The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/plutarchs-marriage-advice-section-28-be-gracious/
The woman who fears to laugh and sport with her husband – lest she seem too forward and unrestrained – is no different than a woman who won’t use oil on her head lest someone think she has used perfume, or a woman who won’t wash her face lest someone thing she has used rouge.
Now we know poets and speakers who flee everything popular, unfitting and ugly; who by their practice and economy and custom seek to lead and move those who love the art.
Likewise, it is best for the lady of the house, in order to do well, flee and avoid an excess of seduction and pageantry; rather, she shows her love of the art by fine morals and a graceful manner of life with her husband; in this good way she lives in pleasure with her husband.
If there is a wife who by nature is chaste and reserved – even without pleasure – it is best for her husband to think well of her. It’s like when Phokion replied to Antipater – when Antipater had commanded him to do something which was not good or fitting, “I am not able to be both your friend and your flatterer.” In the same way, a husband should understand his prudent and austere wife when she is not able to be both a wife and a party girl.
Greek Text & Notes:
ἡ φοβουμένη γελάσαι πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα καὶ παῖξαί τι , μὴ φανῇ θρασεῖα καὶ ἀκόλαστος, οὐδὲν διαφέρει τῆς ἵνα μὴ δοκῇ μυρίζεσθαι τὴν κεφαλὴν μηδʼ ἀλειφομένης, καὶ ἵνα μὴ φυκοῦσθαι τὸ πρόσωπον νιπτομένης;. ὁρῶμεν δὲ καὶ ποιητὰς καὶ ῥήτορας, ὅσοι φεύγουσι τὸ περὶ τὴν λέξιν ὀχλικὸν καὶ ἀνελεύθερον καὶ κακόζηλον, τοῖς πράγμασι καὶ ταῖς οἰκονομίαις καὶ τοῖς ἤθεσιν ἄγειν καὶ κινεῖν τὸν ἀκροατὴν φιλοτεχνοῦντας. διὸ δεῖ καὶ τὴν οἰκοδέσποιναν ὅτι πᾶν τὸ περιττὸν καὶ ἑταιρικὸν καὶ πανηγυρικόν, εὖ ποιοῦσα, φεύγει καὶ παραιτεῖται, μᾶλλον φιλοτεχνεῖν ἐν ταῖς ἠθικαῖς καὶ βιωτικαῖς χάρισι πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα, τῷ καλῷ μεθʼ ἡδονῆς συνεθίζουσαν αὐτόν; ἂν δʼ ἄρα φύσει τις αὐστηρὰ καὶ ἄκρατος γένηται καὶ ἀνήδυντος, εὐγνωμονεῖν δεῖ τὸν ἄνδρα, καὶ καθάπερ ὁ Φωκίων, τοῦ Ἀντιπάτρου πρᾶξιν αὐτῷ προστάττοντος ουʼ καλὴν οὐδὲ πρέπουσαν, εἶπεν ‘ουʼ δύνασαί μοι καὶ φίλῳ χρῆσθαι καὶ κόλακι,’ οὕτω λογίζεσθαι περὶ τῆς σώφρονος καὶ αὐστηρᾶς γυναικὸς ‘ουʼ δύναμαι αὐτῇ καὶ ὡς γαμετῇ καὶ ὡς ἑταίρᾳ συνεῖναι’
ἡ φοβουμένη γελάσαι πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα καὶ παῖξαί
The woman who fears to laugh with her husband or to play
ἡ φοβουμένη: A substantive participle: The action defines the person: the fearing woman.
The infinitives to laugh and to play/jest are the objects of her fear.
πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα: Pros + accusative: an intensive “with”. There is a face to face quality, an intimacy.
μὴ φανῇ θρασεῖα καὶ ἀκόλαστος
lest she should be seen as too bold or wanton
μὴ φανῇ: the negated subjunctive: lest she should be manifested as
Thraseia means courage, but here it is plainly negative: thus, overly bold.
Akolastos: licentious, intemperate – a drunken slut is the feeling.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1 (ESV)
οὐδὲν διαφέρει τῆς ἵνα μὴ δοκῇ μυρίζεσθαι τὴν κεφαλὴν μηδʼ ἀλειφομένης
does not differ from one who does not anoint her head lest she should seem to perfume it
The head: the article marks possession and function
The subject is the + participle: τῆς ἀλειφομένης, the one anointing.
καὶ ἵνα μὴ φυκοῦσθαι τὸ πρόσωπον νιπτομένης
and in order to not appear to rouge her face does not wash
ὁρῶμεν δὲ καὶ ποιητὰς καὶ ῥήτορας,
Now we see both poets and public speakers
ὅσοι φεύγουσι τὸ περὶ τὴν λέξιν ὀχλικὸν καὶ ἀνελεύθερον καὶ κακόζηλον
such as flee the using merely popular words or words not fit for a free man or words in a poor style
ὅσοι φεύγουσι: A substantive: such as are fleeing – it’s a fairly strong word.
ὀχλικὸν: popular; hence, vulgar. This is a hard concept in the present period.
τοῖς πράγμασι καὶ ταῖς οἰκονομίαις καὶ τοῖς ἤθεσιν
by conduct and management and customs
Dative of means
ἄγειν καὶ κινεῖν τὸν ἀκροατὴν φιλοτεχνοῦντας
to marvel and move the hearer loving the art
διὸ δεῖ καὶ τὴν οἰκοδέσποιναν
Therefore it is also necessary for the lady of the house
ὅτι πᾶν τὸ περιττὸν καὶ ἑταιρικὸν καὶ πανηγυρικόν
that all excess of licentiousness and pageantry
and hetaira is a courtesan. In the masculine it refers to a “mate” a friend.
εὖ ποιοῦσα, φεύγει καὶ παραιτεῖται
good doing, she flees and avoids (walks-around)
μᾶλλον φιλοτεχνεῖν ἐν ταῖς ἠθικαῖς καὶ βιωτικαῖς χάρισι πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα
rather to artfully display her moral qualities and graceful manner of life with her husband
τῷ καλῷ μεθʼ ἡδονῆς συνεθίζουσαν αὐτόν
the best with pleasure to become accustomed with him
ἂν δʼ ἄρα φύσει τις αὐστηρὰ καὶ ἄκρατος γένηται καὶ ἀνήδυντος
yet if there is [a woman] who by nature is austere and unmixed becomes and without pleasure
ἄκρατος γένηται καὶ ἀνήδυντος: to be unmixed gives the idea of rigidity; Babbitt has “so reserved”.
εὐγνωμονεῖν δεῖ τὸν ἄνδρα
it is a good idea (good thinking) for the husband
καὶ καθάπερ ὁ Φωκίων,
Just as the Phokion
τοῦ Ἀντιπάτρου πρᾶξιν αὐτῷ προστάττοντος ουʼ καλὴν οὐδὲ πρέπουσαν
of Antipater a practice him (Phokion) commanding which was not good or fitting
εἶπεν ‘ουʼ δύνασαί μοι καὶ φίλῳ χρῆσθαι καὶ κόλακι
Said I am not able (it is not possible for me) both a friend to be (in the way I treat you) nd a flatterer
οὕτω λογίζεσθαι περὶ τῆς σώφρονος καὶ αὐστηρᾶς γυναικὸς
thus to reckon concerning the prudence of a chaste wife
αὐστηρᾶς: austere: but here in a positive manner. Babbitt translates it “chaste”.
ουʼ δύναμαι αὐτῇ καὶ ὡς γαμετῇ καὶ ὡς ἑταίρᾳ συνεῖναι’
she is not able to be both a wife and a party girl.