But among the Persians the queen tolerates the king's having a number of concubines, because there the king rules his wife like her master; and also because the queen, as Dinon states in his history of Persia, receives a great deal of respect from the concubines. At all events they offer her adoration. And Priam, too, had a great many women, and Hecuba was not indignant. Accordingly, Priam says—
But among the Greeks, the mother of Phœnix does not tolerate the concubine of Amyntor. And Medea, although well acquainted with the fashion, as one well established among the barbarians, refuses to tolerate the marriage of Glauce, having been forsooth already initiated in better and Greek habits. And Clytæmnestra, being exceedingly indignant at a similar provocation, slays Cassandra with Agamemnon himself, whom the monarch brought with him into Greece, having given in to the fashion of barbarian marriages. “And a man may wonder,” says Aristotle, "that Homer has nowhere in the Iliad represented any concubine as living with Menelaus, though he has given wives to every one else. And accordingly, in Homer, even old men sleep with women, such as Nestor and Phoenix. For these men were not worn out or disabled in the time of their youth, either by intoxication, or by too much indulgence in love; or by any weakness of digestion engendered by gluttony; so that it was natural for them to be still vigorous in old age. The king of Sparta, then, appears to have too much respect for his wedded wife Helena, on whose account he collected all the Grecian army; and on this account he keeps aloof from any [p. 891] other connexion. But Agamemnon is reproached by Thersites, as a man with many wives—
Yet what a race! ere Greece to Ilion came,
The pledge of many a loved and loving dame.
Nineteen one mother bore—dead, all are dead!Iliad, xxiv. 489.
“But it is not natural,” says Aristotle, “to suppose that all that multitude of female slaves were given to him as concubines, but only as prizes; since he also provided himself with a great quantity of wine,—but not for the purpose of getting drunk himself.”
'Tis thine, whate'er the warrior's breast inflames,
The golden spoil, and thine the lovely dames;
With all the wealth our wars and blood bestow,
Thy tents are crowded and thy chests o'erflow.Iliad, ii. 220.