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Philosophy and Power in the Graeco-Roman WorldEssays in Honour of Miriam Griffin$
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Gillian Clark and Tessa Rajak

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299905

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299905.001.0001

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Women, Power, and Philosophy at Rome and Beyond Barbara Levick

Women, Power, and Philosophy at Rome and Beyond Barbara Levick

(p.133) Women, Power, and Philosophy at Rome and Beyond Barbara Levick
Philosophy and Power in the Graeco-Roman World

Barbara Levick

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges those claims of philosophy to change the powerful and empower the powerless. It argues that philosophy failed half the human race. It raises the possibility that philosophy was thought to be too exalted, or too disruptive, for study by anyone except the elite male. On the other hand, it questions whether it was in any way truly subversive or made people reassess the system in which they lived; whether its effect was ever more than patchy; whether philosophy ever caused anyone to act differently, and whether it ever told anyone what to do. The chapter surveys the effect of philosophy on Greek and Roman women — who were excluded both from the high ground of intellectual debate and from official power — and finds among women perhaps one philosopher, but no historians. Some women got some education, some were even described as philosophers, but overall, ‘ancient philosophy and philosophers failed women’.

Keywords:   Greek women, Roman women, ancient philosophy, philosophers

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