The Ancient Greek Who Flashed Her Way to Freedom


Did you know that people we find conventionally attractive are less likely than their fugly peers to be convicted of a crime? Perhaps the greatest historical example of someone using their God-given gifts for nefarious ends is that of, Phryne, the woman who supposedly avoided a death sentence just because she had really nice boobs. 

To expand on what we mentioned in the introduction, attractive people really are more likely to not be convicted of the exact same crime as someone viewed as being unattractive just because of their face. According to scientists who we assume have spent an unreasonable amount of time looking at pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, this is due to something known as “The Halo Effect”.

In a nutshell, the Halo Effect states that when it comes to people with nice cheekbones, perky breasts and the ability to do awesome backflips, we subconsciously assume that attractive people also possess similarly attractive qualities like “honesty”, “intelligence” and “not being an asshole”. If you all think this sounds little far-fetched, just remember that after the Boston Marathon Bombings, there were thousands of teenage girls insisting that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was innocent because they couldn’t believe someone so dreamy was capable of being such an unthinkable shitstain.

Surely someone this dreamy couldn't commit a crime?
Surely someone this dreamy couldn’t commit a crime?

Moving back to Phyrne, it’s noted that she spent her time being joined at the hip with some of the greatest minds of the era and her beauty is rumored to be the inspiration behind numerous pieces of artwork from the era, such as this statue of the Goddess Aphrodite looking finer than she has in any God of War game.

Awwwww, yeah.
Awwwww, yeah.

Impressive for a woman’s who’s name literally translates to “toad“, but we digress. As you can imagine for a woman whose main source of income was the money painters paid her to stand around being all naked and stuff, it wasn’t long before she drew the ire of the prudish Greek courts, who accused her of “impiety” which at the time was a crime that could receive the death sentence because screw people having fun apparently.

While the exact details of what went down that day in court aren’t known in full, one of the more popular recollections of the trial state that Phryne tore off her robes in the middle of the courtroom to show the judges her kick-ass breasts. Her reasoning was that only the Gods could sculpt a body so perfect and as such, killing or imprisoning her would be an affront to them. A statement so ballsy and dripping with confidence, we’re surprised Phryne isn’t credited with the invention of chesthair.

Other versions of the tale suggest that Phyrne’s legal representation is the one who removed or advised the removal of her robes, though their arguments for doing so were basically the same. That it would be a crime against the Gods themselves to not allow that much booty to walk free and that Aphrodite would be mad pissed if some sweaty old men destroyed something crafted in her image.

And it fucking worked. According to history books, Phyrne not only walked free, but the courts went onto ban getting naked in court and using the “you can’t send all of this to prison” defence. As for Phyrne, she went on to earn so much money as a prostitute she eventually became rich enough to offer to personally rebuild the walls of Thebes. Or so the legends say.