins!” an angry voice yelled out on deck.

Psystrios opened his eyes. The sun was up and he was laying on the floor. He recognized the angry voice: it was Demiosnes, who was cursing after realizing he got robbed last night. (The term ”failed men” was commonly used in Greece to refer to women in a disrespectful way.) The young man stood and saw Demiosnes throwing hampers and barrels, trying to find his coins and medallions.

”If I find that whore, I swear to Zeus that I will cut off her hand,” Demiosnes said, angrily.

Carefully getting closer, Psystrios was a bit afraid to talk to him but didn’t want to look suspicious.

”What happened?” he asked, pretending to be intrigued.

”What happened? That fucking whore came with her friends and stole my coins and valuable medallions of the gods!” Demiosnes shouted, hysterically.

”That’s real bad fortune…” Psystrios muttered.

”Bad luck!? Robbed by a failed man? I will tell you what bad luck is…” he shouted. He was out of control but Psystrios had already walked away.

He didn’t feel good, but if he really wanted to be someone different than the majority of the people in Greece and barbarian lands, he knew he should follow his instinct and be ready to do what’s necessary. Jumping out of the ship, the sailor rested his back against the stick where they had tied the rope of the ship, seeing the people walking around and breathing the salty air. Different kinds of people passed in front of him: tall, short, dirty, less dirty and all diverse skin tones and nationalities.

The time passed and the heat increased. From behind he heard some steps- it was Nisyas who came to join him.

”Will you stay there forever? You have been here for a long time…” Nisyas said.

”Ah. It’s you. I prefer to stay here instead of hearing all those curses from Demiosnes,” Psystrios confessed.

”I know, but they never shut up…” his friend said, referring to the people in the harbor.

”And I can’t silence them. Did Demiosnes find his coins?” he asked.

”No… and the captain said we will leave Corinth in three days. So enjoy the city, get a pornei (prostitute) and have fun. You will need it, it’s a long way back to Miletus,” Nisyas suggested.

”I guess you’re right… but I can’t bring her here now, or the mad bull could kill her,” he admitted.

”That’s true, he won’t forget it very soon…” Nisyas admitted and palmed Psystrios’ shoulder.

The sailor got back into the boat, but Psystrios stayed outside. He touched the left side of his waist and felt the coins and medallions that were firmly tied in a small fur bag. Looking in all directions several times, he abandoned the post where he was resting and walked to the harbor Betturkey Giriş market without telling his partners. He didn’t walk very fast, but there were a lot of people around and he had to skip and sometimes hit other shoulders, luckily with no consequences.

Reaching the beginning of the harbor platform, the sailor saw in front of him a small bifurcation with a small table surrounded by local civil officials and merchants on the left and right. He took the path to the right.

”Come and see, fine vessels from Phoenicia!” he heard a man shouting and another advertising his magical roots for fine banquets. A woman was also offering amulets to protect against sea creatures and at the middle of the way, there was food. Despite there being several different food tents, only its smell was noticeable because the street was so clean.

At the end of the straight road he took, he arrived at a large open space- the Agora. There were more merchant tents and also the public buildings of the city. On a higher point of the city, at the top of a hill, there was the pride of Corinth, the Temple of Aphrodite Corinthian. Psystrios smiled and continued walking at a normal pace.

Around the square, the old men and the most prominent citizens of Corinth were discussing all topics, from philosophy to city urges. But not only citizens and merchants were in and around the Agora. Many women, mostly pornai, were hunting down any potential client and Psystrios wasn’t invisible. He got interesting offers but he had one thing in his mind so he declined them all. The order and form was admirable in the city architecture, due to the science of Geometry and Math, Corinth and Athens had the most talented architects of Greece and the most beautiful buildings, for the use of marble was extending and it had arrived to Corinth.

The young man left the Agora behind and took one of the streets he thought would lead to the famous temple. Despite it being a small street, it was very fresh and clean. Two-floor houses and workshops mostly were located on both sides of the street, with two or three children playing outside and women resting on chairs while working on wool clothes, doing house chores or monitoring the maids and slaves. While seeing them, Psystrios thought in the words of Nisyas about the shadows of the world and he swelled his pace, heading to the end of the street.

Finally, he reached the end of the street. There was a dusty road that led to the temple with thousands of people carrying gifts for the goddess. Psystrios followed them and took out the bag with coins, grabbing it with both hands. ”If you give me a good word through your Oracle, I will found a city in your honor- it’s a promise,” Psystrios muttered while walking.

The small road became wider and Psystrios observed thousands of houses around the hill. He wondered how the Corinthians could have built such an urban environment on a hill when he saw a massive and beautiful building- the Temple of Aphrodite Corinthian. Of course, he was far from appreciating the details of the building.

An old bald man, bent by age, was walking next to him and saw the sailor’s mesmerized gaze as he looked at the distant temple.

”First time visiting the Temple?” he asked with his old throaty voice. Psystrios nodded happily.

”The houses around the hill belong to the Temple, the home of the priestesses of Aphrodite,” the old man detailed.

”It’s amazing how you built those houses on the hill…” Psystrios confessed.

”Yes, and what’s your reason to visit the Temple? I, for example, want to visit my beloved Lamys to have… you know, some fun…” the man giggled, showing he was missing some teeth.

Psystrios couldn’t believe what he heard from the old man and he had to ask him.

”Are you visiting the Temple for a priestess?” he asked.

