Cleobulina of Rhodes (fl. 570 BCE)

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Cleobulina of Rhodes (fl. 570 bce)

Greek philosopher and poet. Name variations: Eumetis. Flourished around 570 bce; daughter of Cleobulus of Rhodes (one of the "Seven Sages" and ruler of Rhodes); children: (son) Thales of Miletos (philosopher and mathematician).

Works: riddles in hexameter verse.

Cleobulina belonged to a line of Greek intellectuals that included her father Cleobulus (fl. 600 bce), who was known as one of "Seven Wise Men" or "Seven Sages." He nicknamed her "Eumetis" ("of good counsel"). Thales of Miletos (c. 585 bce), who is held to be the father of Western philosophy, is generally considered to have been Cleobulina's son. We know of Thales having praised her as a woman "wise and far-famed," with "a statesman's mind," whose influence on Cleobulus made him rule Rhodes more fairly. Her fame was so great that she was the subject of a satire, "Cleobulina," by the Athenian dramatist of the next century, Cratinus. Despite his disparagement of the intellectual capabilities of women, Aristotle quotes one of her riddles (written in her usual style of hexameter)—concerning how brass might be attached to flesh, probably as part of a medical practice—in his Poetics and his Rhetoric. Several of her other rhymes survive.

Catherine Hundleby , M.A. Philosophy, University of Guelph

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Cleobulina of Rhodes (fl. 570 BCE)

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