Phintys was a Pythagorean philosopher, probably from the third century BC. She wrote a work on the correct behaviour of women, two extracts of which are preserved by Stobaeus.

According to Stobaeus, Phintys was the daughter of Callicrates,[1] who is otherwise unknown.[2] Holger Thesleff suggests that this Callicrates might be identified with Callicratidas, a Spartan general who died at the Battle of Arginusae.[3] If so, this would make Phintys a Spartan, and date her birth to the late fifth century BC, and her floruit to the fourth century. I. M. Plant considers this emendation "fanciful".[2] Iamblichus mentions Philtys in his list of female Pythagoreans;[4] he says that she was from Croton and that her father was called Theophrius. I. M. Plant believes that Iamblichus' Philtys, though also a Pythagorean and similarly named, is distinct from Stobaeus' Phintys.[2]

Two fragments attributed to Phintys are preserved in Stobaeus.[2] However, not all scholars agree that the fragments are authentic: Lefkowitz and Fant argue that the works attributed to female Pythagoreans, including Phintys, were actually rhetorical exercises written by men.[5] They are written in the Doric dialect, and amount to about 80 lines of prose.[6] The language used dates to around the fourth century BC, although some features of it appear to be deliberate archaisms; it was likely actually composed in the third century BC,[2] though a date as late as the second century AD was suggested by Friedrich Wilhelm in 1915.[7]

The fragments discuss the differences between men and women,[2] and argues for chastity as the most important virtue for women.[8] Phintys gives a series of ways that women ought to practice self-control, concluding that the most effective way is to only have sex with her husband in order to produce legitimate children.[9] Along with her defence of women's chastity, she argues that the practice of philosophy is appropriate for women as well as men.[2]


  1. ^ Stobaeus, iv 23.11
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Plant 2004, p. 84.
  3. ^ Waithe 1987, p. 26.
  4. ^ Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras, 267
  5. ^ Lefkowitz & Fant.
  6. ^ Thesleff 1961, p. 18.
  7. ^ Thesleff 1961, p. 34.
  8. ^ Wider 1986, p. 36.
  9. ^ Wider 1986, pp. 36–7.


  • Lefkowitz, Mary R.; Fant, Maureen B., "Private Life", Women's Life in Greece & Rome, 208. Chastity, archived from the original on 1 July 2016, retrieved 25 July 2017
  • Plant, Ian (2004), Women Writers of Ancient Greece and Rome: An Anthology, Equinox, pp. 84–86, ISBN 1-904768-02-4
  • Thesleff, Holger (1961), An Introduction to the Pythagorean Writings of the Hellenistic Period, Åbo akademi
  • Waithe, Mary Ellen (1987), A History of Women Philosophers: Volume I: Ancient Women Philosophers, 600 BC - 500 AD, Springer, ISBN 90-247-3368-5
  • Wider, Kathleen (1986), "Women Philosophers in the Ancient Greek World: Donning the Mantle", Hypatia, 1 (1): 21–62, doi:10.1111/j.1527-2001.1986.tb00521.x, S2CID 144952549

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