In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, there is a bronze aquamanile, or water jug, dating from the late 14th or early 15th century. The aquamanile depicts a woman riding an older man, with the old man on all his fours and the woman sitting on his back. With her right hand, she is grabbing a lock of hair on the old man’s head. The woman in the sculpture is identified as Phyllis, and the old man is none other than the great Greek philosopher Aristotle. But how did Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers of Classical antiquity, end up dominated and ridden like a horse?
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An aquamanile in the form of Aristotle and Phyllis. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art