Pythagoras might be known for his geometry equation, but author and emerita professor at Hunter College Sarah Pomeroy shed light on the philosopher’s push for gender equality.
Pomeroy’s visit to the University on Tuesday to speak about her new book, “Love Triangles and Pythagorean Women,” was hosted by the School of Art, Classical Studies program and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Women’s and Gender Studies program and Department of History.
Pomeroy defined and discussed the women of the cult culture that promoted equality within society who followed Pythagoras.
She described how Pythagoras taught his followers about the proper treatment of women, wives and their behavior toward their husbands and proper upbringing and nutrition of children.
She said when women did not accept the double standard of sexual conduct, Pythagoras told the husbands of their wives’ discomforts and their husbands remained faithful.
His ideas were revolutionary as they advocated for strict monogamy for both husbands and wives and contrasted with traditional Greek ideas that all sexual relations were impure, she said.
Thus, his advice ensured proper treatment for women in a society where sexual and domestic abuse were legal, Pomeroy said.
Pomeroy made connections to the social symbols of ancient Greece that still exist today.
“The siren lured men with her irresistible singing and Starbucks put her face on a logo with their irresistible coffee,” Pomeroy said.
Religious studies senior Stuart Langely said Pomeroy’s talk and his area of study played an important relation to each other.
“It’s important to understand language and culture because it’s so intertwined, and you need to understand religion to understand the culture we came out of it,” Langely said.
Associate professor of classical studies Emily Batinski said Pomeroy gave a new perspective to this issue.
“Normally women in antiquity were secluded, sequestered and kept apart from society, and she showed there were other cities and cultures that treated women differently,” Batinski said.
Pomeroy found this mirrored the statement when expressing her research findings.
“There were women authors in antiquity who represented their way of life from a women’s point of view,” Pomeroy said.
Pomeroy will host a seminar, “Love Triangles and Neo-Pythagorean Women” at 10:30 a.m. today in Room 220 in the Design Building.