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a most reasonable way of thinking, but utterly opposed to our modern notions of purity. We find, too, even in later days, such men as Demosthenes speaking about women in a tone to us very offensive. We must, therefore, insist upon these limitations. But there was, nevertheless, a distinct advance upon older days. This I have so far attributed to the teaching of the Socratic philosophers.
I fear there was another cause more powerful still, because it brought out the existing want of education more practically. I allude to the rise of a class of educated and refined èralpai-a class widely dif ferent from that legalised by Solon, and which comes prominently forward at Athens only with the rise of the Middle Comedy. The very history of the title is interesting and suggestive. It was used by Sappho (fr. 31) in the highest sense, as implying a companion of the same rank and with the same interests. There was no shade of reproach in its application to her female friends. We have, unfortunately, not much intermediate evidence, but when we come to the Middle Comedy, which reached from the days of Plato down to the Macedonian conquests, it comes to be used in contrast to wife-a most significant contrast indeed. Just in the same manner our word mistress
ἕνεκεν τιμῶσιν αὐτὰς οἱ ἄνδρες, ἐάν περ ἡ φιλία δοκῇ αὐτοῖς ἀκήρατος diaμéveiv (Xen. Hiero., iii. § 4). Among the Spartans, according to the same authority (Aaked. ñoλ., c. 1) this absence of sentiment led to strange results. It was not uncommon for an elderly man to borrow a younger husband for his wife, or for a man who disliked his wife, to obtain the loan of another from a friend, with a view to fine and healthy children. The physical results were, according to the author, excellent.
was of old used in a very dignified way, and is still preserved in this sense in ordinary parlance, as Athenæus tells us (xiii. 571, D.) that even in his day girls were wont to call their female friends raípas; yet still the word has obtained another peculiar meaning, as opposed to a lawful wife. The feeling of this double meaning in the word is apparent in the days of which we are now speaking. Antiphanes (Hydria, fr. 1) says: This man of whom I speak fell in love with an èraípa who lived in the neighbourhood, a citizen, but unprotected by guardian or relations. She was possessed of a disposition we might call golden in reality-a veritable companion (ovτws Talpas); the rest traduce by their manners a name which is really a noble one.' It appears that if a Greek woman of this inferior social position was indeed of gentle and refined character, her company was regarded as far superior to that of proud ladies of old Attic families, who were full of importance, and, as we can see from various authors, made their rank disagreeably felt by their husbands. Thus the country gentleman, at the opening of Aristophanes' Clouds, curses the match-maker (проμvηorpía) who made up a marriage for him with a lady of the house of Megacles; for this lady brought up her son with a thorough contempt of all his father's country occupations, and taught him to look to his maternal uncle. for a model, and to squander his substance in horseracing. Hence we can understand the fragment of Amphis (Mein. iii. 301) in which the lawful wife (yauern) is contrasted with the companion. The latter,
he says, is far pleasanter, 'for the former with the law on her side can afford to despise you and yet stay in your house, whereas the other knows that she must either win over a man by her manners, or go elsewhere.'
We must take care not to attach too much weight to these isolated fragments, quoted for the most part at random by Athenæus, to show his learning. They may be, like many of the abusive passages in Euripides' Hippolytus and other tragedies, spoken in character, and by angry or disappointed people. All that we can argue from them is, that such sentiments were suited to the audience, especially as Greek audiences, far more than we do, took to themselves lessons from the stage, and understood the maxims of the poet's characters as intended to represent his own. Still this cannot be carried out universally, and when the characters maintain opposing views. It is quite possible that there may have been some means, now lost to us, of indicating the poet's sympathy, or of hinting in what cases he professed to speak through his actor. Thus, for example, the scholiasts speak in a peculiar way of Euripides' Melanippe as disclosing his philosophical views1. But as we cannot now always feel sure of this point, on which even the ancients made mistakes, I repeat my caution that we should not understand these fragments as giving us more than the current opinions of some sections of Greek society. Such I believe to be the numerous passages abusing marriage, which we find scattered all through Meineke's
1 Cp. Dindorf's ed. of the Fragments.
collection,1 and which the reader may contrast with the Economicus of Xenophon, from which I have already quoted at length.
'The man is actually married,' says the poet Antiphanes. 'My goodness, do you say so; is it the man I left alive and walking about?' Great Jupiter,' says another poet, may I perish if I ever spoke against women, the most precious of all acquisitions. For if Medea was an objectionable person, surely Penelope was an excellent creature. Does any one abuse Clytemnestra? I oppose the admirable Alcestis. But, perhaps, some one may abuse Phædra; then, I say, by Jove, what a capital person was-. Oh, dear! the catalogue of good women is already exhausted, while there remains a crowd of bad ones that might be mentioned !' Thus marriages with heiresses are criticised as particularly foolish and unhappy, for in those days, as now, high connection and fortune were preferred to the more solid qualities of a wife. Whosoever,' says Menander, 'desires to marry an heiress, is either suffering under the wrath of the gods, or wishes to be called lucky, while he is really miserable2.
1 iii. pp. 151, 195, 261, 450, 519, &c.
2 The Spartans felt so strongly the evil of marrying for money, they actually punished men for doing it. At the close of his Lysander, Plutarch tells us, 'that the state punished those who had been wooing Lysander's daughters, but had retired when his poverty was disclosed after his death; for they had courted him while he was rich, but deserted him when proved by his poverty to have been just and honourable. For there were in Sparta, it seems, penalties for not marrying, and for late marrying, and for mis-marrying, and under this last they brought more
But in spite of all these complaints, almost every play of Menander ended with the happy marriage, not, indeed, of a surly heiress, who despised her husband, but of some simple penniless girl, whose adventures during the play had excited the deep sympathy of the audience.
But satirical reflections on women are so common in almost every age of Greek literature, indeed, of all literature, that they are not worth commenting upon.
especially the case of those who sought rich connections, instead of good ones, among their own kin.'