”Sure, like most of the men that visit the Temple. Others put their money in the Temple’s chamber, it’s the best place to keep it safe from burglars. Now the question is, why are you visiting the Temple?” the old man said with a confident smile, showing again the empty spaces in his teeth.

Psystrios remained in silence a couple seconds before answering.

”I came to hear what the Oracle has to say to me. I want to know what lies in front of my path.”

”Ah, so you want to know what will bring you the future, very risky but a wise choice. But make sure you keep enough money to have some fun later…” the man said.

”What kind of fun?” Psystrios wondered.

”Come on, our priestesses are famous in all Greece and distant lands. If you want my advice, after you hear the Oracle, talk to the master and say you want to see Ceres,” he recommended.

”Ceres?” he repeated.

”Yeah, one kind priestess and surely one of the best for inexperienced young men like you,” the man grinned.

”Why do you think I don’t have experience?” Psystrios complained.

”Come on, kid. I can see it in your face,” Betturkey Güncel Giriş he giggled.

Remaining in silence, both sailor and old man walked until they arrived at the base of the well-built and beautiful stairs heading uphill.

”1000 big stairs to the Temple, six feet per one hundred wide, one for each priestess serving Aphrodite and then a paved road to the top,” the old man muttered to Psystrios.

Making their way to the top, Psystrios had to help the old man. It was very arduous and the sailor wondered why the old man would make such an effort, and the answer was waiting at the top of the hill.

The Temple of Aphrodite Corinthian was in front of him and it seemed glorious. Placed on a flat esplanade over a massive platform made of stone, the frontal side and the Atrium were decorated with thousands of columns using the typical style of Corinth. At the top of the columns, it had some kind of a bulged mushroom, in the words of the Corinthians, which was the unique distinction from the Athenian style. Another set of stairs was in the base of the Temple to access the building. The roof had a triangular shape, alike the hill homes of the temple. Built of marble and rocks, the workers used lime and mortar for the internal walls and the outside was painted an immaculate white.

”Here it is, young man. The Wonder of Corinth…” the old man mumbled.

”I have no words… it’s impressive,” Psystrios declared.

”It’s not the only impressive thing. Here comes my beloved priestess…” the man grinned and the sailor saw a tall woman coming towards them.

The priestess was tall, wearing a simple but refined white tunic, red cloth belt and a delicate entangled crown of flowers on her head. Her brunette hair was perfumed with some sweet fragrance and her dark blue eyes had a curious spark, like she had some secret, deep hidden knowledge.

”Welcome to the Temple of Aphrodite Corinthian…” Lamys announced. She had a deep melodious voice.

”My dear Lamys, the goddess Aphrodite is still blessing you,” the old man said with joy and devotion.

”Stefanos, it’s always good to see you. Zeus has blessed you with strength, but who is the young man next to you?” she said, referring to Psystrios.

The old man palmed Psystrios’ shoulder before answering.

”He is my grandson Psystrios, who came from the other side of the Aegean to visit the Temple,” Stefanos lied.

Lamys checked him carefully and a happy smile appeared on her lips.

”Handsome like his grandfather. Welcome to Corinth and the Temple of Aphrodite Corinthian, Psystrios,” Lamys said.

”Thank you. My joy is stealing all the words I could say,” Psystrios commented.

Both Lamys and Stefanos laughed before they walked again. Stefanos gave Lamys all the details about what Psystrios wanted to do and the priestess said there was no problem, the only requirement was a gift to Aphrodite to have a word from the oracle of the temple. Lamys guided them inside after climbing up another bunch of staircases before the Atrium.

Astonished by the large number of columns in the Atrium and how big they were, Psystrios only looked around him while Lamys and Stefanos were talking about what they would do that day together. He felt really small in that place as the echoes of the voices and footsteps resounded in the temple. On both walls to the left and right, he appreciated fresh mosaics and paintings of the goddess, banquets and moments from the ancient history of Greece when mortals and famous heroes interacted with the gods. Using the big stairs, several priestesses kept torches in the walls above them with fire to give light to the place from their heads, but it wasn’t the only fountain of light- several vessels at ground level had fire in them, as well.

An innumerable amount of people were at the Atrium, heading to a massive doorstep that granted access to the center of the Temple. This was where Aphrodite’s statue was located and her Oracle, assisted by the priestess, was giving out prophecies and predictions from the goddess. Many priestesses were guiding them, spotting any lonely men to offer ”special attention”, which was the best income for the temple to keep its beauty intact.

In other places that would be considered profane, but not in Greece. It was an honor to worship the gods with love, even sexual love to guarantee their favor and protection. Meanwhile, Lamys led the way to the Inner Atrium, with several sculptures of Aphrodite and in front of them, a massive statue of the goddess. Aphrodite was naked and had a crown on her head.

At both sides of the statue, two doors made of fine wood led to the Oracle and the Main Priestess’ lair, as Lamys indicated. A long line of people were awaiting their turn to meet Aphrodite’s Oracle and strangely, no one was waiting outside the Main Priestess door. This intrigued Psystrios.

”Why are there no people outside the door of the Main Priestess?” he asked.

Lamys turned around and her gaze adopted an enigmatic and mysterious brightness.

”Because the Main Priestess is sacred. She’s considered Aphrodite’s receptacle, and it is a unique honor to anyone outside the priestesses or the Oracle to see her,” she explained.

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