Aspasia, Consort of Pericles

Aspasia was a famous hetaera and consort of Pericles, the head of
Greek government during the golden age of Greece. Aspasia lived from 470 BCE to 410 BCE. She was the mistress of Pericles from the 440s BCE to his death in 429 BCE. She was from Miletus. She was attacked for unduly influencing Pericles. Aspasia also associated with Socrates.

In Wikipedia the following claim is made of Aspasia: Aspasia, who was noted for her ability as a conversationalist and adviser, was accused of corrupting the women of Athens in order to satisfy Pericles’ perversions. Aspasia was probably a hetaera and ran a brothel, although these allegations are disputed by modern scholars. Even so this is a pretty disparaging statement about Aspasia that shows a lack of sensitivity to her position in society and a lack of sensitivity to the role of the hetaera in that society. It may even show a lack of sensitivity to the position of women in general. To read this quote in context Click here

Aristophanes references Aspasia in this light in The Acharnians
by Aristophanes line 527: “But now some young drunkards go to Megara and carry off the harlot Simaetha; the Megarians, hurt to the quick, run off in turn with two harlots of the house of Aspasia; and so for three whores Greece is set ablaze. Then Pericles, aflame with ire on his Olympian height, let loose the lightning, caused the thunder to roll, upset Greece and passed an edict, which ran like the song, ‘That the Megarians be banished both from our land and from our markets and from the sea and from the continent.'”

Pictures:

Resources:


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Aspasia and Her Impact on Greek Art and Culture

Questions and Answers

Question: I am doing a project where I must become a revolutionary figure for ten minutes and I have chosen Aspasia of Miletos. If you have any advice of what time of her life would be good to reinact or what to wear, I would be more than greatful. Thank you.

You should wear a chiton. The following article contains much material for you to use:

Click here
.

Question: Who were her parents?

Answer: She was born in the city of Miletus between 460-455 B.C., the daughter of Axiochus. Her mother is not known. Had she been of a wealthy family she never would have been a hetaera.

Question: i am doing an assignment and need to know about any other women who did not suit in the “women only stayed at home and did domestic chores only” cliche, I need about five examples and a brief outline of why each one was so special.

Answer: The following women meet your criteria and lived in the same century as Aspasia:

  • Aglaonice/Astronomer and astrologist
  • Damo/Philosopher and educator
  • Diotima/Philosopher, prophet, and priestess
  • Elpinice/Intellectual
  • Hippo/Martyr
  • Perictyone/writer and Philosopher
  • Anasandra/Painter
  • Cleobuline/Poet
  • Corinna of Tanagro/Poet
  • Cresilla/Sculptor
  • Helena/Painter
  • Praxilla/Lyric poet and composer

Question: Do you have any artwork that represents Aspasia?

Answer:Click here

Question: which are poems of aspacia?

Answer: Aspasia was not a poet, but a political advisor.

Question: Can I get information on Aspasia’s whole life?

Answer: No you cannot. Many aspects of her life are not documented.

Question: did greek man hate her

Answer: She was popular with many. Some were jealous, though.

Question: why is she famous

Answer: her advice made Pericles famous.

Question: what was aspasia’s greatest achievment

Answer: By satirizing a speech written by Aspasia, Plato acknowledges her role as a leader of rhetoric in the Greek Classical Age.

Question: Did Aspasia have any impact on Democracy in Athens?

Answer: When Pericles gave his famous oration on Greek Democracy Aspasia was at his side, and was said to have scrutinised the text before delivery.

Question: what was the government like in ancient greece

Answer: Click on the menu directory below and click on politics.

Question: where can i find pictures of Aspasia? please email them to me..i really need them

Answer: Maybe you can use this picture of a woman as a symposium:
Click here

Question: I have to dress up as Aspasia, 460 B.C., how should I wear my hair, and is there any way i can make cheap replicas of the greek jewelry during that time? And on the chiton, how did they wrap it? I have a picture of on, but it is wraped around the shoulder diagonally? And how did they keep the sides closed? Please answer as soon as possible so I know what I have to buy. I t would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Answer: Aspasia lived about 440 BCE. Here is a picture of Thetis of a
little earlier (465 BCE) that should serve your purpose.

