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The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/protect-the-privacy-of-your-marriage-plutarchs-marriage-advice/

Section 15

Men who are not willing to see their wives eat, teach their wives to gorge themselves, alone.  It’s like this:  Those who won’t be cheerful around their wives, who won’t sport and laugh  with their wives are teaching their wives: go seek your pleasures, alone.


Greek Text and Translation Notes:

οἱ τὰς γυναῖκας μὴ ἡδέως βλέποντες ἐσθιούσας μετʼ αὐτῶν διδάσκουσιν μόνας γενομένας. οὕτως οἱ μὴ συνόντες ἱλαρῶς ταῖς γυναιξὶ μηδὲ παιδιᾶς κοινωνοῦντες αὐταῖς καὶ γέλωτος ἰδίας ἡδονὰς χωρὶς αὐτῶν ζητεῖν διδάσκουσιν


οἱ τὰς γυναῖκας μὴ ἡδέως βλέποντες ἐσθιούσας

Those who do not enjoy watching their wives eating

οἱ …. Βλέποντες:  Articular participle as the subject (nominative plural).  By delineating the men by a participle, Plutarch directs focus on the conduct – they watch/they look at/see.

τὰς γυναῖκας: Accusative plural: it is what the men may see: the women. In this context, their wives.  The article can mark possession: their wives.

μὴ ἡδέως:  Not enjoying. Adverb modifies the participle – even though it functions as a substantive, it is still a verb(al adjective).

ἐσθιούσας: eating. The participle modifies the accusative direct object (the women).  The participle is aorist: here the case is essentially unmarked.


μετʼ αὐτῶν: With them, that is, with the husbands.

Διδάσκουσιν: They teach/instruct

The husbands are teaching their wives.

ἐμπίπλασθαι:  to fill (themselves, middle) completely.

The infinitive is used to mark the result of the verb (to teach).

μόνας γενομένας: when being alone.  The clause modifies to fill themselves completely (it is when they fill themselves).

οὕτως οἱ μὴ συνόντες ἱλαρῶς ταῖς γυναιξὶ: Thus, those not being cheerful with their wives

οὕτως:  Plutarch draws the conclusion from his observation.  Plutarch throws the verb to the very end of the end of the sentence, thus drawing out the point here introduced.

οἱ μὴ συνόντες:  Those not being.

An articular participle for the substantive. The husbands again being characterized by their conduct.

ἱλαρῶς: adverb, cheerful.  Used in 2 Cor. 9:7 (God loves a cheerful giver. Please do not read the English “hilarious” back into the Greek hilaros, cheerful. God does not love the hilarious giver.  And the “dunamis” of God is not dynamite!)

ταῖς γυναιξὶ: the dative is locative/temporal: when with/ when in the company of their wives.

μηδὲ παιδιᾶς κοινωνοῦντες αὐταῖς καὶ γέλωτος: Neither sporting and laughing in their company

μηδὲ παιδιᾶς κοινωνοῦντες: this could be “neither childishly fellowshipping” but that would a grotesque abuse of a lexicon. Paidias: is a childish game, and thus silly, fun. Koinonountes: is a participle which describes the state of being of the men while there are being with their wives.  “Fellowship” is the Christian technical term for this word, but that is too formal for this space. It means merely commonness, and thus being with.

καὶ γέλωτος: And laughing, adjective.

ἰδίας ἡδονὰς χωρὶς αὐτῶν ζητεῖν διδάσκουσιν: their own pleasures without them to seek they teach.

ἰδίας ἡδονὰς: their own pleasures; the wives’ pleasures.

χωρὶς αὐτῶν: without them, without their husbands. Structurally echoes “with them” (that is husbands with wives).

ζητεῖν διδάσκουσιν: To seek they teach.

The husbands teach their wives to seek their own pleasures without their husbands. The infinitive is the result of the teaching.