The Problem of the Pythagorean Women: Their Identities, Values, and Writings
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In the 6th century B.C.E. the mathematician and philosopher, Pythagoras formed a community of like-minded followers. They studied math and philosophy and lived by the guiding principle of harmony. Importantly, the Pythagorean community included both men and women. The Pythagorean women were given the opportunity of education and a more equitable life than most ancient Greek women. Pythagorean philosophy continued to permeate the ancient Greek world into the 2nd century B.C.E., when a new group of Pythagoreans, the Neopythagoreans, wrote numerous pseudepigrapha in the Pythagorean style. These pseudepigrapha were attributed to members of the original Pythagorean community, including some of the famous Pythagorean women such as Perictione and Theano. This paper examines the pseudepigrapha attributed to the Pythagorean women and questions why philosophical writings would have been attributed to the Pythagorean women.