Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Aspasia of Miletus (c 470-410 BCE)
So now: what if that woman had a better husband than you? Would you prefer hers or your own? - (see below for context)
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There is a tradition that Aspasia of Melitus was the teacher of Socrates. She was a contemporary of his and the companion of the Greek general Pericles.
The notion that she influenced Socrates is drawn in part from the tone of a conversation between her character in a fragment of the lost dialogue Aspasia written by Aeschines. The fragment is preserved in Cicero's Inventione Rhetorica. The conversation is between Aspasia [A] and the wife of Xenophon [X]:
[A] Tell me, please, wife of Xenophon, if your neighbour had a better piece of gold jewelry than you, would you prefer hers or your own?
[X] Hers, said the wife.
[A] So--if she should have a dress or other feminine ornament more expensive than you have, would you prefer hers or yours?
[X]Hers, naturally, said the wife.
[A] So now: what if that woman had a better husband than you? Would you prefer hers or your own?
Here the woman blushed. Aspasia, however, began to interrogate Xenophon himself...
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