ægteskab på græsk

I mellemtiden, i Sparta:

“… their marriages the women were carried off by force, not when they were small and unfit for wedlock, but when they were in full bloom and wholly ripe. After the woman was thus carried off the bride’s-maid, so called, took her in charge, cut her hair off close to the head, put a man’s cloak and sandals on her, and laid her down on a pallet, on the floor, alone, in the dark. Then the bride-groom, not flown with wine nor enfeebled by excesses, but composed and sober, after supping at his public mess-table as usual, slipped stealthily into the room where the bride lay, loosed her virgin’s zone, and bore her in his arms to the marriage-bed.

Then, after spending a short time with his bride, he went away composedly to his usual quarters, there to sleep with the other young men. And so he continued to do from that time on, spending his days with his comrades, and sleeping with them at night, but visiting his bride by stealth and with every precaution, full of dread and fear lest any of her household should be aware of his visits, his bride also contriving and conspiring with him that they might have stolen interviews as occasion offered.

And this they did not for a short time only, but long enough for some of them to become fathers before they had looked upon their own wives by daylight. Such interviews not only brought into exercise self-restraint and moderation, but united husbands and wives when their bodies were full of creative energy and their affections new and fresh, not when they were sated and dulled by unrestricted intercourse; and there was always left behind in their hearts some residual spark of mutual longing and delight.” (Plut. Lyc. 15)

… og noget om jalousi og utroskab:

“After giving marriage such traits of reserve and decorum, he none the less freed men from the empty and womanish passion of jealous possession, by making it honourable for them, while keeping the marriage relation free from all wanton irregularities, to share with other worthy men in the begetting of children, laughing to scorn those who regard such common privileges as intolerable, and resort to murder and war rather than grant them.

For example, an elderly man with a young wife, if he looked with favour and esteem on some fair and noble young man, might introduce him to her, and adopt her offspring by such a noble father as his own. And again, a worthy man who admired some woman for the fine children that she bore her husband and the modesty of her behaviour as a wife, might enjoy her favours, if her husband would consent, thus planting, as it were, in a soil of beautiful fruitage, and begetting for himself noble sons, who would have the blood of noble men in their veins.

For in the first place, Lycurgus did not regard sons as the peculiar property of their fathers, but rather as the common property of the state, and therefore would not have his citizens spring from random parentage, but from the best there was. In the second place, he saw much folly and vanity in what other peoples enacted for the regulation of these matters; in the breeding of dogs and horses they insist on having the best sires which money or favour can secure, but they keep their wives under lock and key, demanding that they have children by none but themselves, even though they be foolish, or infirm, or diseased;

as though children of bad stock did not show their badness to those first who possessed and reared them, and children of good stock, contrariwise, their goodness. The freedom which thus prevailed at that time in marriage relations was aimed at physical and political well-being, and was far removed from the licentiousness which was afterwards attributed to their women, so much so that adultery was wholly unknown among them.

And a saying is reported of one Geradas, a Spartan of very ancient type, who, on being asked by a stranger what the punishment for adulterers was among them, answered: ‘Stranger, there is no adulterer among us.’ ‘Suppose, then,’ replied the stranger, ‘there should be one.’ ‘A bull,’ said Geradas, ‘would be his forfeit, a bull so large that it could stretch over Mount Taÿgetus and drink from the river Eurotas.’ Then the stranger was astonished and said: ‘But how could there be a bull so large?’ To which Geradas replied, with a smile: ‘But how could there be an adulterer in Sparta?’ Such, then, are the accounts we find of their marriages.” (Plut. Lyc. 15)

Plutarch: Plutarch’s Lives. with an English Translation by Bernadotte Perrin. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Via Perseus.

skurke og fjolser

“I en verden, hvor mindst fem sjettedele er skurke eller narre og fjolser, må enhver af den øvrige sjettedel, så meget desto mere, jo længere væk han befinder sig fra de andre, basere sit livssystem på tilbagetrukkethed, jo længere tilbage desto bedre. Overbevisningen om, at verden er en udørk, i hvilken man ikke kan regne med selskab, må blive til fornemmelse og – habituel. Ligesom væggene indsnævrer blikket, der atter udvider sig, når det blot har mark og vang foran sig, således indsnævrer menneskeligt selskab min ånd, og ensomheden udvider den atter.”