Click here

The taenia is a hair band. You could use a scarf. She wears a peplos overthe chiton. The sides are held closed with the belt. It is not wrapped but gathered at the shoulders. There is a fold at the waist which covers the belt. She just wears bracelets on her arms which you can get easily. The trick is to get the look by gathering the folds.

Question: Where is Aspasia buried?

Answer: There is no information on this.

Question: Why did she fight for womans rights?

Answer: She was a woman.

Question: I am doing a 6th grade project on Aspasia, where can i find
information about her impact on the greek people?

Answer: read this article and all the links.

Question: I am a Greek student and doing a research on the domination relationship of man over woman in the ancient greek tragedies

Answer: Men do not do very well when they dominate women. Remember what Lysistrata says: “…; a man gets no joy if he doesn’t get along with his wife.” (line 165)

Question: How long was Aspasia Pericles’ Mistress?

Answer: 15 to 20 years.

Question: How does her work affect our lives today?

Answer: She continues to inspire women. And the Athenian democracy which she helped form is a model for our freedom.

Question: what made aspasia such a unique figure in anciant greek history

Answer: She was remarkable in all history but not that unique in ancient Greece. It is remarkable that a courtesan should achieve such influence, but in ancient Greece courtesans were intelligent and well-trained.

Question: Did Aspasia ever bear Pericles any children? Was she also the lover of the Persian ruler Al Taliph?

Answer: They had a son named Pericles. I have no information on Al Taliph.

Question:

Answer: Plato’s Menexenus. Plato makes Aspasia hold forth on the Athenian concept of autochthony, or the mythical descent of all citizens from the single uterus of the Earth Mother, which became entwined with the notion of democracy.

Madeleine Henry’s Prisoner of History: Aspasia of Miletus and Her Biographical Tradition provides a well-written and very thorough investigation of some rather iffy historical material. reference, Another review

Caroline Wells Healey Dall, Historical pictures retouched : A volume of miscellanies. In two parts, Boston : Walker, Wise, and company ; London : Edward S. Whitfield, 1860 (xiii, 402 p. ; 18 cm) OCLC# 2417132

TEMPLE OF ASPASIA

Aspasia

Glenn, Cheryl 1994a). Sex, Lies, and Manuscript: Refiguring Aspasia in the History of Rhetoric. College of Composition and Communication, 45 (2), 180-195.

Question: How did Aspasia impact modern society?

This a good question for futher research.

Question: Was Aspasia famous all her life

Answer: As she grew older her fame grew.

Question: What sort of traditions did Aspasia have?

Answer: She had attended a school for hetarae which trained women not only to entertain men but also to counsel them.

Question: what was Aspasia’s childhood like?

Answer: Aspasia’s parents were poor and could not afford a dowery so Aspasia could get married. Until it was time to go to school she played naked in the streets. Not many little girls got to go to school but Aspasia was very bright. She was sent to a school for hetaerae. But this was a very strict school and Aspasia had to work very hard. The little girls had to sweep, carry water, and serve the bigger girls. But they also learned to dance and play musical instruments. Every once in a while a man would come to the school because he like to have sex with little girls. But because Aspasia was so talented she was saved from this task.

Sometimes the girls would go to a symposium to perform as a group. Aspasia was often involved because she performed very well and was an excellent conversationlist. Some of the girls would be pawed and fondled because the men at the symposium wanted to have sex with them. But Aspasia was protected from this because she was so valuable. The men who behaved this way could not afford Aspasia.

Aspasia studied hard and since she was smart she learned a lot. She was able to learn many of the subjects taught to boys at the gymnasium including rhetoric, geometry, and writing. By the time she became a big girl she was famous and popular. She was very lucky she could go to a school for hetaerae and learn many advanced subjects.

