conjugalia praecepta, Greek Translation, idolatry, nature, New Testament Background, Plutarch, Plutarch Moralia, Plutarch translation, Plutarch's Marriage Advice, prenuptial agreement, property, Wealth
The previous post in this series is found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/plutarchs-marriage-advice/
Plutarch, Section 20:
This section sounds quite romantic: Each of the partners to the marriage must give themselves up completely to the other so that there is no longer mine or yours. And yet, when we reach the punch line we learn that Plutarch means that a wife should give up her property to her husband and no longer consider her wealth – even if it is greater than the husband’s before marriage – as hers.
Plato says that in a prosperous and blessed city, people really hear “mine” or “not mine”—especially when it comes to those things most needful for the good of the whole. Even more so should such expressed be refused in the state of marriage.
It’s like when physicians say that a wound to the left side is felt on the right. It is beautiful when a wife sympathizes with her husband, and a husband with his wife.
Or, it’s like this: When the strands of a rope are interwoven, each strand gains strength from the other. When goodwill is given one-to-another the whole is preserved through the union.
Nature unites our bodies in order that from each a measure is received and mixed and something of fellowship is received by both, so that neither can limit or distinguish oneself or the other.
This is most especially important when it comes to property in marriage: there should be just one common fund, poured together and deeply intertwined so that one can longer tell what is mine and what is yours.
It’s like when we called wine mixed with water “wine” – even if it is mostly water: it is very important to call the entire household property the “husband’s” even if his wife contributed the greater share.
Greek Text and Translation Notes:
ὁ Πλάτων φησὶν εὐδαίμονα καὶ μακαρίαν εἶναι πόλιν, ἐνh ‘τὸ ἐμὸν καὶ τὸ οὐκ ἐμὸν’ ἣκιστα φθεγγομένων ἀκούουσι διὰ τὸ κοινοῖς ὡς ἔνι μάλιστα χρῆσθαι τοῖς ἀξίοις σπουδῆς τοὺς πολίτας, πολὺ δὲ μᾶλλον ἐκ γάμου δεῖ τὴν τοιαύτην φωνὴν ἀνῃρῆσθαι. πλὴν ὥσπερ οἱ ἰατροὶ λέγουσι τὰς τῶν εὐωνύμων πληγὰς τὴν αἴσθησιν ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς ἀναφέρειν, οὕτω τὴν γυναῖκα τοῖς τοῦ ἀνδρὸς συμπαθεῖν καλὸν καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα τοῖς τῆς γυναικός, ἵνʼ ὥσπερ οἱ δεσμοὶ κατὰ τὴν ἐπάλλαξιν ἰσχὺν διʼ ἀλλήλων λαμβάνουσιν, οὕτως ἑκατέρου τὴν εὔνοιαν ἀντίστροφον ἀποδιδόντος ἡ κοινωνία σῴζηται διʼ ἀμφοῖν. καὶ γὰρ ἡ φύσις μίγνυσι διὰ τῶν σωμάτων τῶν ἡμᾶς, ἵνʼ ἐξ ἑκατέρων μέρος λαβοῦσα καὶ συγχέασα κοινὸν ἀμφοτέροις ἀποδῷ τὸ γεννώμενον, ὥστε μηδέτερον διορίσαι μηδὲ διακρῖναι τὸ ἴδιον ἢ τὸ ἀλλότριον. τοιαύτη τοίνυν καὶ χρημάτων κοινωνία προσήκει μάλιστα τοῖς γαμοῦσιν εἰς μίαν οὐσίαν πάντα καταχεαμένοις καὶ ἀναμίξασι μὴ τὸ μέρος ἴδιον καὶ τὸ μέρος ἀλλότριου ἀλλὰ πᾶν ἴδιον ἡγεῖσθαι καὶ μηδὲν ἀλλότριον. ὥσπερ γὰρ τὸ κρᾶμα καίτοι ὕδατος μετέχον πλείονος οἶνον καλοῦμεν, οὕτω τὴν οὐσίαν δεῖ καὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦ ἀνδρὸς λέγεσθαι, κἂν ἡ γυνὴ πλείονα συμβάλληται.
