Socrates was married to a woman of noble birth called Xanthippe, who as per Xenophon, his disciple, was not very satisfied with her husband’s profession. She would often complain about Socrates’s inefficiency to provide well for the family. Many believe that Socrates mentioned about his own unhappy marriage when he said the following sentence “If you find yourself a good wife, you’ll be happy. If not, you’ll become a philosopher”.
7. Socrates’s wife Xanthippe belonged to an aristocratic family
We know that Socrates’s philosophy about life was widely different than that of his wife. We also have some information relating to his wife who is believed to have taken birth in an aristocratic family. Xanthippe was born to affluent parents in Athens and her name translated to ‘blond horse’. In ancient Athens, most affluent families named their children after pet horses they bred at their homes. However, there are no real records to prove this fact.
There aren’t many records that write about personal facts about Socrates, but a handful of these do offer us some light on his life and marriage. According to some records, Socrates got married quite later in life, and was probably 30 years older than Xanthippe. As was the custom in ancient Greece, women entered the conjugal life at a very early stage. Thus, its pretty obvious that Xanthippe also married early. Socrates was 55 years old when his first born arrived in the world. When the philosopher took his last breath, his son Lamprocles was merely 18 years old.
This ancient Greek philosopher was quite bizarre in some of his habits. Some records say he could go on for days and nights without having food or water and could also survive harsh weathers like cold and extreme heat. One particular instance that mentions his weirdness shows how bizarre Socrates was in real life. It happened before the day an important battle was to take place that soldiers saw Socrates stand in the scorching heat for one full day without moving a bit.
The man sure was resilient to heat and could bear any harshness. Other records mention about him dancing all by himself in his house. He would also wear the same robe every season and would go on for days without bathing.
Unlike most writings that suggest Socrates was an uncaring husband and a father, he, in fact was quite opposite. He always had a great regard for women. Though, Xanthippe was a little hard on Socrates and would often complain about his profession, she always managed the household with whatever income Socrates brought in.
In one instance, their son Lamprocles got fed up with Xanthippe’s temper and complained this to Socrates to which the philosopher replied that for a mother who takes care of her children in sickness and brings them up, a little crankiness mustn’t be too much to bear for the children. He tried his best to soothe his son’s anger against his mother. This shows that Socrates was indeed in love with his family.