Aristotle, Oeconomica

LCL 287: 400-401

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Rose (Arist. fr. 184). p. 140 I. Bonammulierem eorum quae sunt intus dominari oportet curam habentem omnium secundum scriptas leges, non permittentem ingredi nullum, si non vir perceperit,1 timentem praecipue verba forensium 10mulierum ad corruptionem animae. Et quae intus sibi contingunt ut sola sciat, et si quid sinistri ab ingredientibus fiat, vir habet causam. Dominant existentem expensarum et sumptuum ad festivitates, quas quidem vir permiserit, expensis et vestimento ac apparatu minori utentem quam etiam leges civitatis 15praecipiunt, considerantem quoniam nec quaestus vestimentorum differens forma2 nec auri multitudo tanta est ad mulieris virtutem quanta modestia in quolibet opere et desiderium honestae atque compositae vitae. Etenim quilibet talis ornatus et elatio animi est3 et multo certius ad senectutem iustas laudes sibi filiisque tribuendo.

20Talium quidem igitur ipsa se inanimet mulier composite dominari (indecens enim viro videtur scire quae intus fiunt): in ceteris autem omnibus viro p. 141parere intendat nec quicquam civilium audiens nec


Oeconomica, III. i

Book III

I. A good wife should be the mistress of her home, having under her care all that is within it, according to the rules we have laid down. She should allow none to enter without her husband’s knowledge, dreading above all things the gossip of gadding women, which tends to poison the soul. She alone should have knowledge of what happens within, whilst if any harm is wrought by those from without, her husband will bear the blame. She must exercise control of the money spent on such festivities as her husband has approved, keeping, moreover, within the limit set by law upon expenditure, dress, and ornament; and remembering that beauty depends not on costliness of raiment, nor does abundance of gold so conduce to the praise of a woman as self-control in all that she does, and her inclination towards an honourable and well-ordered life.a For such adornment of the soul as this is in truth ever a thing to be envied, and a far surer warrant for the payment, to the woman herself in her old age and to her children after her, of the due meed of praise.

This, then, is the province over which a woman should be minded to bear an orderly rule; for it seems not fitting that a man should know all that passes within the house. But in all other matters, let it be her aim to obey her husband; giving no heed

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-oeconomica.1935