Question: What music was playing around her time?

Answer: The lyre and flute were the most popular. We know that the music had the rhythm of a cicada because there is a story that during a contest a string broke and a cicada kept up the tune.

Question: What was the culture like during that era?

Answer: This was the Classical period in Greece and many books are written about this subject. Check out the bibliography in the Menu directory below.

Question: Did Aspasia have any role models?

Answer: Yes. Thales and Anaximander both made Melitus a center of learning. Leucippus may also have been from Miletus. She also may have benefited from the Pythagoreans who allowed women to participate in learning.

Question: What were quotes other people said of Aspasia?

Answer: Of Aspasia, Socrates said, in the dialogue of Plato called
Menexenus: “I have an excellent mistress in the art of rhetoric – she who has made so many good speakers, and one who was the best among all the Hellenes, Pericles, the son of Xanthippus…”

Question: What does the name “Aspasia” mean?

Answer: Aspasia means “greatly welcome” in Greek

Question: I confused, what were Aspasia’s contributions?

Answer: Aspasia was a teacher of men. She set an example of what women could do. Her students were the most famous men of the time.

Question: What is rhetoric

Answer: Rhetoric consists of what is called public speaking and creative writing. It is the study of elements of language that allow personal communication. These elements include content, structure, cadence, and style.

Question: Did Aspasia get married after the death of Pericles?

Answer: Yes she did.

Question: i need photos of chitons that aspasia would have worn ( what kind)

Answer:

Question: who did aspasia marry after pericles’s death?

Answer: In 429 B.C. Pericles died from the plague. A year later Aspasia became involved with a sheep seller named Lysicles in another unofficial marriage.

Question: Did Aspasia and Pericles have any other children besides Pericles junior and if so what was his/her name. Also, after pericles died she got in a relationship with someone else, how old was she when he died? and did she have any children with her second lover?

Answer: I have no information on this.

Question: What did Aspasia teach?

Answer: Skills of use to a hetaera.

Question: Do you know where I could find something that Aspasia might have written or any political advice she’s given?

Answer: No man would admit to receiving this advice.

Question: did any of the greek gods like aspasia and if so who liked her and who did not like her?

Answer: No deity disliked her except possibly Artemis. Pericles, her lover, died during a plague and this might have resulted from a punishment by Artemis. But Aspasia was very wise and successful and this is usually associated with the favor of the deities. Athena could have favored her with wisdom and Tyche could have favored her with good luck.

Question: How did Aspasia influenced in economy? How did she learned about pholisophy, history, politics, science, art and literature?

Answer: First it is important to realize that Pericles was the ruler of Athens not because of his political position but because of his influence and persuasion. He was able to do this because of lines of communication that existed in ancient Athens. Pericles promoted arts, architecture, and literature and helped to make Athens an influetial force in the world for many centuries.

Aspasia influenced Athens by supporting and advising Pericles. It is believed that Aspasia was trained as an hetaera. Hetaerae were companions of men in Athens. Unlike the Gheisha of Japan of the nineteeth century a hetaera in ancient Athens was expected to converse intelligently. For this reason hetaerae were often schooled in rhetoric. Once a hetaera became a companion of an intelligent man she had the opportunity to learn a lot simply through conversation. If she attended symposia with that man she had the opportunity to converse with other men and learn from them. It was these types of events that allowed communication in ancient Athens to be so effective.

A symposium involved a dozen to two dozen men. The men lounged on beds within reach of fingerfoods and wine. In this context there would be a focus activity wihich might be a music performance or a lecture. Women would serve the men, sit with them and converse, or perform, or lecture. Examples of the intimate nature of these events can be found in the works of Plato. It is important to realize that the women were not passive but they were not always in a position to learn. Pericles and Aspasia would have attended several of these symposia each week including ones that were held in their own home. It was in the context of these events that Aspasia would have had her influence. It is a complement to the culture of Athens that such events included discussions about philosophy, history, politics, science, art, and literature.

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