Thursday, July 20, 2023

Women Are Capable of Achieving Perfection: Clement of Alexandria, Misc. 4.19

Tam mulieres quam viros esse perfectionis obtinendae capaces, quod et heroinarum apud exemplis confirmat

...Annon enim tormenta quoque tulit fortiter Leaena Attica, quae cum esset conscia insidiarum quae ab Harmodio et Aristogitone parabantur in Hipparchum, nihil omnino est elocuta, etsi valde cruciaretur? Aiunt autem Argolicas quoque, Telesilla poetria duce, Spartanos, qui magna erant virtute in rebus bellicis, solo instituito prodeuntes fugasse, et effecisse ut illae mortem nihil extimescerent. De filiabus quoque Danai dicit similia Danaidis auctor: "Tumque cito Danai sumpserunt arma puellae / in ripis pulchro labentis flumine Nili;" et quae sequuntur. Canunt autem reliqui poetae velocitatem Atalantae in venatione, et egregiam Anticleae amicitiam ,et Alcestidis in maritum amorem, et Maeaeriae et Hyacinthidum fortitudinem...

 --Clement of Alexandria, Stromatum lib.4 cap.19 translated into Latin by D. Nicolae le Nourry (1856)

That Both Women and Men are Capable of Achieving Perfection, Which Is Also Seen In Examples from Non-Christian Sources

…Didn’t the Athenian woman Leaena bravely endure torment? She revealed nothing at all about the plot of Harmodius & Aristogiton had planned against Hipparchus, even when she was brutally tortured.

They say that the Argive women, under the poet Telesilla’s leadership, were the only ones who were able to rout the excessively warlike Spartans who had leveled their spears against them? Telesilla was able to make them fearless; they were no even afraid of death. 

The author of the Danai says something similar: “Rapidly, the Danai girls took up arms / upon the banks of the beautiful Nile,” etc.

Other poets sing of Atalanta’s speed in hunting, and Anticlea’s outstanding friendship, Alcestis’ love for her husband, the bravery of Maeaeria and Hyacinthides.



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