[lit-ideas] Phronima and the Laecedemonians

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2007 20:45:35 EST

R. Paul comments on a post by W. Okshweski:
 
>The phronimos (there are no lady  phronimoi) is one who >reasons well about 
what should be done in certain  >circumstances.
 
But cfr. 
 
_The foundation of Cyrene: legends and reality «  STOA POIKILE_ 
(http://stoa.wordpress.com/2007/04/01/the-foundation-of-cyrene-legends-and-reality/)
       


There is in Crete a city  called Oäxos in 
      which one Etearchos  became king, who when 
     he had a daughter, whose  mother was dead, 
     named Phronime,  took to wife ...
stoa.wordpress.com/2007/04/01/stoa.wordpress.com/2007/04/01/<WBR>the-foundatio
n-of-c
 
So there _was_ as R. Paul  ungrammatically puts it, a "lady phronimos". (I 
have not been able to  access the Liddell/Scott as I write this).
 
I notice that there is an  entry in the OED for 'phronesis', the first quote 
being "Speak, Parrot,  Speak", by Skelton. A very good quote punning on 
'phronesis' and  'frenesi'.
 
Incidentally, I never heard  from R. Paul as to what he would think of my 
quote about Pallas Athena  having been born from the 'top' of Zeus. In any 
case, 
R. Paul said 'brow',  by which I take he means 'frons', by which I take I mean 
Gk. 'phren' (as  in skizophrenic), cognate with "phronesis".
 
I was going to ask or say  whether the Greeks had something about female  
phronima.
 
I am getting more acquainted  with Greek tragedy and I see it's ALWAYS (or 
almost always) the WOMEN who  bring the tragedy:
 
* It's _Electra_ who  convinces Orestes to kill their mother. Yet Electra 
does nothing about it.  Orestes would never have entertained the idea.
 
* Medea -- she killed her  child by Jason, just because she loved Jason. 
Nothing remotely similar in  a _male_ character.
 
* Lysistrata -- made fun of  men's penises. Unheard among males.
 
* Antigone -- would not  tremble at the thought that her two brothers were 
the result of an  incestuous union of Oedipus and Yocasta (as she Antigone, 
herself  was).
 
* Alcestis -- who killed  herself to let her husband get richer,
 
etc.  etc.
 
While the only Greek  authoresses we mainly talk about are Sappho and 
Hiparkhia, I would think  that there is more to it than that.

On the other hand, I was reading in this rather stupid 
 
"Norton Dictionary of Classical Literature" -- edited by a miss --,  the 
following sexist remark:
 
"Love, in this case, as generally in Plato's dialogues) is not  heterosexual. 
Athenian upper-class culture encouraged erotic relationships  between male 
adolescents and fully grown men; they were viewed as a sort  of initiation for 
the younger partner, his entry into the adult male world  under the tutelage of 
an older, but still young, man. This was perhaps a  not unsurprising product 
of an EXCLUSIVELY MALE CULTURE that placed a  heavy emphasis on athletic and 
military training and male companionship,  ..." 
 
And here comes the passage that irritates me: 
 
"... a world from which women, ..." 
 
And this parenthetical remark is what ACTUALLY irritates me: 
 
"... AT LEAST RESPECTABLE WOMEN, were excluded" (p. 478).
 
By what authority can someone claim that?  Surely it's a sexist remark if you 
define 'respectable' woman as something  that per definition, does not fit 
the standards. Are we saying that  Sappho, or the philosopheress mentioned in 
Socrates's Symposium were NOT  respectable? Are we saying that this 
'respectability' was a construction  imposed by the male, or as I may think was 
rather the 
case, self-imposed  and internalized (puajj) by females themselves? 
 
The Argentine sociologist Esther Villar has a  lot to say about this 'double 
standard'. The females define the  respectability by including themselves in a 
circle which however does not  define the paradigm of a culture. We don't 
hear the _women's_ own voices  in any case.
 
Etc.

J. L. Speranza
Buenos Aires,  Argentina




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