« Prev Introduction.  Modesty in Apparel Becoming to… Next »


On the Apparel of Women.7979    [Written about a.d. 202.  See Kaye, p. 56.]

Book I.

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.]


Chapter I.—Introduction.  Modesty in Apparel Becoming to Women, in Memory of the Introduction of Sin into the World Through a Woman.

If there dwelt upon earth a faith as great as is the reward of faith which is expected in the heavens, no one of you at all, best beloved sisters, from the time that she had first “known the Lord,”8080    Comp. Heb. viii. 11; Jer. xxxi. 34 (in the LXX. it is xxxviii. 34). and learned (the truth) concerning her own (that is, woman’s) condition, would have desired too gladsome (not to say too ostentatious) a style of dress; so as not rather to go about in humble garb, and rather to affect meanness of appearance, walking about as Eve mourning and repentant, in order that by every garb of penitence8181    Satisfactionis. she might the more fully expiate that which she derives from Eve,—the ignominy, I mean, of the first sin, and the odium (attaching to her as the cause) of human perdition.  “In pains and in anxieties dost thou bear (children), woman; and toward thine husband (is) thy inclination, and he lords it over thee.”8282    Comp. Gen. iii. 16, in Eng. ver. and in LXX.  And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve?  The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age:8383    Sæculo.  the guilt must of necessity live too.  You are the devil’s gateway:  you are the unsealer8484    Resignatrix.  Comp. the phrase “a fountain sealed” in Cant. iv. 12. of that (forbidden) tree:  you are the first deserter of the divine law:  you are she who persuaded8585    “Suasisti” is the reading of the mss.; “persuasisti,” a conjectural emendation adopted by Rig. him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack.  You destroyed so easily God’s image, man.  On account of your desert—that is, death—even the Son of God had to die.  And do you think about adorning yourself over and above your tunics of skins?8686    See Gen. iii. 21.  Come, now; if from the beginning of the world8787    Rerum. the Milesians sheared sheep, and the Serians8888    i.e., Chinese. spun trees, and the Tyrians dyed, and the Phrygians embroidered with the needle, and the Babylonians with the loom, and pearls gleamed, and onyx-stones flashed; if gold itself also had already issued, with the cupidity (which accompanies it), from the ground; if the mirror, too, already had licence to lie so largely, Eve, expelled from paradise, (Eve) already dead, would also have coveted these things, I imagine!  No more, then, ought she now to crave, or be acquainted with (if she desires to live again), what, when she was living, she had neither had nor known.  Accordingly these things are all the baggage of woman in her condemned and dead state, instituted as if to swell the pomp of her funeral.

« Prev Introduction.  Modesty in Apparel Becoming to… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection