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[1344a] [1] so that he in virtue of his manly prowess may be more ready to defend the home, and she, by reason of her timid nature, more ready to keep watch over it; and while he brings in fresh supplies from without, she may keep safe what lies within. In handicrafts again, woman was given a sedentary patience, though denied stamina for endurance of exposure; while man, though inferior to her in quiet employments, is endowed with vigor for every active occupation. In the production of children both share alike; but each makes a different contribution to their upbringing. It is the mother who nurtures, and the father who educates.

We begin then with the rules that should govern a man's treatment of his wife. And the first of these forbids him to do her wrong; for if he observes this, he is not likely himself to suffer wrong at her hands. As the Pythagoreans declare, even the common rule or custom of mankind thus ordains, forbidding all wrong to a wife as stringently as though she were a suppliant whom one has raised from the hearthstone. And a man does wrong to his wife when he associates with other women.

As regards the intercourse of marriage, wives should neither importune their husbands, nor be restless in their absence; but a man should accustom his wife to be content whether he is at home or away. Good also is the advice of Hesiod:

“ Take thee a maiden to wife, and teach her ways of discretion.

For differences of ways and habits are little conducive to affection.

As regards adornment: it is not well [20] that souls should approach one another in borrowed plumes, nor is it well in the case of bodies. Intercourse which depends <for its charm> upon outward adornment differs in no respect from that of figures on the stage in their conventional attire.

Of property, the first and most indispensable kind is that which is also best and most amenable to Housecraft; and this is the human chattel. Our first step therefore must be to procure good slaves. Of slaves there are two kinds; those in positions of trust, and the laborers. And since it is matter of experience that the character of the young can be moulded by training, when we require to charge slaves with tasks befitting the free, we have not only to procure the slaves, but to bring them up <for the trust>.

In our intercourse with slaves we must neither suffer them to be insolent nor treat them with cruelty. A share of honor should be given to those who are doing more of a freeman's work, and abundance of food to those who are laboring with their hands. And whereas the use of wine renders even free men insolent, so that in many countries they too refrain from it—as, for instance, the Carthaginians do when they are on campaign—it follows that we must either deny wine to slaves altogether, or reserve it for rare occasions.

We may apportion to our slaves (1) work, (2) chastisement, and (3) food. If men are given food, but no chastisement nor any work, they become insolent.

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    • Hesiod, Works and Days, 699
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