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Bilistiche (Greek: Βιλιστίχη[1]) or Belistiche was a Hellenistic courtesan of uncertain origin. According to Pausanias, she was a Macedonian;[2] according to Athenaeus, an Argive (which was an ancient Greek royal house and the ruling dynasty of Macedon);[3] according to Plutarch, a foreign slave bought from the marketplace.[4] She won the tethrippon and synoris horse races in the 264 BC Olympic Games.[2] She became a mistress of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and was deified by him as Aphrodite Bilistiche.[5] According to Clement of Alexandria, she was buried under the shrine of Sarapis in Alexandria.[6]


  1. ^ Belistiche in Pausanias; Belestiche in Plutarch; Blistichis in Clement (Protrepticus 4.42); Philistaikhus in Eusebius (Chronikon); Bilistiche in pCairZen 2.59289.
  2. ^ a b Pausanias. Description of Greece, 5.8.11. "Later they added a pair of foals and a ridden foal: they say Belistiche, a woman from the coast of Macedonia, won with the pair, and Tlepolemos the Lykian was proclaimed for the ridden foal, Tlepolemos at the hundred and thirty-first Olympics and Belistiche two games before."
  3. ^ Athenaeus. Deipnosophists, 13.596e.
  4. ^ Plutarch. Moralia, 753e.
  5. ^ Pomeroy 1990, pp. 53–55; Golden 2008, pp. 18–19.
  6. ^ Clement of Alexandria. Protrepticus, 4.48.2-3.


  • Golden, Mark (2008). Greek Sport and Social Status. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-71869-1.
  • Pomeroy, Sarah B. (1990). Women in Hellenistic Egypt: From Alexander to Cleopatra. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2230-1.

External links

  • Chris Bennett - Bilistiche
  • Kosmetatou, Elizabeth. "Bilistiche and the Quasi-Institutional Status of Ptolemaic Royal Mistress". Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete. Volume 50, Issue 1, Pages 18–36, ISSN (Online) 1867-1551, ISSN (Print) 0066-6459, 2004.[permanent dead link] doi:10.1515/apf.2004.50.1.18
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