Euripides on Marriage: Misleading Fragments

Euripides, fr. 137 (Andromeda)


“Best of all riches is to find a noble spouse.”


τῶν γὰρ πλούτων ὅδ’ ἄριστος

γενναῖον λέχος εὑρεῖν.


This might be one of the few positive comments about marriage from Classical Greece. But, then again, it comes from a woman in a play about a girl rescued from a sea monster…And the positive comment is really about class…


The following is much more typical:


Euripides, fr. 78 (Alcmeon)


“A wife brings her husband

The greatest aid and the greatest



γυναῖκα καὶ ὠφελίαν

καὶ νόσον ἀνδρὶ φέρειν



Every sickness contains its own cure?

2 thoughts on “Euripides on Marriage: Misleading Fragments

  1. This reminds me of Medea’s rather jaundiced view of marriage.

    πάντων δ᾽ ὅσ᾽ ἔστ᾽ ἔμψυχα καὶ γνώμην ἔχει
    γυναῖκές ἐσμεν ἀθλιώτατον φυτόν:
    ἃς πρῶτα μὲν δεῖ χρημάτων ὑπερβολῇ
    πόσιν πρίασθαι, δεσπότην τε σώματος
    [λαβεῖν: κακοῦ γὰρ τοῦτ᾽ ἔτ᾽ ἄλγιον κακόν].

    Of all creatures that have breath and sensation, we women are the most unfortunate. First at an exorbitant price we must buy a husband and master of our bodies. [This misfortune is more painful than misfortune.]

    Euripides Med. 230

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