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