In recent years, Hobbes’s views about women have been the subject of increasing discussion and dispute. In his own life, Hobbes moved in an exclusively masculine intellectual milieu, and the same goes, more or less, for what is known of his social contacts. Hobbes’s friend John Aubrey famously remarked in his Brief Lives that Hobbes was ‘not a woman hater’ (Aubrey 1898, I, 390), an observation which might be taken to repudiate any imputation of misogyny, or again of homosexuality. Hobbes of course never married, and rumours that he may have fathered an illegitimate daughter have never been substantiated.1 At any rate, nothing in Hobbes’s biography gives colour to the notion that his views on women would have differed in any significant respect from the patriarchal opinions held by his contemporaries. Very few of the parties to his surviving Briefwechsel were female, an exception being Margaret Cavendish, Marchioness of Newcastle.2 However, even here the contact between Hobbes and the Marchioness was limited: according to Margaret herself, she and Hobbes never exchanged more than 20 words (Martinich 1999, 317).