The Gift of Conjugial Love to Mankind: A Mythological Study on the Spiritual Significance of Marriage
“Show me the way to the town and give me some rag to wrap me in if you had any piece of cloth when you came here,
and then may the gods grant you everything your heart longs for; may they grant you a husband and a house and sweet agreement in all things, for nothing is better than this, more steadfast than when two people, a man and his wife, keep a harmonious household; a thing that brings much distress to the people who hate them and pleasure to their well-wishers,
and for them the best reputation.”
Comment: These words from Book Six of The Odyssey were spoken to Nausicaa by Odysseus, when he washed up on the shore after having drifted at sea for twenty days. Prompted by Athena in a dream the night before, the young lady had taken a picnic and was doing her family’s laundry by the sea.
This vibrant picture of conjugial love from Homer’s ancient epic reveals a pleasant and powerful representation of marriage as one the true blessings and advancements of life. It is likely that the source for this high esteem of conjugial love pre-dates the Roman and Greek civilizations; it is well attested that the Greek and Roman wives were kept at home, not to be seen in public, while the husbands went to banquets or other events. But The Odyssey shows kings and nobles showing hospitality and banqueting with their wives. This respected position and visibility is more closely matched with the Etruscan traditions than of their later conquerers, the Greeks and Romans.
It raises an interesting question, that if it may be shown that the Etruscan women were held in honor, carried out their own business for themselves, married happily having had their hearts won first, and were literate, then it is more accurate to consider Etruria, not Greece, as the “birthplace of Western civilization.” Of course, their histories and legends were lost after the Romans invaded, and their language remains a mystery; yet it has been said by some historians that the Etruscans had indeed developed some form of voting in their city-states. These questions must remain inconclusive, yet it is certainly worth looking beyond the Greek and Roman accounts for answers, since these were their rivals and later their destroyers in the pursuit of Empire.
I hope to continue this mythological series on marriage, and to show that some cultures and people are deeply and inherently conjugial, while we clearly understand that other cultures are not. It is at least a worthwhile study to understand this as a difference, with the hope that this difference can be discerned and appreciated. It looks to hold promise for an interesting survey, and in the end, I think perhaps more people can agree that being part of a conjugial tradition is really nothing to be ashamed of, but rather is a long spiritual heritage worth preserving.
This entry was posted on June 17, 2013 by Zeke. It was filed under life, The Gift of Conjugial Love to Mankind: A Mythical Study and was tagged with attachment research, brain plasticity, creating new experience, pair bonding and intelligence, personal metamorphosis, Please view this publication at 125% zoom for improved font size and screen fit., some revisions in wording and grammar made within first 48 hours of posting.