Xanthippe was an ancient Athenian. Her name means ‘blonde horse.’ She was Socrates’ wife, and is believed to have been much younger than him, perhaps by as much as forty years. She was a devoted wife and mother with Socrates to three sons. Xenophon's Symposium has Socrates agree that she is "the hardest to get along with of all the women there are," and that he chose her precisely for her argumentative spirit:
Socrates explains that the man who says "None of your soft-mouthed, docile animals for me, the horse for me to own must show some spirit" understands that if he can manage such an animal, it will be easy enough to deal with every other horse besides. Socrates endorses this view: "I wish to deal with human beings, to associate with man in general; hence my choice of wife. I know full well, if I can tolerate her spirit, I can with ease attach myself to every human being else."