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For our admirable host, praising the married women, said that Hermippus stated in his book about lawgivers, that at Lacedæmon all the damsels used to be shut up in a dark room, while a number of unmarried young men were shut up with them; and whichever girl each of the young men caught hold of he led away as his wife, without a dowry. On which account they punished Lysander, because he left his former wife, and wished to marry another who was by far more beautiful. But Clearchus the Solensian, in his treatise on Proverbs, says,—“In Lacedæmon the women, on a certain festival, drag the unmarried men to an altar, and then buffet them; in order that, for the purpose of avoiding the insult of such treatment, they may become more affectionate, and in due season may turn their thoughts to marriage. But at Athens, Cecrops was the first person who married a man to one wife only, when before his time connexions had taken place at random, and men had had their wives in common. On which account it was, as some people state, that Cecrops was called διφυὴς,1 because before his time people did not know who their fathers were, by reason of the numbers of men who might have been so.”

And beginning in this manner, one might fairly blame those who attributed to Socrates two wives, Xanthippe and Myrto, the daughter of Aristides; not of that Aristides who was surnamed the Just, (for the time does not agree,) but of his descendant in the third generation. And the men who made this statement are Callisthenes, and Demetrius Phalereus, and Satyrus the Peripatetic, and Aristoxenus; who were preceded in it by Aristotle, who relates the same story in his [p. 890] treatise on Nobleness of Birth. Unless perhaps this licence was allowed by a decree at that time on account of the scarcity of men, so that any one who pleased might have two wives; to which it must be owing that the comic poets make no mention of this fact, though they very often mention Socrates. And Hieronymus of Rhodes has cited the decree about wives; which I will send to you, since I have the book. But Panætius the Rhodian has contradicted those who make this statement about the wives of Socrates.

1 διφυὴς meaning, “of double nature.”

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