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The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/plutarchs-marriage-advice-section-21-an-iliad-of-evils/

 Section 22

When his friends rebuked the Roman for sending away his wise and wealthy and beautiful wife, he showed them his shoe. “No one knows where it pinches me.”

You see it is needful for a wife not to trust in her dowry, her pedigree or her beauty. Instead, she should use those things which a husband most takes hold of, conversation, conduct and companionship.  She must not render these things in a harsh or grievous manner, but rather with harmony, not with trouble but with kindness.

Physicians fear those fevers which come from uncertain and slight causes more than those which have apparent and powerful reasons.  Likewise it is secret,  slight and constant, even daily,  insults between wife and husband which disrupt and spoil their life together.

Greek Text and Translation Notes:

ὁ Ῥωμαῖος ὑπὸ τῶν φίλων νουθετούμενος ὅτι σώφρονα γυναῖκα καὶ πλουσίαν καὶ ὡραίαν ἀπεπέμψατο, τὸν κάλτιον αὐτοῖς προτείνας; ‘ καὶ γὰρ οὗτος’ ἔφη ‘ καλὸς ἰδεῖν καὶ καινός, ἀλλʼ οὐδεὶς οἶδεν ὅπου με θλίβει.’ δεῖ τοίνυν μὴ προικὶ μηδὲ γένει μηδὲ κάλλει τὴν γυναῖκα πιστεύειν, ἀλλʼ ἐν οἷς ἅπτεται μάλιστα τοῦ ἀνδρός, ὁμιλίᾳ τε καὶ ἤθει καὶ συμπεριφορᾷ, ταῦτα μὴ σκληρὰ μηδʼ ἀνιῶντα καθʼ ἡμέραν ἀλλʼ εὐάρμοστα καὶ ἄλυπα καὶ προσφιλῆ παρέχειν. ὥσπερ γὰρ οἱ ἰατροὶ τοὺς ἐξ αἰτιῶν ἀδήλων καὶ κατὰ μικρὸν συλλεγομένων γεννωμένους πυρετοὺς μᾶλλον δεδοίκασιν ἢ τοὺς ἐμφανεῖς καὶ μεγάλας προφάσεις ἔχοντας, οὕτω τὰ λανθάνοντα τοὺς πολλοὺς μικρὰ καὶ συνεχῆ καὶ καθημερινὰ προσκρούματα γυναικὸς καὶ ἀνδρὸς μᾶλλον διίστησι καὶ λυμαίνεται τὴν συμβίωσιν.


Plutarch, Moralia, ed. Gregorius N. Bernardakis, vol. 1 (Medford, MA: Teubner, 1888), 344–345.


ὁ Ῥωμαῖος

The Roman

ὑπὸ τῶν φίλων

by his friends

hypo + genitive: agency


being admonished

ὅτι σώφρονα γυναῖκα καὶ πλουσίαν καὶ ὡραίαν ἀπεπέμψατο.

that a prudent wife and rich and beautiful he sent away

The hoti introduces the reason for the rebuke.  The kai’s (ands) between each adjective do not sound as excessive in Greek as it does in Engligh.

τὸν κάλτιον αὐτοῖς προτείνας

his shoe to them he stretched out

The article marks position, “his shoe”.  He held out the shoe to his friends. The “shoe” is accusative as the object of the verb.


‘ καὶ γὰρ οὗτος’ ἔφη

And for thus he said

Translate, so doing, he said.

καλὸς ἰδεῖν καὶ καινός

beautiful to see and new

The infinitive is epexegetical: it modifies the adjective “beautiful” the shoe is beautiful to look at (Wallce, 607).

ἀλλʼ οὐδεὶς οἶδεν ὅπου με θλίβει

But no one knows where me it pinches.

The alla marks a contrast with the beauty.  Oiden is in the perfect tense. This demonstrates some of the difficulty in translating verbs: It does not mean “it was seen in the past but has present continuing effects”. It merely means it was seen.

δεῖ τοίνυν

Hence it is necessary

μὴ προικὶ μηδὲ γένει μηδὲ κάλλει τὴν γυναῖκα πιστεύειν,

not dowry nor family linage nor beauty for the wife to trust (in).

“The wife” is in the accusative since it is the subject of the infinitive.

ἀλλʼ ἐν οἷς ἅπτεται μάλιστα τοῦ ἀνδρός

rather in those [things which] the husband especially takes hold of

, ὁμιλίᾳ τε καὶ ἤθει καὶ συμπεριφορᾷ

Conversation and custom and companionship

ταῦτα μὴ σκληρὰ μηδʼ ἀνιῶντα

these things neither rough nor grievously

The participle functions as a straight adjective in parallel with sclera.

ἀνιάω [α^ν], S.Aj.266, etc.: 3sg. impf. ἠνία ib.273, Pl.Grg.502a: fut. ἀνιάσω [α_ς] X.An.3.3.19, Ep.

