Xenophon’s Oeconomicus: the “maîtresse de la maison”

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14195/1984-249X_31_09

Keywords:

oikos, management, wife, companion

Abstract

Xenophon’s Oeconomicusincludes an interesting treatise on married life, at the hearth of which is the figure of Ischomachus’ wife, such as she is described by Ischomachus’ words to Socrates. It is an almost innovative figure, because she shares the management of the oikosas being responsible for what is carried out within the oikos: her role is different from her husband’s, who runs and manages what is carried out outside of the oikos. Therefore husband’s and wife’s tasks are different, though complementary. The difference in inclinations and, therefore, roles is shown as established by god, nature (as an instrument of god) and custom (nomos). So Ischomachus’ wife is a collaborator and companion of her husband, even though she does not have an equal relation with her him: she manages the activities and people within the oikosaccording to her husband’s directives. Also in the sphere of sexual life she has to conform to his desires and convictions; her own status as a wife will be preserved only if she meets his expectations: paradoxically her own autonomy is other-directed. Even if she may be considered a “maîtresse de la maison”, nevertheless, as Foucault outlined with a very incisive expression, she is anyway the “maîtresse obéissante de la maison”.      

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

References

ARRIGONI, G. (1985). Donne e sport nel mondo greco. Religione e società. In: ARRIGONI, G. (ed.). Le donne in Grecia. Roma-Bari, Laterza. p. 55-201.

BEVILACQUA, F. (2002). Senofonte. Anabasi (introduzione generale, nota biografica, nota bibliografica, introduzione all’Anabasi, nota bibliografica, nota critica, traduzione e note). Torino, UTET.

BEVILACQUA, F. (2003). Seduzione e potere nella Ciropedia e nell'Economico di Senofonte. In: BENEDETTI, F.; GRANDOLINI, S. (eds.). Studi di Filologia e tradizione greca in memoria di Aristide Colonna. Napoli, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane. p. 131-140.

BEVILACQUA, F. (2018a). Kalokagathia e kaloi kagathoi nelle opere socratiche di Senofonte (Memorabili, Economico, Simposio). Magazzino di filosofia 32. p. 5-99.

BEVILACQUA, F. (2018b). Socrates Attitude towards Politics in Xenophon and Plato. In: DANZIG G.; JOHNSON, D.; MORRISON, D. (eds.). Plato and Xenophon. Comparative Studies. Leiden, Brill. p. 461-486.

BRELICH, A. (1969). Paides e parthenoi. Roma, Edizioni dell'Ateneo.

CHANTRAINE, P. (1949). Xénophon. Économique (texte établi et traduit par P. Chantraine). Paris, Les Belles Lettres.

DELEBECQUE, É. (1957) Essai sur la vie de Xénophon, Paris, Klincksieck.

DELEBECQUE, É. (1978). Xénophon. Cyropédie, t. III, (texte établi et traduit par É. Delebecque). Paris, Les Belles Lettres.

FOUCAULT, M. (1984). L'usage des plaisirs. Paris, Gallimard.

NORTH, H. (1966). Sophrosyne. Self-Knowledge and Self-Restraint in Greek Literature. Ithaca (NY), Cornell University Press. POMEROY, S. B. (1984). The Persian King and the Queen Be. American Journal of Ancient History 9, n. 2. p. 98-108. POMEROY, S. B. (1994). Xenophon. Oeconomicus. A Social and Historical Commentary. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

POMEROY, S. B. (2002). Spartan Women. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

ROSCALLA, F. (1991). Senofonte. Economico (introduzione, traduzione e note di F. ROSCALLA con un saggio di D. LANZA). Milano, BUR.

VERNANT, J.-P. (1963). Hestia-Hermès. Sur l'expression religieuse de l'espace chez les Grecs. L'Homme. Revue française d'anthropologie 3, p. 12-50. Ora in VERNANT, J.-P. (1965). Mythe et pensée chez les Grecs. Études de psycologie historique. Paris, Librairie François Maspero. p. 155-201.

Published

2021-06-12

How to Cite

Bevilacqua, F. (2021). Xenophon’s Oeconomicus: the “maîtresse de la maison”. Revista Archai, (31). https://doi.org/10.14195/1984-249X_31_09

Issue

Section

Archai Dossier: Socratic Voices