ὁ Πλάτων φησὶν
The article refers to THE Plato. Wallace calls this the “Well-Known, Celebrity” use of the article (225).
εὐδαίμονα καὶ μακαρίαν
Fortunate/prosperous and blessing
is a city
A city which is happy and blessed (prosperous).
The infinitive indicates indirect discourse. Plutarch is summarizing what Plato had said.
In which (in which city)
‘τὸ ἐμὸν καὶ τὸ οὐκ ἐμὸν
The “mine” and the “not mine”
Here the article marks the quotation.
ἣκιστα φθεγγομένων ἀκούουσι
rarely being uttered they hear
They rarely hear it said.
The passive/middle participle provides the ground for what is heard: it must have been uttered for one to hear the word.
ἥκιστος , η, ον, prob., like foreg., Sup. of ἦκα,
A.least, “ὁ δ᾽ ἥκιστ᾽ ἔχων μακάρτατος” S.Fr.410.
2. c. inf., worst at . . , ἥ. θηρᾶν, κρυμῷ ὁμιλεῖν, Ael.NA9.1,4.31 (cf. foreg.).
II. mostly as Adv., ἥκιστα least, Hp.Acut.68, S.Ph.427, etc.; “οὐκ ἥ. ἀλλὰ μάλιστα” Hdt.4.170; ὡς ἥ. as little as possible, Th.1.91.
2. in reply to a question, not at all, S.OT623, E.HF299, etc.; “ἥκιστά γε” S.OT1386, Pl.Phdr.276c; “ἥ. πάντων” Ar.Pl.440.
3. οὐχ ἥ., freq. in litotes, above all, more than all, A.Ch.116; “οἵ τε ἄλλοι καὶ οὐχ ἥ. Ἀθηναῖοι” Pl.Prt.324c, cf. Tht. 177c, Smp.178a, al.; “ἐπὶ πολλῶν μέν . . , οὐχ ἥ. δὲ ἐν τοῖς παροῦσι πράγμασι” D.2.1, cf. Th.7.44, etc.: c. gen., “οὐχ ἥ. Ἀθηναίων σέ, ἀλλ᾽ ἐν τοῖς μάλιστα” Pl.Cri.52a.
Because the things
Dia + accusative: because.
τὸ: This is an accusative neuter plural and refers to all things of whatever sort covered by the following clause.
κοινοῖς ὡς ἔνι
common [dative plural] as one [dative singular]
The verb is implied: those common things should be
μάλιστα χρῆσθαι τοῖς ἀξίοις σπουδῆς τοὺς πολίτας
especially to use those most worthy (needful) for the city
πολὺ δὲ μᾶλλον
Now much more
That is out of marriage: certain things must be taken out of the marriage (here denied, forbidden)
δεῖ τὴν τοιαύτην φωνὴν ἀνῃρῆσθαι
it is necessary that such things spoken be denied
δεῖ It is necessary – completed in thought by the infinitive ἀνῃρῆσθαι.
τὴν τοιαύτην φωνὴν that such like things vocalized.
πλὴν ὥσπερ οἱ ἰατροὶ λέγουσι
Nevertheless just as physicians they say
τὰς τῶν εὐωνύμων πληγὰς
The blows/wounds of the left side
The materials between the article and the substantive constitute modifiers. The genitive is used to indicate the place of the pain.
τὴν αἴσθησιν ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς ἀναφέρειν
The sensation (recognition of the pain) on the right side is borne up.
Anapherein is sometimes used as a technical term to “sacrifice” in the sense of bringing something up to the altar. This is a good example of how one could easily misuse a lexicon. I don’t think Plutarch means the right side is sacrificed when the left side is struck.
οὕτω τὴν γυναῖκα τοῖς τοῦ ἀνδρὸς συμπαθεῖν καλὸν
Even so the wives to their husbands to sympathize is beautiful
The wives is accusative as the subject of the infinitive.
