by Koren Whipp
Aretaphila of  Nicocrates, a tyrant who seized power of c. 50 BCE, assassinated Phᴂdimus and forcibly married Aretaphila. The citizens of were executed, their property seized and their homes destroyed under the tyrant’s rule. Determined to free from this oppression, Aretaphila conspired to poison Nicocrates. When Calbia, mother to Nicocrates, discovered the plan she urged her son to torture Aretaphila. Of the various depictions of the life of Aretaphila, Calbia is only mentioned in ’s Moralia.  Although Aretaphila pleaded that the preparations found in her rooms were love potions designed to woo Nicocrates, she was nevertheless tortured.(1st C BCE) lived in the reign of , King of Pontus and Armenia Minor. She was the daughter of Aeglator and wife of Phᴂdimus, both noblemen.
Aretaphila gave birth to one daughter from her union with Nicocrates. Aretaphila encouraged her daughter to seduce Leander, the brother of Nicocrates.  The two were married; with direction from Aretaphila, the bride convinced Leander to assassinate his brother Nicocrates.writes that Aretaphila used enchantments and witchcraft on her daughter to win over Leander.
Leander was as tyrannical as Nicocrates, continuing many of the practices that oppressed the Cyrenes. Aretaphila conspired with a Lybian prince, Anabus, to invade  Withdrawal into private life may have signified engagement in a female cult. A Roman woman, Antonia, had a statue erected to Aretaphilia, perhaps in honor of her role as a cult figure, or for her public service. and deliver its inhabitants from persecution in exchange for gifts and money. Aretaphila led Leander to Anabus who arrested Leander as a usurper. The ’s offered a public role to Aretaphila for her help in deposing the oppressor, but she declined and returned to domesticity in the women’s quarters where she spent the rest of her life working at her loom.
 , On the Bravery of Women, 19; , Moralia, 255E-257E.
 Mary Hays, “Aretaphila,” Female Biography; or, Memoirs of Illustrious and Celebrated Women of all Ages and Countries (6 volumes) (London: R. Phillips, 1803), vol. 1, 172-77, on 173.
 Ian Plant, “Aretaphila,” Mary Hays, Female Biography; or, Memoirs of Illustrious and Celebrated Women, of All Ages and Countries (1803). Chawton House Library Series: Women’s Memoirs, ed. Gina Luria Walker, Memoirs of Women Writers Part II (Pickering & Chatto: London, 2013), vol. 5, 198-203, editorial notes, 435-36, on 435.
 Plant, “Aretaphila,” vol. 5, 198-203, editorial notes, 435-36, on 435.
 Hays, “Aretaphila,” vol. 1, 172-77, on 174-5.
 , Moralia, 257d-e.
 Donald White, The Extramural Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at , Libya, Final Reports VIII: The Sanctuary’s Imperial Architectural Development, Conflict with Christianity, and Final Days (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 190; 195.
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Lefkowitz, Mary R. Women in Greek Myth. Maryland: JHU Press, 2007.
Plant, Ian. “Aretaphila.” Mary Hays, Female Biography; or, Memoirs of Illustrious and Celebrated Women, of All Ages and Countries. 1803. Chawton House Library Series: Women’s Memoirs, ed. Gina Luria Walker, Memoirs of Women Writers Part II. Pickering & Chatto: London, 2013. vol. 5, 198-203, editorial notes, 435-36.
. On the Bravery of Women.
White, Donald. The Extramural Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at, Libya, Final Reports VIII: The Sanctuary’s Imperial Architectural Development, Conflict with Christianity, and Final Days. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Aretaphilia of
Koren Whipp. “Aretaphila.” Project Continua (January 22, 2014): Ver. 1, [date accessed], http://www.projectcontinua.org/aretaphila/
Tags: Africa, Ancient, Patriots