At one point, she offered to rebuild the walls of Thebes, which Alexander the Great had destroyed in 336 B.C.E. She had only one stipulation — that the walls bear the inscription “Destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the courtesan.”
Salt was treasured in myriad ancient cultures. It was precious to the Egyptians, Greeks, Tamils, Chinese, and many others. People used it to preserve food, nourish their bodies, cure ailments, carry out superstitious rites, and of course, make meals taste more delicious.
“Nor did she deign to touch her food with her fingers, but would command her eunuchs to cut it up into small pieces, which she would impale on a certain golden instrument with two prongs and thus carry to her mouth. . . . this woman’s vanity was hateful to Almighty God; and so, unmistakably, did He take his revenge. For He raised over her the sword of His divine justice, so that her whole body did putrefy and all her limbs began to wither.”