Thứ Sáu, 19 tháng 4, 2013

Herstory: The Greek Intellectuals

"Aspasia Surrounded by Greek Philosophers"

Aspasia was a highly educated woman in ancient Greece who was far more independent than most women of her time.  She paid taxes and participated in symposium where her opinions were listened to and highly respected by men.  At the time, most women were traditionally confined to their homes, but Aspasia participated in the public life in the city because of her status.  Instead of being revered for her physical beauty alone, as most women were in those days, she was respected as a great conversationalist and adviser.  The home of Aspasia and Pericles, her companion/husband, became a center for intellectual discourse, attracting some of the greatest minds of the time, including Socrates.  Some scholars believe that she was the only woman in ancient Greece who was able to distinguish herself as a public figure, that she inspired and helped write many of Pericles' speeches, and that she may have even opened an academy for young women.


Hypatia was a Greek philosopher and mathematician, she headed the Platonist school at Alexandria, and she taught philosophy and astronomy.  People traveled great differences to receive instruction from her.  She often appeared in public before the magistrates and didn't hesitate to go into discourse with men.  At the end of her life, a Christian sect claimed that she was a pagan Satan-worshiper that created strife between two political figures of the time and she was subsequently murdered for it, whether it was true or not.  A scholar remarked that her murder "effectively marked the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life."

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