Hipponax fr. 182: Nice Words about Marriage?

 

“The strongest marriage for a wise man
Is to take a woman of noble character—
This dowry alone safeguards a home.
[But whoever takes a fancy woman home…]
<sees his house fall into ruin>
The wise man has a partner instead of a mistress
A woman with a good mind, reliable for a lifetime.”

γάμος κράτιστός ἐστιν ἀνδρὶ σώφρονι
τρόπον γυναικὸς χρηστὸν ἕδνον λαμβάνειν·
αὕτη γὰρ ἡ προὶξ οἰκίαν σώιζει μόνη.
ὅστις δὲ †τρυφῶς τὴν γυναῖκ’ ἄγει λαβών

<                                 >

συνεργὸν οὗτος ἀντὶ δεσποίνης ἔχει
εὔνουν, βεβαίαν εἰς ἅπαντα τὸν βίον.

This fragment has missing lines and a textual problem in line four. But it is clear that it is similar in sentiment to ideas expressed about marriage in Hesiod and other archaic poets (see below for two characteristic passages from Hesiod). I made up an English line to fill out the general idea of the missing Greek. There’s nothing pretty about it!

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