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Ancient / Classical History

Aspasia of Miletus

Aspasia in Greek Comedy
 More of this Feature
•  Aspasia of Miletus and Her Status As Metic
•  Aspasia of Miletus and the Greek Philosophers
 
  Related Resources
•  Aristophanes and Greek Old Comedy
•  Plutarch's Life of Pericles
 
 Aspasia Book
• Prisoner of History, by Madeleine Henry
 
 Elsewhere on the Web
• (http://www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/characters/aspasia_p2.html) Aspasia of Miletus from PBS
• (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/classes/JKp.html) The Representation of Prostitutes Versus Respectable Women on Ancient Greek Vases, by Jill Kleinman
• (http://www.ucd.ie/~classics/94/Arkins94.html) Sexuality in Fifth-Century Athens, by Brian Arkins
 
 

Besides Plutarch, who reports on the rumors about Aspasia of Miletus in his "Life of Pericles," we hear of Aspasia mainly through allusions and fragments of comedy and philosophy. Through comedy we meet with Aspasia in connection with personification of traditionally feminine but despised traits.

From the Acharnians by Aristophanes, we see this picture of Aspasia:

It was men of ours--I do not say our polis;
remember that, I do not say our polis--
but some badly-minded troublemaking creeps,
some worthless counterfeit foreign currency,
who started denouncing shirts from Megara
and if they spotted a cucumber or a bunny
or piglets, cloves of garlic, lumps of salt,
it was Megarian, grabbed, sold off that very day.
Now that was merely local; small potatoes.
But then some young crapshooters got to drinking
and went to Megara and stole the whore Simaétha.
And then the Megarians, garlic-stung with passion,
got even by stealing two whores from Aspasia.
From this the origin of the war broke forth
on all the Greeks: from three girls good at blow-jobs.
And then in wrath Olympian Pericles
did lighten and thunder and turn Greece upside-down,
establishing laws that read like drinking-songs....
Aristophanes - Acharnians

It was even a comic poet who brought Aspasia to trial:
"About the same time, Aspasia was indicted of impiety, upon the complaint of Hermippus the comedian, who also laid further to her charge that she received into her house freeborn women for the uses of Pericles."
Plutarch - Life of Pericles

Next page > Aspasia and the Greek Philosophers Xenophon and Socrates > Page 1, 2, 3

Henry, Madeleine M., (http://www.mysimon.com/msrch/index.jhtml?c=bookisbn&pgid=shop&ps=t&_ttag=ksrch&kw=A+Prisoner+of+History&v=1&pid=0195087127&pg=1&key=UC_20021116_174310_0513462544" >Prisoner of History (http://www.mysimon.com/msrch/index.jhtml?c=bookisbn&pgid=shop&ps=t&_ttag=ksrch&kw=A+Prisoner+of+History&v=1&pid=0195087127&pg=1&key=UC_20021116_174310_0513462544">


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Aspasia of Miletus - Aspasia and Greek Comedy
This resource is copyright � 1998-2003 N.S. Gill.

From N.S. Gill,
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