Sosipatra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Sosipatra of Ephesus (Greek: Σωσιπάτρα) was a Neoplatonist philosopher and mystic who lived in the first half of the 4th century CE. The story of her life is told in Eunapius' Lives of the Sophists.

Life and education[edit]

She was born in Ephesus. When she was five years old, two men came to work on her father's estate. When they produced a bounteous harvest beyond all expectation, they persuaded him to hand Sosipatra, and his estate, over to their care. The father was told to leave home for five years, during which Sosipatra was educated by the two men in ancient Chaldean wisdom. When the father returned, Sosipatra was radiant in her beauty, and was said to have possessed extraordinary psychic and clairvoyant abilities. It is implied that the two men were supernatural beings.

Teaching[edit]

She later married Eustathius of Cappadocia, apparently in the full knowledge that he would die before her. Eunapius tells us that "her surpassing wisdom made her own husband seem inferior and insignificant." Eustathius and Sosipatra had three sons, one of whom, Antoninus, became a significant philosopher and theurgist in his own right.

After the death of her husband, she retired to Pergamon, where her skill as a philosopher made her as popular as Aedesius who also taught philosophy there. Eunapius tells us that after the students had attended the lectures of the Neoplatonist philosopher Aedesius, they would go to hear Sosipatra's.

Magic[edit]

A relative of hers called Philometer was in love with her, and cast a spell on her in order to win her love. She confessed her conflicting emotions to Maximus, who was a pupil of Aedesius and would later become the teacher of the emperor Julian. Maximus was able to detect the presence of the spell and was able to counter it with a spell of his own, defeating Philometer's intent. Because he was ashamed, Sosipatra was able to forgive Philometer, and later we hear of how on one occasion, when she was lecturing on the afterlife of the soul, she had a vision of Philometer in an accident, and was able to send servants to help.

References[edit]