A.“ἀνιήσω” Hom.: aor. “ἠνία_σα” And.1.50, etc.; Dor. “ἀνία_σα” Theoc.2.23: pf. “ἠνία_κα” Hld.7.22:—Pass., “ἀνιῶμαι” Od.15.335, etc., Ion. 3pl. opt. “ἀνιῴατο” Hdt.4.130: 3pl. impf. “ἠνιῶντο” X.Cyr.6.3.10: fut. “ἀνιάσομαι” Ar.Fr.488.11, X.Mem.1.1.8 (ἀνιαθήσομαι only in Gal.Anim.Pass.9); Ep. 2sg. “ἀνιήσεαι” Thgn.991: aor. “ἠνιάθην” X.HG6.4.20; Ion. “-ήθην” Il.2.291: pf. “ἠνΐημαι” Mosch. 4.3: the aor. Med. ἀνιάσασθαι is v.l. for ἀνιᾶσθαι in Gal.UP6.16: (ἀνία. [ι_ always in Hom. and S.; ι^_ in Thgn. and late Poets; ι^ in Ar. l. c., etc.]:—commoner form of the Ep. ἀνιάζω, grieve, distress, c. acc. pers., “ἀνιήσει . . υἷας Ἀχαιῶν” Od.2.115, cf. 20.178; “μηδὲ φίλους ἀνία” Thgn.1032; “φίλους ἀνιῶν” S.Aj.266: c. acc. rei, ἀνιᾷ μου τὰ ῶ<*>τα Pl.Grg.485b: c. dupl. acc., “ὁ δρῶν σ᾽ ἀνιᾷ τὰς φρένας” S.Ant.319: c. acc. pers. et neut. Adj., τί ταῦτ᾽ ἀνιᾷς με; ib.550; παῦρ᾽ ἀνιάσας, πόλλ᾽ εὐφράνας (sc. ὑμᾶς) Ar.Pax764; “ἠνίασά σε οὐδὲν πώποτε” And. 1.50:—Pass., to be grieved, distressed, c. dat. pers. vel rei, ἀνιᾶται παρεόντι he is vexed by one’s presence, Od.15.335; “ἀ. ὀρυμαγδῷ” 1.133; “σύν σοι . . παθόντι κακῶς ἀνιώμεθα” Thgn.655; “πάσχων ἀνιήσεαι” Id.991; “ἀ. ὑπομιμνῄσκων” Lys.13.43; “δαπανὼντα ἀνιᾶσθαι” X.Cyr.8.3.44; “περί τινος” Ar.Lys.593: c. neut. Adj., τοῦτ᾽ ἀνιῶμαι πάλαι I have long been vexed at tnis, S.Ph.906; πολλὰ μὲν αὐτοὺς ἀνιωμένους, πολλὰ δὲ ἀνιω<*>ντας τοὺς οἰκέτας X.Oec.3.2: abs., “οὐδ᾽ ἂν . . ἀνιῷτο” Thgn.1205: esp. in aor. part. Pass. “ἀνιηθείς” disheartened, Od.3.117, Il.2.291.


καθʼ ἡμέραν

            every day

ἀλλʼ εὐάρμοστα καὶ ἄλυπα καὶ προσφιλῆ παρέχειν

but good harmony and painless and friendly to offer/present

Here in the infinitive appears to function as an imperatival. The wife should present such.

ὥσπερ γὰρ οἱ ἰατροὶ

            For just as the physicians

Here the subject of the sentence “physicians” is separated by ten words from its consonant.

τοὺς ἐξ αἰτιῶν ἀδήλων καὶ κατὰ μικρὸν συλλεγομένων γεννωμένους πυρετοὺς

those fevers from causes and unclear and according to small/slight causes becoming

The accusative plural article is matched by the last word in the clause, fevers. It is in the accusative as the direct object of that the physician fears. The first participle is in the genitive and is bound to the preposition ex (thus genitive).  The second participle is in the accusative and modifies “fevers”.

μᾶλλον δεδοίκασιν

rather they fear

The verb is perfect.

ἢ τοὺς ἐμφανεῖς καὶ μεγάλας προφάσεις ἔχοντας

rather than those manifest and great (apparent) causes having

tous: those fevers

Prophaseis does not necessary refer to a false or deceitful cause.

The participle modifies “those [fevers]”.

οὕτω τὰ λανθάνοντα

Thus the hidden ones

Articular participle as a substantive.

τοὺς πολλοὺς μικρὰ

            those many small

καὶ συνεχῆ

and continuous

καὶ καθημερινὰ προσκρούματα

and daily knocks against

προσκρούματα is an alternate spelling of πρόσ-κρουσμα , ατος, τό,

A.that against which one strikes, obstacle, Arist.PA658a7 (pl.).

2. knock, Hippiatr.96.

II. stumblingblock, cause of offence or friction, D.54.3 (pl.), J.BJ1.26.3 (pl.); “πολιτικὰ π. τοῖς δημάρχοις πρὸς τοὺς ὑπάτους συνέστη” D.H.10.31, cf. 4.25; τὰ περὶ τὴν σιτοδοσίαν π. Id.7.45.—The form πρόσκρουμα (which is preferred by Thom.Mag.p.317 R., citing Aristid.1.455 J.) freq. occurs in the same Mss. as πρόσκρουσμα, cf. Plu.2.137c with 141b, al.

γυναικὸς καὶ ἀνδρὸς

of wife and of husband

μᾶλλον διίστησι καὶ λυμαίνεται τὴν συμβίωσιν.


Especially separates and harms their life together