Peithô's Web   Lives index  



I. HIPPARCHIA, the sister of Metrocles, was charmed among others, by the doctrines of this school.

II. Both she and Metrocles were natives of Maronea. She fell in love with both the doctrines and manners of Crates, and could not be diverted from her regard for him, by either the wealth, or high birth, or personal beauty, of any of her suitors , but Crates was everything to her; and she threatened her parents to make away with herself, if she were not given in marriage to him. Crates accordingly, being entreated by her parents to dissuade her from this resolution, did all he could; and at last, as he could not persuade her, he rose up, and placing all his furniture before her, he said, "This is the bridegroom whom you are choosing, and this is the whole of his property; consider these facts, for it will not be possible for you to become his partner, if you do not also apply your self to the same studies, and conform to the same habits that he does." But the girl chose him; and assuming the same dress that he wore, went about with him as her husband, and appeared with him in public everywhere, and went to all entertainments in his company.

III. And once when she went to sup with Lysimachus, she attacked Theodorus, who was surnamed the Atheist; proposing to him the following sophism; "What Theodorus could not be called wrong for doing, that same thing Hipparchia ought not to be called wrong for doing. But Theodorus does no wrong when he beats himself; therefore Hipparchia does no wrong when she beats Theodorus." He made no reply to what she said, but only pulled her clothes about; but Hipparchia was neither offended nor ashamed, as many a woman would have been; but when he said to her :

"Who is the woman who has left the shuttle
So near the warp?"1

"I, Theodorus, am that person," she replied; "but do I appear to you to have come to a wrong decision, if I devote that time to philosophy, which I otherwise should have spent at the loom?" And these and many other sayings are reported of this female philosopher.

IV. There is also a volume of letters of Crates2 extant, in which he philosophizes most excellently; and in style is very little inferior to Plato. He also wrote some tragedies, which are imbued with a very sublime spirit of philosophy, of which the following lines are a specimen:

'Tis not one town, nor one poor single house,
That is my country; but in every land
Each city and each dwelling seems to me,
A place for my reception ready made.

And he died at a great age, and was buried in Boeotia.

1. This line is from the Bacchae of Euripides, v. 1228.

2. From this last paragraph it is inferred by some critics, that originally the preceding memoirs of Crates, Metrocles, and Hipparchia, formed only one chapter or book.

Scanned and edited for Peithô's Web from The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertius, Literally translated by C.D. Yonge. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853. Footnotes have been converted to endnotes. Some, but not all, of Yonge's spellings of ancient names have been updated.

All of the materials at Peithô's Web are provided for your enjoyment, as is, without any warranty of any kind or for any purpose.

 Peithô's Web   Top Lives index