Skip to main content

Damo (fl. 6th c. BCE)

Damo (fl. 6th c. bce)

Pythagorean philosopher. Born in Crotona, Italy; daughter of Pythagoras of Samos (a philosopher, mathematician, politician, spiritual leader) and Theano of Crotona (a Pythagorean philosopher); sister of Arignote, Myia, Telauges, and Mnesarchus; educated at the School of Pythagoras.

In some accounts, Damo is the only daughter of Theano and Pythagoras, the ancient Italian philosopher, but she is generally considered to have had two sisters Arignote and Myia . Two brothers, Telauges and Mnesarchus, are also noted. All became members of the sect established by their father Pythagoras. Pythagoreanism ascribed to the precept of metempsychosis and the teaching that earthly life is only a purification of the soul. It stressed moderation and the study of mathematics. Devotees believed that the order of the world was derived from numbers.

Although Damo is not noted for any works herself, it is quite likely that she contributed to the doctrines ascribed to Pythagoras. In testimony to his greatness, it was the tradition of the sect to credit him with authorship. Some of the content of Pythagoras' writings comes to us through Damo's preservation. Based on the commentaries of their father, her sister Arignote and her brother Telauges composed the Sacred Discourses, which were central to the development of the Pythagorean tradition as it continued to flourish for the next few centuries. The commentaries were in Damo's care after Pythagoras' death in a fire at Myia's house.

It is not clear the social status to which Damo would have been accustomed prior to her father's death, as early accounts of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans come primarily from followers who tended to glorify and romanticize their lives. But it is certain that she suffered great hardship following his death. Though the Pythagoreans were expelled from Crotona and Damo was exceedingly poor, she refused to sell her father's writings because he had prohibited the communication of their teachings to strangers.

sources:

Coppleston, Frederick, S.J. A History of Philosophy. London: Search Press, 1946.

Guthrie, W.K.C. "Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism," in Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 7. Edited by Paul Edwards. NY: Macmillan, 1967.

Jamblichus, C. Life of Pythagoras. London: John M. Watkins, 1926.

Kersey, Ethel M. Women Philosophers: a Bio-critical Source Book. CT: Greenwood Press, 1989.

Philip, J.A. Pythagoras and Early Pythagoreanism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966.

Schure, Edouard. The Ancient Mysteries of Delphi: Pythagoras. NY: Rudolf Steiner, 1971.

Waithe, Mary Ellen, ed. A History of Women Philosophers. Vol. 1. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987.

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

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Damo (fl. 6th c. BCE)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Feb. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Damo (fl. 6th c. BCE)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/damo-fl-6th-c-bce

"Damo (fl. 6th c. BCE)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 18, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/damo-fl-6th-c-bce

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.