Arthur Schopenhauer: Kunsten at kende sig selv, Kbh 2007, s. 36.

tabte horisonter

“Have you ever been in need of money? Almost every man who enters our society joins it as a young man in need of money. His instincts are unsullied, his intellect is fresh and strong, but he must live. How comes it that the country is full of maimed human beings, of cynics and feeble good men, and outside of this no form of life except the diabolical intelligence of pure business?….He must get on. He goes into a law office, and if he is offended at its dishonest practices he cannot speak. He soon accepts them. Thereafter he cannot see them. He goes into a newspaper office, the same; a banker’s, a merchant’s, a dry-goods’ shop. What has happened to these fellows at the end of three years, that their minds seem to be drying up? I have seen many men I knew in college grow more and more uninteresting from year to year. Is there something in trade that desiccates and flattens out, that turns men into dried leaves at the age of forty? Certainly there is. It is not due to trade, but to intensity of self-seeking, combined with narrowness of occupation.”

John Jay Chapman (1862-1933): Practical Agitation, New York 1900, s. 55-56. Via Laudator Temporis Acti, 15. feb 2017.

Om at læse Homer

“Jeg haver udi en af mine Epistle tilkiendegivet Aarsagen, hvi jeg så ofte læser Homerum, nemlig: 1.) Efterdi intet Skrift tiener mere til at erhverve Kundskab udi det Græske Sprog. Og, naar man vil hertil sige: Hvortil kand det nytte mig, at vide saa meget Græsk? Da svarer jeg dertil, at ingen vel kand passere for en lærd Mand uden det Græske Sprogs Kundskab, Thi det er af Græske Bøger vi see Kilderne til Philosophie og de fleeste Videnskaber og utallig Ord; ja fast alle Kunst-Gloser, som vi dagligen bruge, have deres Oprindelse af det Græske Sprog. Den anden Aarsag, som jeg haver tilkiendegivet, hvi jeg læser Homerum, er denne, at man deraf lærer og seer den ældgamle Verdens Skikke og Moder,”

og

“… og, naar man derhos eftertænker, at samme Poëts Skrifter er de reeneste Kilder, hvoraf det Græske Sprog flyder, saa maa man holde for, at Tiden anvendes ikke så ilde paa saadanne Bøgers Læsning, som foregives af nogle, helst af dem, som meene, at det Græske Sprog ikke er meget fornødent at læres paa de høje Skoler, og at man haver nok udi det Latinske.”

– Holberg: Ep. CDXXXI

Selvros og selvkritik

“Egen roes, saasom den er ubehagelig at høre, og tilkiendegiver Forfængelighed, saa er den ogsaa fornemmeligen at Beviis paa den Rosendes Maadelighed og faa Meriter; thi ingen taler prægtigere om sig og Sine, uden tilligemed at tilkiendegive en Mistanke om andres Tvivlsmaal, ligesom en der beseigler alle sine Ord med blodige Eder, synes derved at vise, at hans blotte Tale og Løfter ikke kand holdes tilforladelige.”

– Holberg: Ep. CCCIV

“Intet kand give mere Anledning til Latter end at høre Folk laste, igiennemhegle og belee Fejl hos andre, helst naar de tilligemed udi deres Straffe-Taler eller Skrifter røbe sig selv, saa man Strax merker, at der er deres egne Lyder.”

