Plato. “From Menexenus.” The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. Ed. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg. 2nd ed. Boston & New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. 56-63. Print.
Aspasia [5th century B.C.E] intro:
- daughter of Axiochus
- Born in Miletus, Ionian Greek city in Asia Minor
- lived with Pericles (could not marry as foreigner, but was established concubine)
- famous teacher of rhetoric – possibly taught Socrates the Socratic method, wrote several of Pericles’ speeches
- no hard evidence about details of her life – only through work written by others
- persistently viewed through a lens that emphasized her gender as well as her putatively illicit sexuality
- role of Diotima in Plato’s Symposium parallels Aspasia’s history
- legally, Athenian women were on par with minor children
- her home was an intellectual salon (unlike the homes of other women of her station)
- after Pericles died, she married a sheep dealer named Lycicles who she groomed to be a leader
- autochthony: a common trope in funeral orations for fallen soldiers, refers to the imagined birth of male heroes from the soil of the motherland, rather than from human wombs.
- Aspasia has no voice. Her oration (62-63) is repeated by Socrates.
- Plato is making fun of something … Aspasia or Socrates – embellished phrasing/style, uses autochthony