Axiothea of Phlius


Axiothea of Phlius

Axiothea of Phlius was one of Plato's female students.

She was born in Phlius, an ancient city in the Peloponnese which was under Spartan rule, when Plato founded his Academy. Axiothea is said by Themistius to have read Plato's "Republic" and then travelled to Athens to be his student. [Themistius, "Orations", 23. 295C] She studied in the Academy dressed as a man. [Diogenes Laërtius, iii. 46.] After the death of Plato she continued her studies with Speusippus, Plato's nephew. [Diogenes Laërtius, iv. 2]

A papyrus fragment from Oxyrhynchus mentions an unidentified woman who studied under Plato, Speusippus, and then Menedemus of Eretria. [POxy 3656] The fragment goes on to explain that "in her teens she was lovely and full of unstudied grace." This woman is probably Axiothea or Lastheneia of Mantinea.

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