Rock Star Courtesans of Persia & India

persian courtesans

This week we have the pleasure of bringing you an introduction to the enchanting Sayyida Laila al-Sanna’ al-Andalusiyya and the alluring world of Persian Courtesans.

Follow Laila’s journey in the SCA through Mongol hordes, Andalusia, and finally settling in late period Safavid Persia with her House of the Lotus. Sayyida Laila is an accomplished performer and an amazing singer in the SCA and her mundane life. We discuss the constant ebb and flow between the world of the courtesan and the world of the female performer. Through this relationship sex workers have negotiated their place in society, whether on the margins, adulated, or both.  Laila’s life has been influenced by the SCA for decades, and our dream has encouraged her to do some amazing things! Tune in to this week’s salon and prepare to be inspired!


Show Notes

Laila’s household, The House of the Lotus, a 16th century Safavid Persian House of Courtesans, is proud to present our new website at

The House of the Lotus is a 16th century Safavid Persian house of courtesans. Their estates are located in Isfahan, under the rulership of Shah Abbas I, in the Hijri year 1008 (CE 1599).  The household is focused on the role of courtesans in the arts of Safavid Persia. The website features research, class handouts, music, poetry, art and household projects, including a project to design household estates in Isfahan.

Sayyida Laila’s partner, patron, and household member, Jibril al-Ghazal, mka Sam Owen, is the writer and illustrator of a fascinating autobiographical graphic novel, released online in chapters, exploring the internal experience of Multiple Personality Syndrome.

Her new musical, featuring heroic, revolutionary sex workers fighting for Irish freedom!

I couldn’t find a cocktail that was  just apple juice and whiskey, but I found several that include apple juice and whiskey.

Barony of the Western Seas, mundanely known as Hawaii.

Kingdom of Caid, mundanely known as southern California.

Learn more about exploring Arts & Sciences in the SCA.

Think about writing something where you’re adding something new to the SCA’s body of knowledge. There’s so much left to learn! “A young researcher’s guide to writing an original research article”.

Allia Potestas, a personal inspiration.

Kabuki, Japanese theatrical tradition inextricably linked to sex workers.

Devadasis, sacred temple prostitutes in India.

Sayyida Laila has provided the following sources if you’d like to delve deeper into the topics we discuss.



Welcome to the enchanting world of the “rock star” courtesan.



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Episode Credits

Sound Engineering: Evan Meier

  • Intro Music: The King of Denmark’s Galliard, written by John Dowland and published in 1604 in Lachrimæ, or Seaven Teares. Performed by I Solipsisti. Provided by MusOpen. Sounds provided by ZapSplat and AmbientMixer.

Edited with Audacity.



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