The articular “husbands” is possessive (an article is used rather than a possessive pronoun).
καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα τοῖς τῆς γυναικός
Likewise husband to their own wives
ἵνʼ ὥσπερ οἱ δεσμοὶ
in order that just as the ropes
Desmos means anything for tying or binding together. It frequently refers to chains. Here, the reference is to ropes.
The complex transition language: hina hosper sets up the comparison.
κατὰ τὴν ἐπάλλαξιν ἰσχὺν διʼ ἀλλήλων λαμβάνουσιν
according to (by means of) the interweaving they strength through one-another they receive
οὕτως ἑκατέρου τὴν εὔνοιαν ἀντίστροφον ἀποδιδόντος
Thus from the two the goodwill for the other giving
ἡ κοινωνία σῴζηται διʼ ἀμφοῖν
The common is saved/preserved through both
καὶ γὰρ ἡ φύσις μίγνυσι διὰ τῶν σωμάτων τῶν ἡμᾶς
For Nature unites through the bodies of us [our bodies]
Dia + genitive seems to be spatial: through our bodies, rather than an agency or means.
τῶν σωμάτων τῶν ἡμᾶς: the article for the possessive, emphasized by the pronoun.
ἵνʼ ἐξ ἑκατέρων μέρος λαβοῦσα
In order that from both a measure they receive
καὶ συγχέασα κοινὸν ἀμφοτέροις ἀποδῷ τὸ γεννώμενον
and poured together in common the both may receive the same being (nature?)
συγχέασα: means to mix, confuse, pour together.
ὥστε μηδέτερον διορίσαι μηδὲ διακρῖναι τὸ ἴδιον ἢ τὸ ἀλλότριον
so that not two to limit nor distinguish his own (self? Nature) or the other’s (self/nature)
διορίσαι: to set a limit
διακρῖναι: to distinguish
The infinitives indicate the result of the mixing.
τοιαύτη τοίνυν καὶ χρημάτων κοινωνία προσήκει
Hence, such as this and of property in common is fitting
Προσήκει: this either refers to an approach or something suitable/fitting. Here is it suitable.
μάλιστα τοῖς γαμοῦσιν εἰς μίαν οὐσίαν
Especially for those married into one substance/wealth/fund
πάντα καταχεαμένοις καὶ ἀναμίξασι
everything being poured together and joined
καταχέω , pour down, mix together, run together
There is a bit of play on words here:
ἀνα-μίσγω , poet. and Ion. for
A.“ἀναμείγνυμι, ἀνέμισγε δὲσίτῳ φάρμακα” Od.10.235; “αἷμα δακρύοισι” Tim.Fr.7:—Med., have intercourse with, “τινί” Hdt.1.199:—Pass., “γέλως ἀνεμίσγετο λύπῃ” Call.Aet.Fr.7.3 P.
μὴ τὸ μέρος ἴδιον καὶ τὸ μέρος ἀλλότριου
Not a portion one’s own and not a portion of the other
ἀλλὰ πᾶν ἴδιον ἡγεῖσθαι καὶ μηδὲν ἀλλότριον
But all one’s own to be reckoned and nothing the other’s.
ἡγεῖσθαι is a pretty strong word. It means merely more than to think something to be so, but rather to think it so and live like that.
ὥσπερ γὰρ τὸ κρᾶμα
Just as the “mixed wine”
καίτοι ὕδατος μετέχον πλείονος οἶνον καλοῦμεν
even so water mixed more with “wine” we call
οὕτω τὴν οὐσίαν
Thus, the property
δεῖ καὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦ ἀνδρὸς λέγεσθαι
It is necessary the household of the husband to be called
κἂν ἡ γυνὴ πλείονα συμβάλληται
even if the wife the greatest part throws in (contributes)
 Plutarch, Moralia, ed. Gregorius N. Bernardakis, vol. 1 (Medford, MA: Teubner, 1888), 343–344.
Pingback: Plutarch’s Marriage Advice, Section 21: An Iliad of Evils | memoirandremains