Montesquieu

Usbek to his wives in the sera­glio in Isfahan


May this let­ter fall like light­ning amidst fla­shes and tem­pests ! Solim is your prin­ci­pal eunuch, not to guard you, but to punish you. May the entire harem bow before him ; he is to judge your past actions, and for the future he will make you live under a yoke so harsh that you will miss your free­dom even if you do not miss your vir­tue.1

Paris this 4th day of the moon of Chahban 1719

Extension of an opposition voiced by Solim (letter 143) : “if your wives were not virtuous, at least they would be faithful.”