Theano (//; Greek: Θεανώ; fl. 6th-century BC), or Theano of Crotone, is the name given to perhaps two Pythagorean philosophers. She has been called the pupil, daughter or wife of Pythagoras, although others made her the wife of Brontinus. Her place of birth and the identity of her father are just as uncertain, leading some authors to suggest that there was more than one person whose details have become merged (these are sometimes referred to as Theano I and Theano II). A few fragments and letters ascribed to her have survived which are of uncertain authorship.
Little is known about the life of Theano, and the ancient sources are confused. According to one tradition, she came from Crete and was the daughter of Pythonax, but others said she came from Crotone and was the daughter of Brontinus. She was said by many to have been the wife of Pythagoras, although another tradition made her the wife of Brontinus. Iamblichus, in an attempt to resolve the confusion, refers to Deino as the wife of Brontinus.
The children variously ascribed to Pythagoras and Theano included three daughters, Damo, Myia, and Arignote, and a son, Telauges. Suda writes that her children with Pythagoras were Telauges, Mnesarkhos, Myia and Arignote.
The writings attributed to Theano were: Pythagorean Apophthegms, Female Advice, On Virtue, On Piety, On Pythagoras, Philosophical Commentaries, and Letters. None of these writings have survived except a few fragments and letters of uncertain authorship. Attempts have been made to assign some of these fragments and letters to the original Theano (Theano I) and some to a later Theano (Theano II), but it is likely that they are all pseudonymous fictions of later writers, which attempt to apply Pythagorean philosophy to a woman's life. The surviving fragment of On Piety concerns a Pythagorean analogy between numbers and objects; the various surviving letters deal with domestic concerns: how a woman should bring up children, how she should treat servants, and how she should behave virtuously towards her husband.
Theano told Hippodamus of Thurium (may be Hippodamus of Miletus, who according to Aristotle planned the city of Thurium in 440 BC), that the treatise On Virtue contains the doctrine of the golden mean.
According to Thesleff, Stobaeus, and Heeren, Theano wrote in On Piety
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