, , , , , , , ,

The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/plutarchs-marriage-advice-section-41-be-careful-where-you-sow/

While Gorgias the orator was reading a speech on unity, Melanthius quipped, “This fellows tells us about unity, when he can’t convince even his household of three (himself, his wife and his female slave) to have unity.” For it seems that a matter arose involving Gorgias’ desire and his wife’s jealousy for that slave girl.

So, it is best for a man’s own house to be in harmony if he seeks to bring harmony to the city and market and friends.

It seems that the crowd forgets the wrongs of a woman before they forget the wrongs done to a woman.


Greek Text and Notes:

This story brings to mind:

4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 1 Timothy 3:4–5 (ESV)


Γοργίου τοῦ ῥήτορος ἀναγνόντος ἐν Ὀλυμπίᾳ λόγον περὶ ὁμονοίας τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ὁ Μελάνθιος ‘ οὗτος ἡμῖν’ ἔφη ‘συμβουλεύει περὶ ὁμονοίας, ὃς αὑτὸν καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὴν θεράπαιναν ἰδίᾳ τρεῖς ὄντας ὁμονοεῖν ουʼ πέπεικεν’ ἦν γὰρ ὡς ἔοικέ τις ἔρως τοῦ Γοργίου καὶ ζηλοτυπία τῆς γυναικὸς πρὸς τὸ θεραπαινίδιον. εὖ τοίνυν ἡρμοσμένον τὸν οἶκον εἶναι δεῖ τῷ μέλλοντι ἁρμόζεσθαι πόλιν καὶ ἀγορὰν καὶ φίλους· μᾶλλον γὰρ ἔοικε τὰ τῶν γυναικῶν ἢ τὰ πρὸς γυναῖκας ἁμαρτήματα λανθάνειν τοὺς πολλούς.


Γοργίου τοῦ ῥήτορος

Of Gorgias the rhetorician/orator

Melanthius speaks with reference to Gorgias.


ἀναγνόντος ἐν Ὀλυμπίᾳ λόγον

When reading during the Olympics a word/speech

The participle denotes time in relation to the finite verb, “said”.

Logos is whatever he happened to be reading.

περὶ ὁμονοίας

concerning unity/like mindedness

Peri + genitive: concerning.

τοῖς Ἕλλησιν

To the Greeks

Dative of indirect object.

ὁ Μελάνθιος ‘ οὗτος ἡμῖν’ ἔφη

Melanthius, “This to us”, he said

Phemi: imperfect


συμβουλεύει περὶ ὁμονοίας

counsels/gives direction concerning unity

ὃς αὑτὸν καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὴν θεράπαιναν ἰδίᾳ τρεῖς ὄντας ὁμονοεῖν ουʼ πέπεικεν’

He to himself and his wife and his servant his own tree being unity not he has persuaded

ὃς αὑτὸν: he to himself

The article before wife and servant indicates possession.

The infinitive completes the concept of the finite verb: he has persuaded.

ἦν γὰρ ὡς ἔοικέ

For there was it seems


τις ἔρως τοῦ Γοργίου

A certain erotic desire of Gergoias

One could translate the eros as “love”; yet, the emphasis is on sexual desire, not friendship.


 καὶ ζηλοτυπία τῆς γυναικὸς

and jealousy of his wife


πρὸς τὸ θεραπαινίδιον

respecting a slave girl

The ion ending is diminutive, and thus somewhat endearing.

Pros + accusative: the slave girl is the object of the desire & jealousy.

 εὖ τοίνυν ἡρμοσμένον τὸν οἶκον εἶναι

Well, thus, being made harmonious the house to be

Τοίνυν: The particle introduces an inference. If a man is going to care for the state, he had best start with his own house.

δεῖ τῷ μέλλοντι ἁρμόζεσθαι πόλιν καὶ ἀγορὰν καὶ φίλους·

It is necessary especially to the one to harmonize city and market and friend.

The infinitive completes “it is necessary … to harmonize”.

μᾶλλον γὰρ ἔοικε τὰ τῶν γυναικῶν

For especially it seems those [wrongs] of a woman

Wrongs/sins which a woman commits: genitive of means.


ἢ τὰ πρὸς γυναῖκας ἁμαρτήματα

rather than those against a woman wrongs

Those sins/wrongs

Pros-gunaikas: against a woman.

He is contrasting sins against and sins committed by a woman.

λανθάνειν τοὺς πολλούς

To be forgotten the many

The accusative: the many is the subject of the infinitive: to forget.