Perictione /ˌpɛrɪkˈtəˌn/ (Greek: Περικτιόνη Periktiónē; fl. 5th century BC) was the mother of the Greek philosopher Plato.

She was a descendant of Solon, the Athenian lawgiver.[1] Her illustrious family goes back to Dropides, archon of the year 644 b.c.[2] She was married to Ariston, and had three sons (Glaucon, Adeimantus, and Plato) and a daughter (Potone).[3] After Ariston's death, she remarried Pyrilampes, an Athenian statesman and her uncle. She had her fifth child, Antiphon, with Pyrilampes. Antiphon appears in Plato's Parmenides.[4]

Two spurious works attributed to Perictione have survived in fragments, On the Harmony of Women and On Wisdom. The works do not date from the same time and are usually assigned to a Perictione I and a Perictione II.[5] This assignment makes it seem evident that perhaps either one or neither were actually composed by this Perictione. Both works are pseudonymous Pythagorean literature. On the Harmony of Women, concerns the duties of a woman to her husband, her marriage, and to her parents; it is written in Ionic Greek and probably dates to the late 4th or 3rd century BC.[6] On Wisdom offers a philosophical definition of wisdom; it is written in Doric Greek and probably dates to the 3rd or 2nd century BC. There were also allegations of her husband Ariston treating her badly due to trouble and war. According to Ariston the god Apollo came to him in a dream and told him otherwise.[6]


  1. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, iii.1
  2. ^ Great Books of the Western World. Dialogues of Plato, footnote
  3. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, iii. 4
  4. ^ Plato (1992). Republic. trans. G. M. A. Grube. Indianapolis: Hackett. p. viii. ISBN 0-87220-137-6.
  5. ^ Mary Ellen Waithe, A History of Women Philosophers: Volume 1, 600 BC-500 AD, Springer.
  6. ^ a b Ian Michael Plant, Women writers of ancient Greece and Rome: An anthology, University of Oklahoma Press (2004), p. 76.

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