Phintys of Sparta (fl. c. 400 BCE)

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Phintys of Sparta (fl. c. 400 bce)

Greek philosopher. Flourished around 400 bce; daughter of Kallikratides (Kallicrates, or Kallikratidas), a Greek admiral.


On the Moderation of Women.

Little is known about the life of Phintys of Sparta, except that she was the daughter of a Greek admiral, Kallikratides, who died in the 406 bce battle of Arginusae. The two remaining fragments of her book On the Moderation of Women show that her philosophical approach was typical of Pythagorean women in its emphasis on temperance. The Pythagoreans upheld the importance of courage, justice, and moderation in everyday life, and many of them saw women and men as having equal but different roles. Phintys, who argued that philosophy was appropriate for both men and women, regarded moderation as of particular importance for women due to their domestic roles, the demands of which required adaptability to circumstance. She concentrated on the philosophy of domestic life, emphasizing moderation and fidelity. Phintys advocated temperance in everything, including religious practice; recommended modesty in personal appearance (no jewelry); and noted that a woman should be especially discreet when leaving the house. Phintys advises men, on the other hand, to concentrate on the other Pythagorean virtues of courage and justice in their comparatively more-public work.


Buck, Claire, ed. Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. NY: Prentice Hall, 1992.

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

Waithe, Mary Ellen, ed. A History of Women Philosophers. Boston, MA: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987–95.

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