Hipparchia


Diogenes Laertius, Book VI - Hipparchia

She fell in love with the discourses and the life of Crates, and would not pay attention to any of her suitors, their wealth, their high birth or their beauty. But to her Crates was everything. She used even to threaten her parents she would make away with herself, unless she were given in marriage to him. Crates therefore was implored by her parents to dissuade the girl, and did all he could, and at last, failing to persuade her, got up, took off his clothes before her face and said, "This is the bridegroom, here are his possessions; make your choice accordingly; for you will be no helpmeet of mine, unless you share my pursuits."

97. The girl chose and, adopting the same dress, went about with her husband and lived with him in public and went out to dinners with him. Accordingly she appeared at the banquet given by Lysimachus, and there put down Theodorus, known as the atheist, by means of the following sophism. Any action which would not be called wrong if done by Theodorus, would not be called wrong if done by Hipparchia. Now Theodorus does no wrong when he strikes himself: therefore neither does Hipparchia do wrong when she strikes Theodorus. He had no reply wherewith to meet the argument, but tried to strip her of her cloak. But Hipparchia showed no sign of alarm or of the perturbation natural in a woman. 98. And when he said to her:

"Is this she Who quitting woof and warp and comb and loom?"

she replied, "It is I, Theodorus, but do you suppose that I have been ill advised about myself, if instead of wasting further time upon the loom I spent it in education?" These tales and countless others are told of the female philosopher.

There is current a work of Crates entitled Epistles, containing excellent philosophy in a style which sometimes resembles that of Plato. He has also written tragedies, stamped with a very lofty kind of philosophy; as, for example, the following passage:

Not one tower hath my country nor one roof, But wide as the whole earth its citadel And home prepared for us to dwell therein.

Back To Top



Back to Collected Wisdom

Home Page

2009