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Cleobulina [a] (Κλεοβουλίνη, fl. 6th century BC) was an ancient Greek poet. She was known for writing riddles, and three riddles attributed to her survive.[1]

According to Athenaeus and Diogenes Laërtius, Cleobulina came from Lindos on the Greek island of Rhodes.[1] She was the daughter of Cleobulus, one of the Seven Sages of Greece.[2] Plutarch says that as a young girl she was a companion of the pre-Socratic philosopher Thales of Miletus, though according to Diogenes Laërtius she was his mother. If either association is accurate, she must have been active at the beginning of the 6th century BC.[1]

Only three riddles attributed to Cleobulina survive. One was clearly well-known in antiquity, quoted twice by Aristotle, as well as by Plutarch, Demetrius of Phalernum, and Athenaeus; one survives in quotation by an anonymous philosopher; and the third survives in Plutarch's Moralia. In antiquity, a larger corpus of riddles were probably attributed to Cleobulina, as Athenaeus mentions a treatise on them by the otherwise unknown Diotimus of Olympene.[1]

Two ancient comedies named for Cleobulina are known, though neither survive. The earlier was written by Cratinus, a writer of Old Comedy; it may have been produced in 451/0 BC, as Eusebius says that Cleobulina was especially renowned in that year. The other was by Alexis.[1]


  1. ^ Plutarch says that her real name was Eumetis, though as this means "clever" in Greek this may be an invention by Plutarch or his source.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Plant, I. M. (2004). Women Writers of Ancient Greece and Rome: An Anthology. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 29–32.
  2. ^ "Cleobulina of Rhodes". Ancient Women Philosophers. Mount St Mary College. Retrieved 2009-09-06.

Further reading[edit]

  • Leon, Vicki. "Cleobulina," in Uppity Women of Ancient Greece. (San Luis Obispo: Tabula Rasa Press, 1989). ISBN 1-57324-010-9
  • Fabbro, Elena. "La zampa cornuta dell'asino morto. Il più enigmatico enigma di Cleobulina (fr. 3 West2)", in C. Griggio - F. Vendruscolo (edd.), Suave mari magno.. Studi offerti dai colleghi udinesi a Ernesto Berti. pp. 55–76 (Udine: Forum) ISBN 978-88-8420-486-8

External links[edit]