Aspasia of Miletus is, next to Sappho and Cleopatra, the best known woman of the ancient Mediterranean. Yet continued uncritical reception of her depiction in Attic comedy and the naive acceptance of Plutarch's account of her in his "Life of Pericles" have hindered us from understanding both who she was or may have been and her actual contributions to Greek thought. Combining traditional philological and historical methods of analysis with feminist critical perspectives, Madeleine Henry traces the construction of Aspasia of Miletus's biographical tradition and shows how it has prevented her from taking her place as a contributor to the philosophical enterprise, and how continued belief in this icon has helped sexualize all women's achievements.

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