Phintys of Sparta
circa 400 BCE
Late Pythagorean Feminism,Virtue Ethics

Kate Lindemann's 

Women Philosophers


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Phintys of Sparta lived about 400 BCE. This Greek woman was the daughter of Kallicrates and she is listed as one of the seventeen Pythagorean women in Stobaeus' Eclogae, an anthology which Stobaeus created for his son's education.

Little is known of Phyntys of Sparta's life and there is some debate about the correct classification of her name as a Pythagorean. For those interested in such classifications, this section from S R.W.B. Salway reveiw of Peter M. Fraser and Elaine Matthews (edd.), A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Vol. III.A. The Peloponnese, Western Greece, Sicily, and Magna Graecia. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997 might be of interest.

It states, in part:

"Aside from the interpolated sisters, the most unsatisfactory part of Deubner's solution is the encumbering of Philtys with two defining relationships, whereas in the rest of the list a single one is standard (father or husband). Given the supposed fame of Philtys and the other women Pythagoreans listed here, it is tempting to identify her with the Pythagorean Phintys daughter of Kallikrates, to whom five extracts of a work On the Conduct of a Woman are attributed by Stobaeus. This slight emendation, which also necessitates the insertion of her father's name, suggests the presence of a lacuna before Theophris in which the name of the missing Pythagorean woman may have been lost. Moreover the need to make 'Byndakou' a brother of 'Philtys' and to interpolate the Lucanian sisters is removed. This list might thus have read: Phintus thugatêr Theophrios tou Krotôniatou, Bundakô adelphê Okkelou kai Ekkelou tôn Leukanôn, Such a solution would result in the deletion of not only the Lucanian sisters but also LGPN III.A's Philtys of Croton, dissolving the supposed familial links between 'Phintys', Theophris, and 'Byndakos', and would transform the latter from a man of Croton into a woman, Byndako, sister of the Lucanians Okkelos and Okkilos/Ekkelos. Whatever the truth about Byndakos' gender, the editors of LGPN might have been wise to put him/her in their 'ambiguous' category. The overall moral would seem to be that, for cases such as Okkelo and Ekkelo, they might also be wise to allow themselves the option of marking an individual/name as 'inc(ertus/a)'."


Works of Phintys of Sparta

Two fragments the philosophical work by Phintys of Sparta, " On the Moderation of Women" , survive and both are translated by Vicki Lynn Harper and published in volume 1 History of Women Philosophers ed. by Mary Ellen Waithe.

One of those fragments is available on line.

NOTE: Although the web site owner claims that the piece was probably not written by Phintys, there is no evidence put forth to substantiate that claim. It is generally attibuted to Phintys of Sparta and since Stobaeus attributes both fragments to the philosopher there is no reason not to accept the fragment as authentic to her authorship.

To read On the Moderation of Women by Phintys of Sparta go to: On the Moderation of Women by Phintys of Sparta

Richard and Catherine Clark Kroeger have authored an article that reviews both Dionysian and early Christian worship in Corinth. Phintys of Sparta, the Pythagorean philosopher, is mentioned in this article. It states:

"Phintys reports that the law forbids women to take part in the orgies of the Great Mother and so comes down in favor of moderation here also."

The article is interesting for its insights into both worship and the role of women in ancient worship. To read this article go to: Pandemonious and Silence at Corinth

Phyntis of Sparta is among the more than 40 philosophers featured in

Busted!! A Pictorial History of Women Philosophers DVD Volume 1.

This page was last updated 12/15/14.

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