Bernard Natan

Bernard Natan was one of France’s first well-known pornographic directors.  Perhaps taking slight advantage of his role, he often cast himself in his own pornographic films in homosexual scenes.  Apparently, his favorite roles were as the giver of oral sex and the recipient of anal sex.

A Trial of Friendship

Alcibiades, the nephew of Pericles and student of Socrates, once decided to test his friends, in order to discover which were true.  To accomplish this, he had a mannequin constructed, which he then hid in his basement.  One by one, he led his friends to the basement and showed them this mannequin, pretending it to be the corpse of someone whom he had slain, and asked them to help him hide the fact.  Each of them refused, except Callias, who offered to take and hide the body.  After this, Callias became and remained his most trusted and faithful friend.

The True Test of Friendship

Namertes the Spartan was sent as an ambassador to another nation, and when one of the people of that country congratulated him for having so many friends, he asked him whether he had any sure means of testing the strength of his friendships.  Namertes replied, “Through misfortune.”

Phryne at the Areopagus

Phryne was a famous courtesan in Athens.  She was so beautiful and so wealthy, that she was able to offer to rebuild the city walls of Thebes, which had been destroyed by Alexander the Great, at her own expense, but her offer was rebuffed.

She was once placed on trial for profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries, a capital charge.  Hypereides, her lawyer, sensing that they were losing the case, removed her robe, baring her breasts before the judges.  They acquitted her, but the reason given varies.  Some say it was out of pity,  Others say it was out of lust.  And yet others say that it was done out of piety, for the judges felt that such beauty could only be borne by one favored by Aphrodite herself, and so acquitted her in order to avoid doing offense to the goddess.

If only the practice had never gone out of style…

Knowledge of Justice

Once, while contesting with each other for the hegemony of Greece, the Spartans and Athenians had a dispute.  Unable to resolve it on their own, it was suggested by the Athenians that Megara serve as a neutral arbiter.  Agesipolis, son of Pausanias, said to the Athenians that it would be a shame if Megara knew more of justice than Sparta and Athens, who led the Greek world.

Roman Charity

During the Roman Republic, a woman was once imprisoned for a crime, but not immediately strangled.  Out of pity, the warden refused to murder her himself, but instead decided to allow her to starve to death.  Her daughter was allowed to visit her, after being searched in order to make sure that she was not bringing food to the mother.

Weeks passed, and yet the mother lived.  Wondering how this could be so, the warden spied upon the daughter’s next visit.  As he watched, the daughter took out her own breasts and nourished her mother with her milk.  The warden was so impressed by such filial piety that he reported it to the authorities, who, too, were so impressed that they remitted the mother’s sentence and allowed her her freedom once again, in honor of her daughter’s devotion.

A similar event happened between Pero and her father Myco, who was also imprisoned, and only sustained by the milk of his daughter’s breast.

The Rise of Catherine I of Russia

Peter the Great was Tzar of Russia, and ruler of an enormous and powerful empire.  After an unsuccessful first marriage, he had had his first wife forced into a convent in order to rid himself of her.  Even then, it was almost impossible to imagine royalty marrying a commoner, yet that is exactly what Peter did with his second wife.

It is said that he came across the future Catherine I, Marta Elena Skavronska, while visiting the household of Prince Alexander Menshikov, where she labored.  He fell in love with this peasant woman, and raised her to royalty.  They secretly married in 1707, and it was her children who continued the royal line of Russia.  In 1724, a year before Peter’s death, he even named her co-ruler of the Russian Empire, making her the first female ruler of Russia.