Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Aretaphilia of Cyrene

signature image

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Aretaphilia of Cyrene
Flourished circa 50 B.C., Cyrene, ancient Greece

The correct spelling of this name is ARETAPHILA OF CYRENE.

The story of the Cyrenean woman Aretaphila is told by Plutarch in his De mulierum virtutes (On the Virtues of Women). Compelled to marry the tyrant Nicocrates after he had killed her husband, Aretaphila determined to liberate herself and her country by convincing Leander, the tyrant's brother, to murder him. She then maneuvered Leander into a war with the Libyans, which ended with his capture and execution. Now a heroic liberator, Aretaphila was invited to join the new government of her country, but she declined, preferring to return to a life of domestic duties.

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