Phryne

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An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

“We that are true lovers run into strange capers.”
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Two years ago, Phryne Fisher returned her father to England; Jack hasn’t seen her since. At least until he arrives at his latest crime scene and spies a very familiar figure crouching over the body…


Chapter 12. In which Phryne confronts the mastermind behind the case and repercussions of her choice play out.

We are at the end of this story, and I am overwhelmed by your responses yet again.

Some of you came and watched me work on this earlier today. For those of you who dropped in, thanks! It was fun to have company over the computer.

I am really proud of this. It’s been a long time since I’ve made any serious attempts at good art, and this was a lot of fun and I think it went well. I’m sure there are some mistakes in there somewhere that I missed, but I don’t care at this point. I’m happy with how it turned out, and that’s the first time I’ve been able to say that about my art in a long while.

The circle emblems and the overlay pattern can be found here, and the font I used is called Eureka.

Now I’m off to bed because classes start tomorrow and I need sleep!

2

“Miss Fisher is that rare fictional example of what life can be like for women who chose not to get married and/or have children — and how that alternative can be just as fulfilling.

This isn’t a story about a spinster finding love later in life and finally getting the traditional family she needs and deserves. This is a story about a sexually-liberated, vibrant, empathetic woman who has a wonderful family and community of her own making. 

Phryne is not someone to be pitied. She is one of the most alive characters on TV — a master detective who speaks multiple languages, knows martial arts, and can fly an airplane. Miss Fisher is competency porn at its most addictive, and its main character is a new, much-needed kind of archetype.”

— “Miss Fisher Is The Feminist Sherlock You Should Be Watching”

Phryne 4th century BC

Phryne was a Greek Hetaira in classical Athens. She lived after the laws of Solon, a misogynistic statesman who passed laws curtailing the advancement of women in Athenian society. With Solon’s death, the life of a sex worker in Athens improved, though they were still fairly crappy compared to a time before him. They were allowed to own property and often made enough money to retire on their own. 

Phryne was a stage name, referring to the yellowish color of her skin. She was considered very beautiful and modeled for contemporary artists. Phryne was an incredibly successful courtesan. At one time she had enough money that she offered to restore the walls of Thebes after they’re destruction by Alexander the Great. The city refused because of the condition that the restoration would include writing “destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the Courtesan” on the walls. Of course, since Phryne was so successful she became very popular socially. She became incredibly influential and even powerful, so much so that politicians of the city began to fear her.  

During a festival for Poseidon, Phryne stripped down and made an offering to the god by wading into the water in front of all the festival goers. This was used as a convenient excuse to bring the lady to court. She was charged with profaning at a festival, something that could earn one a death sentence.  She was defended by one of her clients, a lawyer named Hypereides.

Phryne was subject to a great deal of prejudice from the court. She was in a desperate situation and in an effort to clear her name, Hypereides stripped her down again and said “How could a festival in honor of the gods be desecrated by beauty which they themselves bestowed? x" Much to the surprise of everyone, the nudity defense succeeded. The court did not want to anger the gods so they let Phryne walk, they made sure to ban the nudity defense in all further trials though. 

Phrynes story is one of the most popular from Greek history. It has inspired many paintings and literary works by artists such as Baudelaire, Saint-Saëns and Gérôme.  

Painting by José Frappa