"Debate of Socrates and Aspasia," Nicolas-Andre monsiau, c. 1800, Wikimedia photo,.
“Debate of Socrates and Aspasia,” Nicolas-Andre monsiau, c. 1800, Wikimedia photo,.

Living goddess, men worshipped at her feet,
One name held in high reverence, Aspasia,
Gazing upon her was to know divinity and
Humanity, equally and inseparably, as was
Pericles conquered by alluring song and pale
Breasts. First Citizen of Athens, by her love
He was possessed, heart and mind lighted
With celestial feasts, youthful Ionian chalice
Impregnated by manly muscled loins.

Lo! I knew Aspasia was no goddess, more
Seductress, her enigmatic educated mind,
Adept at oration, words captivating as her
Arms, fiery debates or long dialogues, wit
That silenced men, including sages who
Realized her philosophical grasp, consorts
She provided to men of rank and wealth,
Fulfilling unspeakable requests.

Those who accused Aspasia of impiety were
Attempting to protect themselves, having
Been ensnared at heterai, drunken trysts with
Young paramours, some of same sex, their
Place of trust and social standing crumbling
With each unbridled encounter, much easier
To blame Aspasia than agéd faces reflected
In depths of polished glass.

How do I know this? As a young woman, I
Was ardent follower of Aspasia, often in her
Employ, learning reasoned insight, shrewd
Thought, how to entice men and women,
To confound rulers of City States, phrases
And bodies of subtle strength, evoking un-
Anticipated political change, sending ships
Far sailing, soldiers trekking off to war.

To learn more about Aspasia of Miletus, see this link to
Brooklyn Museum.

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