Brill’s New Pauly

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(328 words)

[German version]

(παλλακή; pallakḗ). The word pallakḗ (Epic παλλακίς/pallakís) has the basic meaning  “girl”. In Homer a woman living with an already married man, who has come into the house as a prisoner of war or a slave, is called a pallakís (Hom. Il. 9,449; 9,452; Hom. Od. 14,199ff.; cf. 4,10ff.). By the 5th cent. BC, Herodotus is using the term pallakḗ in the sense of “concubine” (cf. e.g. Hdt. 1,84,3; 1,136,1). In the 5th and 4th cents. BC a pallakḗ was a woman who, without a formal marriage agreement, lived permanently with a married or unmarried man; monogamous marriage however re…

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Hartmann, Elke (Berlin), “Pallake”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 07 December 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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