Prisoner of History: Aspasia of Miletus and Her Biographical Tradition

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According to legend, Aspasia of Miletus was a courtesan, the teacher of Socrates, and the political adviser of her lover Pericles. Next to Sappho and Cleopatra, she is the best known woman of the ancient Mediterranean. Yet continued uncritical reception of her depiction in Attic comedy and naive acceptance of Plutarch's account of her in his Life of Pericles prevent us from understanding who she was and what her contributions to Greek thought may have been. In the first study of its type, Madeleine Henry combines traditional philological and historical methods of analysis with feminist critical perspectives in order to trace the construction of Aspasia's biographical tradition from ancient times to the present. Through her analysis of both literary and historical evidence, Henry determines the ways in which Aspasia has become an icon of the sexually attractive and politically influential female, how this construction has prevented her from taking her rightful place as a contributor to the philosophical enterprise, and how continued belief in this icon has helped sexualize all women's intellectual achievements. An important corrective to the historical literature on Aspasia of Miletus, Prisoner of History will interest scholars in a wide range of disciplines, including classics, ancient history, philosophy, and women's studies.
 

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Índice

Introduction
3
1 Aspasia in Greek History
9
2 The Story Told by Comedy
19
3 Aspasia and the Socratic Tradition
29
Aspasia and the Discourse on Prostitutes in the Hellenistic Roman and Late Antique Periods
57
5 Aspasia in the Postclassical West
83
Afterword
127
Notes
131
Bibliography
177
Index
195
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Sobre el autor (1995)

Madeleine M. Henry is at Iowa State University.

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