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Date and Time: Thursday, 18th May, 2023 at 18:00h BST

Venue: Room G21, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA and

Online: Access details below

In this seminar, Dr Dawn Lavalle Norman (Lewis-Gibson Visiting Fellow and  Australian Catholic University) explores the unique perspectives and contributions of female philosophers, such as Diotima, Aspasia, and Hypatia,  in ancient Greece and discusses their often overlooked role in society.

Some attractions of attending an ancient symposium were the women who might be there. Hetaerae could titillate, female acrobats could turn somersaults, and female musicians were at hand for aural pleasure, all while your own wife was safely at home. Women were part of the pleasure package available to male sympotic participants.

It comes as something of a surprise then, that there is a small but strong tradition of including women in philosophical dialogues set at symposia not as entertainers, but as esteemed intellectual participants.

This lecture will track the changes in how women were present at literary depictions of symposia, especially in their changing verbal participation from the Classical period to Late Antiquity. The different uses of female characters in the first Symposia of Plato and Xenophon permitted the Imperial writers of Symposia, Plutarch and Methodius of Olympus, to play with the relationship between gender and philosophy in their use of the female voice.

Online Access Details

Topic: Greek Dialogues - Blushing Philosophers or Flushed Philosophers?: Women at Four Symposia
Time: Thursday 18th April, 2023 at 18:00h BST

Join Zoom Meeting:

(If you cannot access the seminar by clicking on the link, copy the whole link and paste it into your web browser's address bar.)

Meeting ID: 952 0717 8604
Passcode: 674913


Livestreaming on:

: The Cambridge Centre for Greek Studies Channel

Facebook: CCGS Cambridge | Facebook


Thursday, 18 May, 2023 - 18:00
Event location: 
Online and Room G21, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA