marți, 5 februarie 2008


Xanthippe (Greek: Ξανθίππη) was the wife of Socrates. There are far more stories about her than there are facts. She is believed to have been much younger than the philosopher, perhaps by as much as forty years. She was famed for her sharp tongue and is said to have been the only person to ever have beaten Socrates in a discussion. After one particular quarrel, she was supposed to have emptied a chamber pot on Socrates's head, causing him to remark, "After thunder there generally falls rain."

Xanthippe means "yellow horse", from the Greek ξανθός "xanthos" (yellow) and ‘ιππος "hippos" (horse). Hers is one of many Greek personal names with a horse theme (cf. Philippos : "horse lover"; Hippocrates : "horse tamer" etc).

Her name now means any nagging scolding person, especially a shrewish wife. According to some sources, Socrates later remarried. Socrates' saying "Marry or marry not, in any case you'll regret it" was supposedly in contemplation of his wife.

[edit] Literary references
In Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio compares Katherina "As Socrates' Xanthippe or a worse" in Act 1 Scene 2. (Read here)

The novelist Henry Fielding describes the shrewish Mrs. Partridge thus:

“ She was, besides, a profest follower of that noble sect founded by Xantippe of old; by means of which she became more formidable in the school than her husband; for, to confess the truth, he was never master there, or anywhere else, in her presence.
... for she continued longer in a state of affability, after this fit of jealousy was ended, than her husband had ever known before: and, had it not been for some little exercises, which all the followers of Xantippe are obliged to perform daily, Mr Partridge would have enjoyed a perfect serenity of several months.

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book II, Chapters iii & iv.
The English Victorian poet Amy Levy wrote a dramatic monologue called "Xantippe"[1].

"Puttermesser and Xanthippe" is the title of one of the chapters of American novelist Cynthia Ozick's 1997 novel The Puttermesser Papers, a National Book Award finalist.

In Michelle Cliff's poem "The Garden," the speaker wears a t-shirt that reads "Xantippe."

Philosopher Daniel Dennett named his sailboat "Xanthippe".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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