Sosipatra of Pergamum is one of the last non-Christian ancient female philosophers about whom we have any information. Like Hypatia of Alexandria, she ran her own philosophy school in mid-fourth-century Pergamum. She is also represented by her biographer, Eunapius of Sardis, as an important theurgist and oracle. This talk will discuss aspects of Eunapius's portrayal of this intriguing woman, focusing on the way he uses her to critique both female Christian ascetics (the heroines of contemporary hagiography) and other theurgists who participated in more extreme ritual practices, such as coercing the gods and animating statues. These practices were ones that got figures such as Maximus of Ephesus, advisor to the Emperor Julian, into trouble as "magicians."
The weekly Classics Colloquium provides an informal meeting for the College's lively community of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty who are interested in classical subjects. Each year, the series includes a number of distinguished speakers on a variety of literary, archaeological, and historical subjects.