– Holberg: Ep. CCCLIII

Julefred

“Stilheden sænkede sig over Stuen. Medens Maden blev færdig, var de tre Smaa Vidne til, at deres Fader Vaskede sig, ja han vaskede sig i Hovedet, ogsaa han led for Højtiden, inviede sig til det Ubeskrivelige. Derpaa spiste de, først den fine Grød og bagefter stegt Flæsk og Kartofler. De var så vel til Mode. Et Sted oppe eller nede var der sket noget for Hvermand indgribende, saa at det lysnede i alle Stuer, var de end nok saa trange. Tørve Christens Del var bleven tre Børn med diamantklare Øjne, der sad med hver sit Stykke fedtsprudende Flæsk i de smaa Fingre og spiste saa saare. Stuen lunedes. Konen havde en Overraskelse henne bag Bilæggerens lukkede Spjæld, de hørte det syde og branke derinde. Tællelyset paa Bordet gyldnede Stuen, som var fuld af ærbar Fred.”

– Johannes V. Jensen: Julefred. (Himmerlandshistorier. Kbh. 1995)

Således talte den gamle luder.

“… jeg interesserede mig mere for Elohim, universets ophøjede skabergud, end for hans kedsommelige afkom. Jesus havde elsket menneskene for højt, det var dét der var problemet; at han lod sig korsfæste for deres skyld, vidnede som minimum om dårlig smag, som den gamle luder ville have sagt.”

– Houellebecq: Underkastelse. s. 261

Menneskets værdighed

“Vi moderne mennesker har to begreber, som grækerne ikke kendte. De virker som et slags trøstemiddel for en verden, der opfører sig helt igennem slaveagtigt, samtidig med at den ængsteligt skyr ordet “slave”: Vi taler om “menneskets værdighed” og om “arbejdets værdighed”. Alle slider og slæber for at opnå en elendig forlængelse af deres elendige liv; denne frygtelige nød tvinger os til udmarvende arbejde, som det af “viljen” forførte menneske (eller rettere menneskelige intellekt) nu og da måbende betragter som noget værdigt. Men for at arbejdet skulle have fortjent denne fine titel, måtte det jo forholde sig sådan, at tilværelsen selv, som den jo kun er et pinefuldt middel til at opretholde, har mere værdighed og værdi end seriøse filosoffer og religioner hidtil har ment. Hvad ser vi i de mange millioners arbejdskvaler andet end driften mod for enhver pris at være til, den samme almægtige drift som får forkrøblede planter til at stikke deres rødder ned i jordløs klippegrund.”

Nietzsche: Fem fortaler til fem uskrevne bøger. I: Friedrich Nietzsche og antikken. Informations Forlag, København 2012. s 46

Klarsyn

“Er berømmelsen virkelig bare det mest delikate udtryk for vor egenkærlighed? – Den er knyttet til de sjældneste mennesker, som et begær, og oveni købet til deres sjældneste øjeblikke, hvor et pludseligt klarsyn får mennesket til befalende at hæve armen som en verdensskaber, mens det skaber sit eget lys og lader det strømme ud af sig. I det øjeblik bliver mennesket gennemtrængt af den lyksaliggørende vished om, at det, der bar det og løftede det så højt op, altså denne ene følelses højdepunkt, ikke må gå tabt for eftertiden; at disse sjældne klarsyn er absolut nødvendige for alle kommende generationer, får mennesket til at erkende nødvendigheden af sin egen berømmelse; menneskeheden vil altid have behov for dette klarsyn, og ligesom klarsynets øjeblik er et uddrag og en sammenfatning af dette menneskes inderste væsen, så tror det, at det som dette øjebliks menneske er udødeligt, mens det kaster alt andet fra sig som slagger, råddenskab, forfængelighed, dyriskhed eller som pleonasmer og prisgiver det til forfængeligheden.”

Nietzsche: Fem fortaler til fem uskrevne bøger. I: Friedrich Nietzsche og antikken. Informations Forlag, København 2012. s 37