Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Philotis

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

Philotis
Probably legendary, reputedly flourished 4th century B.C., Rome

The story of Philotis is recounted in Plutarch's life of Romulus (circa A.D. 75). In 390 B.C., when Rome was besieged by the Gauls, some of the enemy troops demanded the city's women in exchange for peace. While the Romans attempted to find a way to appease the Gauls, a slave named Philotis proposed to organize the female slaves of the city to pose as Roman matrons, intoxicate the Gauls, then send up a flare signaling the Roman troops to attack. The deception worked and Philotis and her compatriots were granted freedom in return for their service to Rome.

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