ADVICE TO BRIDE AND GROOM (CONIUGALIA PRAECEPTA)
The modern bride will undoubtedly turn up her nose and shake her independent
head in disapproval of Plutarch's suggestions about subordinating herself to
her husband, and nobody will attempt to deny that the status of women has
changed materially since Plutarch's time ; but, apart from this, she will
find in Plutarch's short essay many suggestions regarding whole-souled
co-operation and cheerful intellectual companionship with her husband, which
mutatis mutandis hold as good to-day as they did when they were written,
nearly two thousand years ago. Nor is the husband neglected ; he can find
much sound advice regarding his attitude towards his wife and the respect
and consideration that is always due to her.
Plutarch was no mere theorist in these matters. He himself was happily
married, and anyone who doubts this should read his letter to his wife
(Moralia, 608 a).
The essay is included in the catalogue of Lamprias (see Vol. I. Introd. p.
xviii) and is not infrequently quoted or referred to by later writers,
Stobaeus, for example, in his Florilegium, especially lxxiv., and Hieronymus
(St. Jerome), Adversus Iovinianum, i. ad fin. It is well worth while, in
this connexion, to read Jeremy Taylor's sermon, The Marriage Ring, to see
how a famous preacher served up many of the ideas of a heathen philosopher
to a Christian congregation.