The Education of a Wife by Xenophon

An examination of the Socratic dialogue which shows how the Athenian landowner taught his young bride the social and household roles of a husband and wife.

The Education of a Wife
Xenophon wrote this account of a dialogue between Socrates and Ischomachus, an Athenian landowner who explains to Socrates how he taught his young bride the roles of husband and wife in the running of the household. The topic here is the household, and the household to the Athenian meant more than we would. The actual term is oikoi and was the principle means of subsistence for all Greeks, including all members of the family, all servants and slaves, and all property:
Without property there could be no household. There was no economy separate from privately owned farms and small businesses, which provided jobs in our sense of the word (Nagle 105).
Ischomachus explains to his wife how she is to be in charge of…