Aristotle on οἰκονομία

I am doing a lexical study on the use of οἰκονομία and was researching the term among classical Greek writers. The term has the basic sense of “household management,” and can have the lexical gloss of “economy,” or “administration.” Anyway, in Aristotle’s work titled Politics, he is discussing the roles of men and women. As I read through the passage in the Loeb Classical Library edition, I chuckled out loud. He wrote,

(δόξαι γὰρ ἂν εἶναι δειλὸς ἀνὴρ εἰ οὕτως ἀνδρεῖος εἴη ὥσπερ γυνὴ ἀνδρεία, καὶ γυνὴ λάλος εἰ οὕτω κοσμία εἴη ὥσπερ ὁ ἀνὴρ ὁ ἀγαθός. ἐπεὶ καὶ οἰκονομία ἑτέρα ἀνδρὸς καὶ γυναικός, τοῦ μὲν γὰρ κτᾶσθαι τῆς δὲ φυλάττειν ἔργον ἐστίν).

(for a man would be thought a coward if he were only as brave as a brave woman, and a woman a chatterer if she were only as modest as a good man; since even the household functions of a man and  of a woman are different—his business is to get and hers to keep).

Just remember ladies, he wrote 2,400 years ago!

Categories: Aristotle, Greek, οἰκονομία

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