A Companion to Plutarch

A Companion to Plutarch

Language: English

Pages: 644

ISBN: 1405194316

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A Companion to Plutarch offers a broad survey of the famous historian and biographer; a coherent, comprehensive, and elegant presentation of Plutarch’s thought and influence


  • Constitutes the first survey of its kind, a unified and accessible guide that offers a comprehensive discussion of all major aspects of Plutarch’s oeuvre
  • Provides essential background information on Plutarch’s world, including his own circle of influential friends (Greek and Roman), his travels, his political activity, and his relations with Trajan and other emperors
  • Offers contextualizing background, the literary and cultural details that shed light on some of the fundamental aspects of Plutarch’s thought
  • Surveys the ideologically crucial reception of the Greek Classical Period in Plutarch’s writings
  • Follows the currents of recent serious scholarship, discussing perennial interests, and delving into topics and works not formerly given serious attention




















ethical principles found also in his essays and dialogues. Plutarch held the Platonic view that a monarch should be devoted to the welfare of his people and establish justice, harmony, and peace in his kingdom.28 He presents Numa and Lycurgus as being just such kings, though in different ways. In Dion, he describes the ideal king, a ruler who would conform his character to the principle of virtue and render it similar to the most divine and holy model of reality which guides the universe from

Plutarch uses the word “sophistic” a number of times to denote deceptive, ruthless, or amoral behavior: Sertorius is said to be “a clever sophist in maneuvers which required speed, deceit, and falsehood” (Sertorius 10.4; cf. the juxtaposition “deceitful and sophistic” (apatēla kai sophistika) at Alexander 62.7). In a number of Spartan anecdotes, anonymous “sophists” are presented as foils for their interlocutors; the Spartans are depicted as reserved and taciturn, the sophists are all talk and no

both pupil and instructor found profitable, tolerable, and affordable. Some few would emerge from it to set up as philosophical instructors in their own right; most would pass on to whatever adult career in public life and the management of business and property their family circumstances and fortunes dictated. For the latter group, as indeed for those who had gone along the rhetorical rather than the philosophical route in their higher education, there will have been no difficulty in maintaining

Plutarch and Epicureanism 119 5  See Westman (1955). 6  The translations of the Plutarchan passages discussed are taken from the Loeb editions, with some modifications. 7  See Kechagia (2011). 8  For Plutarch’s use of the Republic and the Platonic undertones in the Non posse see Warren (2011). 9  See Warren (2011). 10  See Gosling and Taylor (1982) 365–396; Purinton (1993). 11  For example, Adv. Col. 1126A–E. See Roskam (2009) for a discussion of Plutarch’s r­ eferences to the political deeds

tradition that had Plato at his core. But in what sense is it necessary to understand the statement that epoche and akatalepsia lead back to these doctrines? In order to respond to this question, it is crucial to consider what it is, according to Plutarch, that links together the four philosophers mentioned – Plato, Socrates, Parmenides, Heraclitus. What connects them is a dualist approach. This emerges clearly in the discussion of Parmenides and Plato (and also of Socrates), and this is what we

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