Aspásia, a sofista: elogio às leoas políticas


  • Raquel Wachtler Pandolpho UFS


Anachronistic Aspasian specters condense themselves into the uncertain figure of the Ionian foreigner who enchanted and conducted, particularly and, above all, politically, the foremost Athenian citizen, by far the most influential statesman of his time. Who truly was Aspasia of Miletus? Is it possible to craft an image of this mistress of persuasion that is not reduced to the rigid label of Pericles’ concubine? Is it possible to escape this side role established by the classic Aspasian doxography? This article presents Aspasia as a sophist by retrieving the memory of her foreigner persuasive strength, the memory of her untamable oratory power and her seductive intellectual acumen. A woman who excelled in producing funeral orations, giving marriage advices and other matters of the οἶκος, besides discussing relevant political issues in the most famous intellectual circle at the time. Aspasia dared to be a teacher and even to educate other women. Sometimes also serving as a matchmaker for those she educated. The educational space promoted by Aspasia, which likely privileged teaching the oratory and erotic arts, is remembered in a completely heterodox manner. The memory of the place as a polemic brothel gets confused and mixed with that which recalls it as a place of political-philosophical discussions. With the intention of reshaping Aspasia’s legacy, highlighting the revolutionary presence of this woman who has creatively infiltrated herself into the history of oratory and claimed her place as a freethinker, I revisit various female images of the antiquity that were associated to the Aspasian political power. Placing Aspasia of Miletus among Omphale, Hera and Helena, among Rodogine, Telesilla, Tomyris and Thargelia. All of them, political lionesses. Whether mythical or real, Greek or foreigners. They have influenced directly and indirectly to the political, oratory, artistic and philosophical history of what is conventionally understood as the ancient world.


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How to Cite

Wachtler Pandolpho, R. (2023). Aspásia, a sofista: elogio às leoas políticas. Prometheus - Journal of Philosophy, 15(43). Retrieved from



Dossier Female Representations in Antiquity

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