Ancient Women Philosophers

Myia

Myia was an ancient woman philosopher and an early pythagorean. She lived in 5th century B.C. She is the daughter of Pythagoreas and Theano. She was married to Mylo, an Olympic wrestler and athlete. Both of Myia's parents were very interested and involved in philosophy. You may have heard of the Pythagoreans (a well known group of philosophers) or the Pythagorean Theorem. In this case one could easily say that philosophy runs in the family.[1]

Myia's philosophical work is very interesting. Myia focused a lot of her work on the care of newborn children. I'm sure after reading this that you will be very impressed with the intelligence of her teachings. Myia wrote a letter to Phyllis. Phyllis had just had a newborn child and in this letter Myia gave advice as to how to care for her new child. She wrote that the child needs moderation: neither too little or too much food, clothing, heat, cold, fresh air, etc... A newborn naturally needs moderation. She wrote that new mothers needed to choose a new nurse who is temperate also. The nurse must care greatly about the needs of the child. She should take care of herself so she is strong and well enough to care for the child. Myia said that she should not give in to her sleepiness when the child needs her. She should only rest when the newborn is resting. Only put the newborn to sleep when he or she is reasonably filled with milk. She also wrote that the air should have a balance of hot and cold and the house must not be too drafty.[2]

The early Pythagoreans consisted of women named Themistoclea, Theano, Arignote, Myia, and Damo. It is interesting to note that except for Themistoclea these women were all members of Pythagoreas' family. Myia (like other women philosophers of that time) felt the need to help and teach women things that they all must know in order to live a peaceful life. They felt it was their duty as women philosophers to help women create harmony within their households and life in general. After all, the first step to having a peaceful life is to have a peaceful home.[3]

1 Mary Ellen Waithe, "Early Pythagoreans: Themistoclea, Theano, Arignote, Myia, and Damo," A History of Women Philosophers: Volume 1/600 BC - 500 AD (Netherlands: Dordrecht/ Boston/ London, 1987),11.

2 Mary Ellen Waithe, "Early Pythagoreans: Themistoclea, Theano, Arignote, Myia, and Damo," A History of Women Philosophers: Volume 1/600 BC - 500 AD (Netherlands: Dordrecht/ Boston/ London, 1987),11.

3 Mary Ellen Waithe, "Early Pythagoreans: Themistoclea, Theano, Arignote, Myia, and Damo," A History of Women Philosophers: Volume 1/600 BC - 500 AD (Netherlands: Dordrecht/ Boston/ London, 1987),11. Go To Home Page