Aspasia - Greek courtesan, the mistress o f the Athenian politician Pericles. As a non-
Athenian from Miletus, she could not be recognized as his wife, but Pericles lived with Aspasia,
having parted from his wife, until his death 429 BC. No author has ever written about Aspasia herself.
If she is mentioned, it’s because she was the wife of Pericles. She is in fact a historical unperson.
Still, she is mentioned several times. Several sources portray Aspasia as a woman o f great intellectual
powers who “taught Pericles how to speak”; she is thought to have had a great influence over
Pericles. As a hetaera, she differed from most Athenian women in being educated and having independence,
so she was allowed to participate in the public life o f the city.