The New Student's Reference Work/Xanthippe

Xanthippe (zăn-tĭp' pē), the wife of Socrates (q. v.), has the reputation of being an arch termagant, doubtless with some reason. Still it should be remembered that her naturally infirm temper must have been severely tried by the small concern manifested by Socrates in relation to his domestic affairs. Socrates had completely mastered his naturally strong appetites and passions and had acquired a temper of perfect serenity. It is but natural then that historians, on ever so small a basis of fact, should delight to match such a philosopher with a woman of such a temper as Xanthippe is said to have possessed. On the other hand, if we can trust Plato, she seems to have really loved her husband, and at his death he tenderly committed her to the care of his friends. Many stories are told of her to illustrate her peculiar infirmity, but it is impossible to tell how much credit should be given to them. The era of Socrates was 470–399 B. C.