Campaspe (Greek Καμπάσπη, also Pankaste ) was a Greek courtesan and mistress of Alexander the Great.

According to Pliny Alexander is said to have brought his favorite concubine to the famous painter Apelles, so he male nude. On this occasion, Apelles had fallen in love with Campaspe, whereupon Alexander magnanimous his concubine gave the highly esteemed by him painter. Campaspe had then been the model for the most famous image of Apelles, the sea entsteigende Aphrodite Anadyomene.

The shape of the Campaspe appears first among the Roman authors. In the ancient biographies of Alexander it is not mentioned. After Claudius Aelianus she came from Larissa in Thessaly and was the first woman to be " enjoyed " Alexander.

This episode of the triangle formed by rulers, and artists concubine was taken up both in the visual arts and in literature. Well-known designers of the subjects were:

  • Sebastiano Ricci
  • Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (ca. 1725)
  • Angelika Kaufmann ( Tondo, oil on copper, 1783, Vorarlberg museum, Bregenz)
  • Jerome Martin Langlois (ca. 1819)
  • John William Godward (1896 )

The English poet John Lyly wrote a comedy Campaspe ( 1584) and the Spanish poet Pedro Calderón de la Barca processed the material in his piece Darlo todo y no is nada ( 1651). In German literature the theme of August Wilhelm Schlegel was treated in a poem Campaspe.


  • Pliny Naturalis historia 35.36
  • Claudius Aelianus Varia Historia 12.34
  • Lucian of Samosata Panthea or Images