The woman in the ‘house’

Pierre Brulé and Antonia Nevill

in Women of Ancient Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748616435
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651023 | DOI:
The woman in the ‘house’

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‘Marriage is to the girl what war is to the boy’. People are still musing over this statement by Jean-Pierre Vernant. Of course, for each sex, war and marriage represent ‘the fulfilment of their respective nature’, but these states arrive at times and stages of physical and mental development when each gender has for a long time had nothing to do with the other. Greek girls do not marry their contemporaries, nor do Greek boys marry theirs. This chapter looks at two protagonists, those whom Xenophon chose as models in his Oeconomicus: Ischomachus, ‘handsome and good’, and his wife. The fundamentals remain. The Greek man is only in his ‘house’ in passing. Ischomachus and his wife apparently have it made: all the interventions by the nymphe are no more than approval and applause for her husband's enjoyable work programme.

Keywords: Xenophon; marriage; house; Ischomachus; nymphe; Oeconomicus; war; girls; boys

Chapter.  13914 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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