Arete – fl.5th or 4th Century BCE – Attica, Greece

Ancient Greece

“The splendour of Greece and possessed the beauty of Helen, the virtue of Thirma, the pen of Aristippus, the soul of Socrates, and the tongue of Homer.”

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Arete of Cyrene succeeded her father Aristippus as the head of the Cyrenaic school of philosophers. The sources report that she taught philosophy for thirty-five years to well over a hundred students and that she wrote forty books. Unfortunately, none has survived.

Aristippus had been taught by Socrates, and passed his knowledge on to his daughter. In turn, Arete taught her own son, Aristippus the Younger, who was known by the nickname ‘mother-taught’. The Cyrenaics believed in sensual hedonism. They taught that the only intrinsic good is physical pleasure and enjoyable sensations.

Arete was well known during her lifetime, and stands out in history as being one of the few women to teach publicly and to publish work.


References:

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and MythologyWilliam Smith

Society for the Study of Women Philosophers: Arete of CyreneKate Lindemann

On Wikipedia:

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