“Στεγνῶν δὲ δεῖται καὶ ἡ τῶν νεογνῶν τέκνων παιδοτροφία, στεγνῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ ἐκ τοῦ καρποῦ σιτοποιίαι δέονται· ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ ἡ τῆς ἐσθῆτος ἐκ τῶν ἐρίων ἐργασία. ἐπεὶ δ’ ἀμφότερα ταῦτα καὶ ἔργων καὶ ἐπιμελείας δεῖται τά τε ἔνδον καὶ τὰ ἔξω, καὶ τὴν φύσιν, φάναι, εὐθὺς παρεσκεύασεν ὁ θεός, ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ, τὴν μὲν τῆς γυναικὸς ἐπὶ τὰ ἔνδον ἔργα καὶ ἐπιμελήματα, <τὴν δὲ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἐπὶ τὰ ἔξω>. ῥίγη μὲν γὰρ καὶ θάλπη καὶ ὁδοιπορίας καὶ στρατείας τοῦ ἀνδρὸς τὸ σῶμα καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν μᾶλλον δύνασθαι καρτερεῖν κατεσκεύασεν· ὥστε τὰ ἔξω ἐπέταξεν αὐτῷ ἔργα· τῇ δὲ γυναικὶ ἧττον τὸ σῶμα δυνατὸν πρὸς ταῦτα φύσας τὰ ἔνδον ἔργα αὐτῇ, φάναι ἔφη, προστάξαι μοι δοκεῖ ὁ θεός. εἰδὼς δὲ ὅτι τῇ γυναικὶ καὶ ἐνέφυσε καὶ προσέταξε τὴν τῶν νεογνῶν τέκνων τροφήν, καὶ τοῦ στέργειν τὰ νεογνὰ βρέφη πλέον αὐτῇ ἐδάσατο ἢ τῷ ἀνδρί. ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ τὸ φυλάττειν τὰ εἰσενεχθέντα τῇ γυναικὶ προσέταξε, γιγνώσκων ὁ θεὸς ὅτι πρὸς τὸ φυλάττειν οὐ κάκιόν ἐστι φοβερὰν εἶναι τὴν ψυχὴν πλέον μέρος καὶ τοῦ φόβου ἐδάσατο τῇ γυναικὶ ἢ τῷ ἀνδρί. εἰδὼς δὲ ὅτι καὶ ἀρήγειν αὖ δεήσει, ἐάν τις ἀδικῇ, τὸν τὰ ἔξω ἔργα ἔχοντα, τούτῳ αὖ πλέον μέρος τοῦ θράσους ἐδάσατο. ὅτι δ’ ἀμφοτέρους δεῖ καὶ διδόναι καὶ λαμβάνειν, τὴν μνήμην καὶ τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν εἰς τὸ μέσον ἀμφοτέροις κατέθηκεν. ὥστε οὐκ ἂν ἔχοις διελεῖν πότερα τὸ ἔθνος τὸ θῆλυ ἢ τὸ ἄρρεν τούτων πλεονεκτεῖ. καὶ τὸ ἐγκρατεῖς δὲ εἶναι ὧν δεῖ εἰς τὸ μέσον ἀμφοτέροις κατέθηκε, καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς ὁπότερος ἂν ᾖ βελτίων, εἴθ’ ὁ ἀνὴρ εἴθ᾽ ἡ γυνή, τοῦτον καὶ πλέον φέρεσθαι τούτου τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ. διὰ δὲ τὸ τὴν φύσιν μὴ πρὸς πάντα ταὐτὰ ἀμφοτέρων εὖ πεφυκέναι, διὰ τοῦτο καὶ δέονται μᾶλλον ἀλλήλων καὶ τὸ ζεῦγος ὠφελιμώτερον ἑαυτῷ γεγένηται, ἃ τὸ ἕτερον ἐλλείπεται τὸ ἕτερον δυνάμενον. ταῦτα δέ, ἔφην, δεῖ ἡμᾶς, ὦ γύναι, εἰδότας, ἃ ἑκατέρῳ ἡμῶν προστέτακται ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, πειρᾶσθαι ὅπως ὡς βέλτιστα τὰ προσήκοντα ἑκάτερον ἡμῶν διαπράττεσθαι. συνεπαινεῖ δέ, ἔφη φάναι, καὶ ὁ νόμος αὐτά, συζευγνὺς ἄνδρα καὶ γυναῖκα· καὶ κοινωνοὺς ὥσπερ τῶν τέκνων ὁ θεὸς ἐποίησεν, οὕτω καὶ ὁ νόμος <τοῦ οἴκου> κοινωνοὺς καθίστησι. καὶ καλὰ δὲ εἶναι ὁ νόμος ἀποδείκνυσιν <ἃ> καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἔφυσεν ἑκάτερον μᾶλλον δύνασθαι. τῇ μὲν γὰρ γυναικὶ κάλλιον ἔνδον μένειν ἢ θυραυλεῖν, τῷ δὲ ἀνδρὶ αἴσχιον ἔνδον μένειν ἢ τῶν ἔξω ἐπιμελεῖσθαι.”
(Xenophon, Oec. 7.21-30)

“Shelter is needed for the nursing of newborns; shelter is needed for the making of grain into bread, and likewise for the making of clothes from wool. And since both the indoor and the outdoor jobs demand work and care, the god from the first adapted the woman’s nature, I think, to the indoor and man’s to the outdoor works and cares. For he made the man’s body and mind more capable of enduring cold and heat, and journeys and campaigns, and thus has assigned him the outdoor tasks. To the woman, since he has made her body less capable of such endurance, I take it that the god has assigned the indoor tasks. And knowing that he had created in the woman, and had imposed on her, the nurture of the newborns, he meted out to her a larger portion of affection for newborns than to the man. And since he imposed on the woman the protection of what had been brought in as well, knowing that for protection a fearful disposition is no disadvantage, the god meted out a larger share of fear to the woman than to the man; and knowing that the one who deals with the outdoor tasks will have to be their defender against any wrongdoer, he meted out to him again a larger share of courage. But because both must give and take, he granted to both impartially memory and attention; and so you could not distinguish whether the male or the female sex has the larger share of these. And the god also gave to both impartially the power to practice self-control as needed, and gave the privilege to whichever is the better at this—whether it be the man or the woman—to win a larger portion of the good that comes from it. And just because they are not equally well endowed with all the same aptitudes, they have the more need of each other, and each member of the pair is the more useful to the other, the one being competent where the other is deficient. Now, wife, since we know what duties have been assigned to each of us by the god, we must try, each of us, to do the duties allotted to us as well as possible. The law encourages this, for it yokes husband and wife. And as the god has made them partners in their children, so the law appoints them partners in their household. And besides, the law declares those tasks to be seemly for which the god has made the one more naturally capable than the other. Thus for the woman it is more seemly to stay indoors than to be outside, but to the man it is unseemly rather to stay indoors than to tend to business outside.” (tr. Edgar Cardew Marchant, revised by Jeffrey Henderson)

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