The letters of the pythagorean women in their historical and philosophical contexts

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The letters of the Pythagorean women, designed to support the Pythagorean ideal of education in the context of the revived interest to Pythagoreanism around the first cent. CE and considered until the 19th century as the authentic ones, are examined in this article in the context of the rhetorical schools of Early Roman period. Putting these letters in the context of pastoral ones, we can also suggest that the Pythagorean letters were written with an ideological aim, as a counterbalance to the strengthening Christianity. I discuss the testimonies about Theano in their chronological order and question one of the conventional dating of the letters, attributed to her name. The second part from the letter Theano to Eubule is published in my translation, for the first time in the Russian language. Overall, this article is conceived as an introduction to a forthcoming commented translation of the letters of the Pythagorean women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-535
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Crates
  • Cynics
  • Dicaearchus
  • Epistolary genre
  • Female letters
  • Hipparchia
  • Plutarchus
  • Pythagoras
  • Pythagoreanism
  • Theano




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