• Justine McLellan

Timarchus, the Former Wrestling Champion Turned Politician

In the mid fourth century B.C., Timarchus was a former wrestling champion turned politician. In 347 BC, in an attempt to undermine Timarchus’s legitimacy as a political operative, the Greek statesman Aeschines claimed that Timarchus had been a ‘hetairechos’ (prostitute) in his youth. While prostitution was not illegal in Greece at this time, sex workers were not considered citizens, and therefore did not have to right to hold public office.

Aeschines alleged that Timarchus had spent a lot of time in a bathhouse in the port town of Piraeus, where men would pay to gaze at his muscular body. He also claimed that Timarchus received substantial amounts of money from his male lovers in exchange for sex.

Despite Aeschines providing little to no evidence to his accusations, Timarchus was sentenced to Atimia, or loss of citizenship. Timarchus lost the ability to vote, the right to occupy a position in the assembly, or event to take an issue to court. It is rumored that hanged himself after he received the Atimia verdict.

©2019 by Kaytlin Bailey and Justine McLellan.