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Aspa'sia

2. A Phocaean, daughter of Hermotimus, was carried away from her country to the seraglio of Cyrus the Younger, who so admired, not her beauty only, but her superior qualities of mind and character, that he made her his favourite wife, giving her the name of "wise." She is said to have frequently aided him with her advice, the adoption of which he never regretted; and they lived together with great mutual affection till the death of the prince at the battle of Cunaxa. She then fell into the hands of Artaxerxes, and became his wife. (Plut. Per. 24, Artax. 26; Ael. V. H. xii. l ; Xen. Anab. 1.10.2.) When Dareius, son of Artaxerxes, was appointed successor to the throne, he asked his father to surrender Aspasia to him. The request, it seems, could not be refused, as coming from the king elect; Artaxerxes, therefore, gave her up, on finding that she herself consented to the transfer; but he soon after took her away again, and made her priestess of a temple at Ecbatana, where strict celibacy was requisite; and this gave rise to that conspiracy of Dareius against his father, which was detected, and cost him his life. (Plut. Art. 27-29; Just. 10.2.) Her name is said to have been "Milto," till Cyrus called her "Aspasia " after the mistress of Pericles (Plut. Per. 24; Athen. 13.576d.); but "Milto " itself seems to have been a name expressive of the beauty of her complexion. (Ael V. N. xii. l, where we are favoured with a minute description of her appearance.)

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