Herodas' Mimiamb 7 has often attracted scholarly attention on account of its thematic preoccupation with the sexuality of ordinary people, thus offering a realistic and exciting glimpse of everyday life in the eastern Mediterranean of the third century b.c.e. In addition, his obscure reference in lines 62–3 to the obsession of women and dogs with dildos has been the focus of long-standing scholarly debate: while most scholars agree that the verses employ a metaphor, possibly of obscene nature, their exact meaning is still to be clarified. In response, this article offers an additional paradigm which stresses the cultural osmosis between the Greeks and their eastern neighbours in the Hellenistic period; in my view, Herodas' peculiar choice of expression could be explained more aptly through this hitherto unnoticed perspective. Despite having frustratingly little information about the poet and his life, his familiarity with the Hellenistic East is often implied in his poetic settings: for example, Cos in Mimiamb 2 and probably locations in Asia Minor in Mimiambs 6 and 7 are considered likely to reflect the places where he lived. Hence, it is reasonable to assume that Herodas spent periods of his life in areas of the eastern Aegean where cultural interaction was practically unavoidable. Moreover, his first poem exhibits a certain amount of knowledge and admiration for Ptolemaic Egypt and, although this does not necessarily mean that he lived there, he must have been very familiar with Alexandria and its erudite circles. After all, Herodas, a contemporary of Theocritus who subscribed to his preference for short, elegant poetic forms, shared the latter's interest in the lowly mime, which both of them invested with learned language. Thus, specific motifs, such as the visit of an abandoned mistress to the witches in a desperate attempt to coax back a cruel lover, are treated by both poets and ultimately derive from the literary corpus of mimes by the influential Sophron. Theocritus was also familiar with locations in Cos, an island that appears to have been culturally diverse. One of the foreign communities that increasingly made its presence felt in third-century b.c.e. Asia Minor and the nearby islands of the eastern Aegean was that of the Jews, although the history of particular communities is often difficult to recover. Nevertheless, we do know that as early as the third century b.c.e. ‘various Jewish authors writing in Greek had adopted the prevailing patterns of Greek literature in its many forms, filling them with Jewish content’. The Jews had a prominent and well-documented presence at Alexandria, where their interaction with the Greeks was promoted by the Ptolemies. There, already by the middle of the third century b.c.e., the Pentateuch (the Hebrew Torah) had been translated into Koine Greek by royal request, which probably indicates a sizeable community able to participate dynamically in the cultural interface of Ptolemaic Alexandria. In the following pages, I shall revisit the past interpretations of the aforementioned verses in Mimiamb 7 before arguing that the key to their understanding lies in the interaction of the Greeks with near eastern cultures, particularly the Jews, who seemed to have employed a distinctive metaphor about ‘dogs’ and their perceived sexual habits.