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Aspasia (ăspāˈshə, –zhə) [key], fl. mid-5th cent. B.C., Athenian courtesan. A woman of great beauty and intelligence, she became the mistress and, according to some poets, adviser of Pericles after he divorced (445 B.C.) his wife. She is the chief figure in Aspasia, a dialogue by Aeschines the Socratic, in which she criticizes the training of women. She also appears in the Menexnus, probably written by Plato, and in the writings of Xenophon, who wrote favorably of her.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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