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The Wife of Socrates May 9, 2016

Posted by anagasto in history, philosophy.
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Here is Plato’s best known reference to her :
She had come with their children and was crying. Socrates was getting ready to die.
He glanced at his friend Criton and said quietly:

“Please let someone take her home, Criton.”

xanthippe thinking

And the scholars all throughout the ages found it admirable. —

If Plato’s account is true, Socrates was just being  rude. However, his friends were not surprised and also considered her an intruder.

Her name, Xanthippe, is used proverbially to mean a bitchy wife.
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Socrates was poor and  he taught that you should learn how to live on little. He must have forgotten that he had children who had to share his poverty. His wife may have thought that he spent too much time talking to the neighbours.
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xanthippe waiting

This is how the dictionaries define her:

……..  shrewish wife of Socrates: an ill-tempered woman

……..  spouse of Socrates, the prototype of the quarrelsome, nagging wife.

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Since Socrates never published, she owes her bad reputation mainly to Plato who was not particularly fond of women in any way.

I googled for images and here is what I found:

“Plato was a puffed-up, jealous, sanctimonious and self-centered jerk ….”, but it is no longer available now.

 

In other words, leave it to the Americans to take a new look at history’s great names…… :-D

→ →   socrates-plato-aristotle-timeline/

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Howeer, this post only meant to show that in 2000 years  public opinion has been able to  make an evil prototype of a woman without knowing anything about her except her name and that she was the wife of Socrates.

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Comments»

1. stella42 - February 16, 2008

Are you a feminist?

2. cantueso - February 16, 2008

I don’t know. I don’t think so. Maybe I don’t get the concept, or it is a really useless label. I thought it was used only on other people, never on oneself. (I have never been to the US, and I am not a native speaker of English.)

3. David - February 16, 2008

Nice find cantueso. That Palaeos site is rather interesting!

If you don’t think that you’re a feminist, then you surely are not.
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To David

His view of Plato is certainly the result of some serious and very competent thinking, though it was y predictable that next he would end up saying that that Xanthippe must have been so charming, so sweet, so kind and cooperative.

4. leafless - February 16, 2008

Hey Plato, stop picking on women. :)

5. Lumpy - February 17, 2008

nteresting. I like your blog – a nice array of topics, pictures, and political humor ; wonderful!

6. ponorist - February 18, 2008

So why is anyone even surprised! Having a good brain doesn’t necessarily make you a “nice” person….I like your blog… and hope you get over your flu soon cantueso :)

7. David - February 19, 2008

Also, for the record, I seriously doubt that Xanthippe was history’s earliest “bitch”. How about Eve?

Sanctimonious = hypocritical.

8. cantueso - February 19, 2008

David:

I did not think that Eve was a bitch. Mark Twain wrote her autobiography, and I read part of it online.

And anyway, the New Age erudites have established that Eve was Adam’s second wife, since his first one ran away, because he was machista. Her name was Lilith.

9. moomoo :) - February 3, 2009

people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

you got to be kidding !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

do you know something about his wife? this is not even close to whom she is!!!!!!!!!!!!

10. cantueso - February 13, 2009

To moomoo:

No kidding.
Imagine. If Socrates was as wise as they say, he did not marry a chicken.

11. lauren - April 15, 2010

wow. nerds

12. rddixit - October 13, 2010

socrates himself opted for, knowing well her demerits. nobody can or should challenge them.

13. Cotton Boll Conspiracy - February 22, 2012

Ah, Xanthippe. It’s the name I’ve assigned my ex-wife in my cell phone. When my kids see a call come in from her, they try to pronounce the name and I help them. They haven’t figured out that I’m using a synonym for shrew for their mother, nor do I want them to at this point. I then take the call in another room.

I figure around the time they figure out the real Xanthippe’s reputation, they’ll put two and two together. Should be a real eye opener one day a few years from now in 10th grade literature class.

14. Tonatzin - February 22, 2012

You have to take in count that greeks considered women as persons of second class. That they prefered to be homosexuals. That there are many stories, most of them without a proof about the wife. And most of all, you have to know that when you say “Her name, Xanthippe, is used proverbially to mean a bitchy wife” you are making up another story and not doing histoy…

15. cantueso - February 23, 2012

To Tonatzin:
But you are wrong in your last reflection. That “Xanthippe” is used proverbially to mean a bitchy wife is a fact that you can check in any dictionary.


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