Thais was a courtesan of Ancient Athens and constant companion of Alexander the Great, traveling the world with him. She was said to be extremely loud, learned and eloquent. Some say she was a musician, others that she was born into the Ancient Greek “Hetaria” class of women – a “cultured harlot” living outside the system. She was blamed for inciting the city of Persepolis to be set on fire during one of Alexander’s conquest junkets but that was probably not true. Six hundred years after her death the Christians tried to spin a story that she had repented of her ‘sins’ and walled herself up in a hovel but this was ridiculous.
From The Honest Courtesan;
If she ever was Alexander’s lover, she had ceased to be by 327 BCE; in the spring of that year he was smitten by the strikingly beautiful Roxana, Princess of Bactria, who married him and accompanied him until his death four years later. Whether Thaïs had started with Ptolemy or not, it is certain she ended up with him and bore him three children named Lagus, Leontiscus and Eirene. After Alexander’s death Ptolemy became the King of Egypt, but though he married Thaïs around this time she did not become his queen because he opted for a political marriage instead.
Her daughter Eirene, however, did become a queen as the wife of Soli, King of Cyprus.
Though history records a few minor references to her children, Thaïs herself lapses into obscurity after their births; we do not even know the year of her death. Like so many people of pre-modern times we see her only in proximity to great events in which she was involved: she emerges from shadow into the great circle of light cast by that burning palace, is visible while she crosses the area, and then vanishes again into the darkness on the other side.
Thais is also an asteroid – number 1236 if you want to look her up – currently in Scorpio at 3 degrees. In astrology, i think she would function much like asteroids Scheherazade and Theodora – indicating spunk, soul-driven independence drives, wit, and resourcefulness.
So where is yours?
Image: Jean Veber