conjugalia praecepta, Greek Translation, Magic, nature, Olympias, Philip, Plutarch, Plutarch Moralia, Plutarch translation, Plutarch's Marriage Advice, Prudent, struggle
The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/plutarchs-marriage-advice-section-22-constant-struggle/
Now King Philip fell passionately for a Thessalian woman – apparently due to her witchcraft. So Olympias made haste to bring this woman under her power. But when the woman came into sight and Olympias saw her beautiful appearance and then discoursed with her, Olympias commanded, “Make the slanderers leave! This woman’s magic is all in herself.”
So a lawfully wedded wife will become an irresistible thing when she has all things in herself, her dowry and birth and magic – even the belt of magic — for character and virtue will win a husband’s love.
ὁ βασιλεὺς Φίλιππος ἤρα Θεσσαλῆς γυναικὸς αἰτίαν ἐχούσης καταφαρμακεύειν αὐτόν. ἐσπούδασεν οὖν ἡ Ὀλυμπιὰς λαβεῖν τὴν ἄνθρωπον ὑποχείριον. ὡς δʼ εἰς ὄψιν ἐλθοῦσα τὸ τʼ εἶδος εὐπρεπὴς ἐφάνη καὶ διελέχθη πρὸς αὐτὴν οὐκ ἀγεννῶς οὐδʼ ἀσυνέτως, ‘χαιρέτωσαν’ εἶπεν ἡ Ὀλυμπιάς ‘αἱ διαβολαί σὺ γὰρ ἐν σεαυτῇ τὰ φάρμακα ἔχεις.’ ἄμαχον οὖν τι γίγνεται πρᾶγμα γαμετὴ γυνὴ καὶ νόμιμος, ἂν ἐν αὑτῇ πάντα θεμένη, καὶ προῖκα καὶ γένος καὶ φάρμακα καὶ τὸν κεστὸν αὐτόν, ἤθει καὶ ἀρετῇ κατεργάσηται τὴν εὔνοιαν.
ὁ βασιλεὺς Φίλιππος ἤρα Θεσσαλῆς γυναικὸς
Philip the king passionately desired a Thessalian woman
ὁ βασιλεὺς Φίλιππος
The King, Philip: apposition.
ἤρα: 3 person, singular, imperfect, erao: he loved. While the verb does not necessarily require a sexual element, the fact that Philip was apparently bewitched indicates a peculiar degree of passion.
Θεσσαλῆς γυναικὸς: A genitive of direct object. See, e.g., Herodotus 9.108, “τότε δὴ ἐν τῇσι Σάρδισι ἐὼν ἄρα ἤρα τῆς Μασίστεω γυναικός” – Being then at Sardis he became enamored of Masistes’ wife. One could write that Philip was enamored of a Thessalian woman, but it would sound dated and overly formal.
αἰτίαν ἐχούσης καταφαρμακεύειν αὐτόν
because she bewitched him.
αἰτίαν: on the charge, because, reason.
ἐχούσης καταφαρμακεύειν: present participle with a present infinitive. The infinitive shows either purpose or result.
ἐσπούδασεν οὖν ἡ Ὀλυμπιὰς λαβεῖν τὴν ἄνθρωπον ὑποχείριον
Therefore, Olympias hastened to that woman under her hand.
ἐσπούδασεν οὖν: Therefore, she made haste
ἡ Ὀλυμπιὰς: The Olympias, Philip’s wife. The Wikipedia page reads:
Their marriage was very stormy, Philip’s volatility and Olympias’ jealous temper had led to a growing estrangement. Things got even worse in 337 BC, when Philip married to a noble Macedonian woman, Cleopatra, who was niece of Attalus and after the marriage changed her name to Eurydice. This caused great tensions between Philip, Olympias and Alexander. Olympias went into voluntary exile in Epirus, staying at the Molossian court of her brother Alexander I who was the king at the time, along with her son Alexander who sided with her.
λαβεῖν: to receive, obtain. The infinitive marks the purpose of her haste.
τὴν ἄνθρωπον: The female (as marked by the article) human being (anthropos is often translated “man”. Here is it is plain that is a human being, not a male that is in view).
ὡς δʼ εἰς ὄψιν ἐλθοῦσα
Yet as [she] came to be seen [by Olympias]
τὸ τʼ εἶδος εὐπρεπὴς ἐφάνη
who saw her beautiful appearance
καὶ διελέχθη πρὸς αὐτὴν
and she discoursed her
οὐκ ἀγεννῶς οὐδʼ ἀσυνέτως
She was not poorly bred nor senseless
‘χαιρέτωσαν’ εἶπεν ἡ Ὀλυμπιάς
Let them leave, said Olympias
Chairo can mean “greeting” but it can also be used as a farewell. As an imperative it means “leave” or “let them leave”.
αἱ διαβολαί σὺ γὰρ ἐν σεαυτῇ τὰ φάρμακα ἔχεις.
The slanderers for in herself the magic she has
Diablos: slander, English: Devil. “Let the devils leave!”
’ ἄμαχον οὖν τι γίγνεται πρᾶγμα γαμετὴ γυνὴ καὶ νόμιμος
An irresistible thing she becomes a lawfully wedded wife
Amachon means without battle. Here Plutarch uses it to mean something that wins without a fight. Babbitt rightfully translates this “irresistible”.
ἂν ἐν αὑτῇ πάντα θεμένη,
if in herself all things lie
An marks the conditional sentence, with the subjective participle of tithemi.
καὶ προῖκα καὶ γένος καὶ φάρμακα καὶ τὸν κεστὸν αὐτόν
and dowry and birth and magic even the belt of charms itself.
Babbitt has “magic girdle” for kestos – which does not convey any lovely image in contemporary English.
αὐτόν: emphatic: itself.
ἤθει καὶ ἀρετῇ κατεργάσηται τὴν εὔνοιαν
character and virtue will obtain [his] affection
The article apparently marks a possessive: The benevolence/affection would be the affection of the husband.
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