The previous post in this series is found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/have-fun-with-your-wife-plutarchs-marriage-advice/
Now a mirror is worthless—even if it is covered in gold and gems—if it does not show a true likeness. In the same way, a rich wife yields no profit if she does not produce a manner of life like her husband and show harmony of manner.
If a mirror portrays a gracious man as sullen; or a vexed, peevish man as cheerful and laughing; the mirror’s broken, throw it away.
It’s the same with a wife. It doesn’t help; it’s …unfitting for her to be grumbly when her husband starts to laugh and sport; or, when her husband has a matter of serious contemplation she starts joking and laughing. For the first smacks of disgust and the second of disregard.
This is important: It’s like when mathematicians say that lines and surfaces do not move by themselves, but only move with some other body. In same way, a wife shouldn’t fall into a solo passion but rather she should have a common heart with her husband: whether he is serious or playful, contemplative or laughing.
Greek Text, Translation and Notes:
ὥσπερ ἐσόπτρου κατεσκευασμένου χρυσῷ καὶ λίθοις ὄφελος οὐδέν ἐστιν, ειʼ μὴ δείκνυσι τὴν μορφὴν ὁμοίαν, οὕτως οὐδὲ πλουσίας γαμετῆς ὄνησις, ειʼ μὴ παρέχει τὸν βίον ὅμοιον τῷ ἀνδρὶ καὶ σύμφωνον τὸ ἦθος. ειʼ χαίροντος μὲν εἰκόνα σκυθρωπὴν ἀποδίδωσι τὸ ἔσοπτρον, ἀχθομένου δὲ καὶ σκυθρωπάζοντας ἱλαρὰν καὶ σεσηρυῖαν, ἡμαρτημένον ἐστὶ καὶ φαῦλον. οὐκοῦν καὶ γυνὴ φαῦλος καὶ ἄκαιρος ἡ παίζειν μὲν ὡρμημένου καὶ φιλοφρονεῖσθαι τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἐσκυθρωπακυῖα, σπουδάζοντος δὲ παίζουσα καὶ γελῶσα· τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀηδίας, τὸ δʼ ὀλιγωρίας.
δεῖ δέ, ὥσπερ οἱ γεωμέτραι λέγουσι τὰς γραμμὰς καὶ τὰς ἐπιφανείας ουʼ κινεῖσθαι καθʼ ἑαυτὰς ἀλλὰ συγκινεῖσθαι τοῖς σώμασιν, οὕτω τὴν γυναῖκα μηδὲν ἴδιον πάθος ἔχειν, ἀλλὰ κοινωνεῖν τῷ ἀνδρὶ καὶ σπουδῆς καὶ παιδιᾶς καὶ συννοίας καὶ γέλωτος.
This anticipates a comparison.
a mirror: Why the genitive? source. From a mirror
having been arranged. Perfect passive participle
χρυσῷ καὶ λίθοις
by gold and by (precious) stones
ὄφελος οὐδέν ἐστιν,
worth nothing is
ειʼ μὴ δείκνυσι
If it doesn’t show
τὴν μορφὴν ὁμοίαν
the true likeness
morphe here cannot merely merely outward likeness, in that the word homoios which comes immediately afterward means “of the same nature, like, similar”. It is thus a representation – a morphe – is in the actual likeness (homoios) of the husband. This idea is supported by the verb deiknumi, which BDAG glosses as “to exhibit something that can be apprehended by one or more of the senses”.
This word has significant affection upon NT Christology due to its use in Philippians 2:6, “Who, though he was in the form of God”.
οὕτως οὐδὲ πλουσίας γαμετῆς ὄνησις,
thus neither a rich wife (genitive) profit/delight/useful
ειʼ μὴ παρέχει τὸν βίον ὅμοιον τῷ ἀνδρὶ
if not show the life likeness of her husband
1050 βίος (bios), ου (ou), ὁ (ho): n.masc.; ≡ Str 979; TDNT 2.832—1. LN 41.18 daily life, existence day to day (Lk 8:14; 1Ti 2:2; 2Ti 2:4; 1Jn 2:16+; Mk 4:19 v.r. NA26; 1Pe 4:3 v.r. NA26); 2. LN 57.18 possessions, property, what one lives on (Mk 12:44; Lk 8:43; 15:12, 30; 21:4; 1Jn 2:16, for another interp of this verse, see prior; 3:17+)
James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
The dative is used to describe the husband, rather than the genitive: τῷ ἀνδρὶ. One may expect the genitive of relationship in this circumstance. However, the dative is more fitting because it underscores the conduct at issue; the article supplies the possessive nuance, “her husband”.
