(2 syl.). A courtesan or Athenian hetæra. She acquired so much wealth by her beauty that she offered to rebuild the walls of Thebes if she might put on them this inscription: “Alexander destroyed them, but Phryne the hetæra rebuilt them.” The Cnidian Venus of Praxiteles was taken from this courtesan. Apelles' picture of Venus Rising from the Sea was partly from his wife Campaspe, and partly from Phryne, who entered the sea with dishevelled hair as a model.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894