uxorius – Alison Sharrock (Manchester)

uxorius – Alison Sharrock (Manchester)

uxorius, ’belonging or pertaining to a wife’
1. Neutral usage, such as res uxoria referring to a wife’s property in legal and quasilegal contexts, or for marriage in general : 
Apuleius Apol 72.16 ac primo …. conuersum ab uxoria re uidebat (i.e., uninterested in getting married)
Aulus Gellius NA pr.4.3.1 Quod nullae fuerunt rei uxoriae actiones in urbe Roma ante Caruilianum diuortium. (Supposedly referring to the first divorce. It is often impossible to disentangle marriage per se from the financial arrangements surrounding marriage and its dissolution.)
Terence An 829 Ch. …perpulisti me ut homini adulescentulo in alio occupato amore, abhorrenti ab re uxoria, filiam ut darem… (A father complains that his neighbour has pushed him into giving his daughter in marriage to the neighbour’s son, despite the fact that the young man is involved with a prostitute and objecting to marriage.)
2.a When applied to the wife herself or something relating to her, in a neutral or sometimes positive sense :
[Quintilian] DeclMaior 18.5.30 si in fidem castitatis uxoria fecunditate profecerit. (Fertility appropriate to a wife.)
Tacitus Ann 3.34.11 sed reuertentibus post laborem quod honestius quam uxorium leuamentum ? (The solace which are wife appropriately brings.)
Valerius Maximus Mem 2.6.14 Indico tamen rogo nihil eorum praeferes, quem uxoria pietas in modum genialis tori propinquae mortis secura conscendit. (pietas appropriate to a wife : for a wife among polygamous Indians who wins the honour of being chosen as the most loved wife and so allowed to throw herself onto her dead husband’s pyre.)
Valerius Maximus Mem 4.6(ext).3.4 praecipuum uxoriae fidei specimen (fides appropriate to a wife : again, their greatness consists in willingness of die in place of their husbands.)
Valerius Maximus Mem 1DE FIDE VXORVM ERGA VIROS Atque ut uxoriamquoque fidem attingamus, Tertia Aemilia, Africani prioris uxor, mater Corneliae Gracchorum, tantae fuit comitatis et patientiae… (Appropriate wifely fides again, introducing a list of memorable wives.)
2.b In a negative sense, generally implying disparagement of wives :
Tacitus Ann 1.7.24 per uxorium ambitum et senili adoptione... (Inappropriate wifely ambition.)
Lucius Afranius tog. (fr. incert.) 407 uxorium istud toxicum / mittas (‘Wifely poison’ – unfortunately we cannot be sure of the context.)
Ovid Ars 2.155 dos est uxoria lites (‘strife is a wifely dowry’– by comparison with the delightful relationship with the elegiac puella.)
Seneca de brevitate vitae 3.2 (Dial. 10.3.2) lis uxoria (‘wifely strife’ – in a list of things that might upset you, with what sort of allusion to Ovid Ars 2.155 I would not like to say !)
[Quintilian] Decl. Maior 2.7.13 quid, si huic uxoriae uilitati nouercale nomen adiungas ?(‘wifely cheapness’, or ‘flightiness’, in the context of women who engage in multiple relationships, especially after children.)
3. When applied to men, i.e. that a man is ‘belonging or pertaining to a wife’, generally in either (a) a strongly negative sense or (b), while acknowledging the negative expectation, with some degree of indulgence.
(a) Virgil Aen. 4.265-7 ‘tu nunc Karthaginis altae/ fundamenta locas pulchramque uxorius urbem/ exstruis ? heu, regni rerumque oblite tuarum ! (Aeneas is goaded by Mercury into leaving Dido.)
Servius ad A 4.266.2 43 uxorius : nimium uxori deditus uel seruiens, ut Horatius “uxorius amnis”. (Servius’ comment on previous entry, but see below, and the argument in Sharrock, A.R. (2013) ‘uxorius : the praise and blame of husbands’, Eugesta 3, that Horace’s line is less clearly negative than Virgil’s/Mercury’s.)
Servius ad A 8.373.14 praeterea Vulcanum uxorium fuisse testatur et ipse Vergilius dicens “tum pater aeterno fatur deuinctus amore” (Servius’ comment on Vulcan’s behaviour in getting up early to make armour for Venus’ illegitimate son.)
Juv. 6.206-8 si tibi simplicitas uxoria, deditus uni/est animus, summitte caput ceruice parata/ ferre iugum. (Ironic account of the subservient position of a devoted husband, in the context of a tirade against women, especially wives.)
[Quintilian] DeclMaior 2.14.8 genus infirmissimae seruitutis est senex maritus, et uxoriae caritatis ardorem flagrantius frigidis concipimus adfectibus. (‘Love for a wife’, but here presented negatively as servitude.)
(b) Hor. Carm. 1.2.17-20 Iliae dum se nimium querenti/ iactat ultorem, uagus et sinistra/ labitur ripa Ioue non probante u-/xorius amnis. (The flooding River Tiber is personified as a ‘river devoted to his wife’, Ilia.)
Seneca Con uxores ducant illa dicere : ’non sumus etiam nunc apti nuptiis.’ Ego contra refugio uxorem quia uxorius sum. (He refuses divorce in order to marry a different wife, because he is devoted to his wife.)
Statius Silv 5.1.31 nunc etiam ad planctus refugit iam plana cicatrix dum canimus, grauibusque oculis uxorius instat imber. habentne pios etiamnum haec lumina fletus ? mira fides ! (Tears described as a ‘wifely shower’, in a celebration of husbandly grief.)
[Quintilian] Decl 388.3.3 maritum uero nimium quoque uxorium (Praise of a young man in various masculine roles, in which he is described as an uxorius maritus. Although this is presented as excessive, the young man is explicitly forgiven for his extreme devotion.)

See A. Sharrock, “uxorius : the praise and blame of husbands”, Eugesta 3. (> Texte intégral / Full text pdf)

Pour citer cette fiche / To cite this entry
Référence électronique / Electronic reference
uxorius – Alison Sharrock (Manchester), EuGeStA Lexicon, 15 May 2014