καὶ σύμφωνον τὸ ἦθος
and harmonious the (her) habit
ειʼ χαίροντος μὲν εἰκόνα σκυθρωπὴν ἀποδίδωσι τὸ ἔσοπτρον,
if the mirror returns the image of a gracious man as peevish
σκυθρωπὴν: Plutarch seems to have created this adjective (there is only one other use of it in the Perseus database as found in De Supersitione, section 4, “ὁ δὲ τὴν τῶν θεῶν ἀρχὴν ὡς τυραννίδα φοβούμενος σκυθρωπὴν καὶ ἀπαραίτητον ποῖ μεταστῇ ποῖ φύγῃ,”
The verb skuthrazo and skuthropazo mean to be peevish, angry, sullen.
ἀχθομένου δὲ καὶ σκυθρωπάζοντας ἱλαρὰν καὶ σεσηρυῖαν
or a vexed, sullen man as cheerful and laughing
achthomai: to be vexed, afflicted.
Κυθρωπάζοντας, the participle is an adjective modifying the implied subject – a man who is cheerful.
σεσηρυῖαν: another participle modifying the implied subject.
σαίρω (A), only found in pf. with pres. sense σέσηρα,
A.part the lips and show the closed teeth (cf. Gal.18(2).597), grin, “σέσηρεν ἄν τε βούλητ᾽ ἄν τε μή” Alex.98.26; “Σάτυροι ἀπὸ τοῦ σεσηρέναι” Ael.VH3.40; but mostly in part., ἄπλητον σεσα^ρυῖα (Ep. for σεσηρυῖα) Hes.Sc.268; “οἷον σεσηρὼς ἐξαπατήσειν μ᾽ οἴεται” Ar.V.901; “ἠγριωμένους ἐπ᾽ ἀλλήλοισι καὶ σεσηρότας” Id.Pax620; “ς. καὶ γελῶν” Com.Adesp.606; γελῶντα καὶ ς. Plu.2.223c; σιμὰ ς. AP5.178 (Mel.); but also without any such bad sense, εἶπε σεσα_ρὼς ὄμματι μειδιόωντι smiling, Theoc. 7.19 (cf. προσσαίρω).
2. transferred to grinning laughter, “σεσηρόσι μειδιήμασι” Hp.Gland.12; “σεσηρότι γέλωτι” Luc.Am.13: the neut. is used in Adv. sense, “σεσα_ρὸς γελᾶν” Theoc.20.14; σεσηρὸς αἰκάλλειν, of a fox, Babr.50.14, cf. Ps.-Luc.Philopatr.26.
3. of a wound or sore, ἕλκος σεσηρὸς καὶ ἐκπεπλιγμένον gaping, Hp.Fract.32, cf. Aret.CA2.2; also ς. χάσμημα, of a metrical hiatus, Eust.840.43.
ἡμαρτημένον ἐστὶ καὶ φαῦλον.
it has fallen short and is a failure/bad.
Hamartano is a verb which means to fall short. It is translated in the NT as “sin”. This is an important thing for a NT student to remember: We must be careful not to translate our technical meaning of the words back into the first reading of the text. Plutarch obviously has no concept of sin before God in this context.
Phaulos: means something base, bad, morally degraded.
οὐκοῦν καὶ γυνὴ φαῦλος καὶ ἄκαιρος
Thus also a wife is a failure and untimely (unfit)
οὐκοῦν: Thus, therefore,
ἡ παίζειν μὲν ὡρμημένου καὶ φιλοφρονεῖσθαι τοῦ ἀνδρὸς
or [when] her husband desires to play and to be cheerful
τοῦ ἀνδρὸς: article as a possessive pronoun.
The participle ὡρμημένου describes the husband’s general status: he is desiring, starting in motion. The two infinitives supply the content of that desire: to play and be cheerful
she is gloomy
σπουδάζοντος δὲ παίζουσα καὶ γελῶσα·
or when he is serious, she is joking and laughing
τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀηδίας
For the one is displeasure
The first response of the wife, being sullen when he is cheerful.
τὸ δʼ ὀλιγωρίας
the other contempt
But it is necessary
The de draws a coordination with what preceeds.
ὥσπερ οἱ γεωμέτραι λέγουσι τὰς γραμμὰς
Just as the geometers they say (concerning) lines
Hosper sets up yet another comparison.
Tas grammas: the accusative of respect: they say with respect to the lines.
καὶ τὰς ἐπιφανείας
and the surfaces.
Epiphany typically refers to an appearance. The LSJ also has the meaning of the visible surface of a body.
ουʼ κινεῖσθαι καθʼ ἑαυτὰς
do not move according to (by) themselves
The infinitive indicates the substance of what the geometers say; the infinitive of indirect discourse.
ἀλλὰ συγκινεῖσθαι τοῖς σώμασιν,
But they move together with an accompanying body
Body just means some tangible object.
οὕτω τὴν γυναῖκα μηδὲν ἴδιον πάθος ἔχειν,
Neither should the wife have her own passions
Plutarch here again seeks a harmony in the marriage; albeit in favour of the husband.
ἀλλὰ κοινωνεῖν τῷ ἀνδρὶ
But rather have a fellowship to her husband (in)
καὶ σπουδῆς καὶ παιδιᾶς καὶ συννοίας καὶ γέλωτος
Seriousness and play and concerns and laughter.