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Bust, believed to represent Plutarch
Nussbaum alludes to the fact that philosophy’s unique skills are meant to help us express our experiences, situations, or emotions in a way that releases some of the unhappiness we obtain from them thereby guiding us towards better lives (Soccio)....
If the reader of this article has the impression that Plutarch is a boring moralist, he is mistaken. Plutarch's sincere interest in his subjects as human beings makes the very readable and explains why they have found so many readers - both ancient and modern. The ultimate tribute to Plutarch was paid by a twelfth-century official of the church, John Mauropos, who prayed that on the Day of Judgment, when all non-Christians would be sent to hell, God would save the soul of the Sage of Chaeronea.
Plutarch's Morals: Theosophical Essays, tr
Plutarch's oeuvre can be divided into two parts: the biographies () and the remainder, which is usually called the or . This second group is a varied collection of literary criticism, declamations, ethical essays, advice, polemics, political writing, conversation and consolation. Although there is much variation among these treatises, it is clear that its author aimed at the moral education of his readers (e.g. in works with titles like , , ).
In the , Plutarch mentions four sons and we know that at least two survived childhood. It has often been remarked that in his many publications, Plutarch shows that he was devoted to his parents, grandfather, brothers, his wife Timoxena, and to their children, but this is of course an impression that every author wants to convey.
Anthologies Warner, Charles D., ed
In the two first decades of the second century, he studied and wrote many books. According to an incomplete third-century catalogue, there were between 200 and 300 titles. These books brought him international fame, and the home of the famous author became a private school for young philosophers. He was often visited by Greeks and Romans, although not necessarily to study philosophy. The emperor may have been one of the visitors (winter 113/114?), and it may have been on this occasion that Trajan honored Plutarch with the ornaments of a consul, an important award. From now on, Plutarch was allowed to wear a golden ring and a white toga with a border made of purple.
In his treatise , Plutarch tells us that he occupied an office in the holy city Delphi, and he is known to have become one of the two permanent priests, responsible for the interpretation of the inspired utterances of the Pythia, the prophetess of Delphi. In these years, a library was built near the sanctuary, and it is tempting to assume that Plutarch was behind this initiative.
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Plutarch's biographies, dedicated to Quintus Socius Senecio, are in fact moral treatises too. He describes the careers of a Greek and a Roman, and compares them - an idea Plutarch copied from Cornelius Nepos. For example, in the /, he describes the lives of the founders of Athens and Rome, and in a brief epilogue penetrates into their respective characters. Another example is the comparison of and , an Athenian and a Roman who were both sent into exile. The result is not only an entertaining biography, but also a better understanding of a morally exemplary person, which the reader can use for his own moral improvement.
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Plutarch died after his procuratorship, which was in 119, and before 125. The year 122 is just guesswork. The Delphians and Chaeroneans ordered statues to be erected for their famous citizen.
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Because Plutarch's moral judgment is more important than his historical judgment, he sometimes makes odd errors (e.g., praising Pompey's trustworthy character and tactful behavior), but he is not a bad historian. For example, unlike his Roman contemporary , he sums up all his moral anecdotes in a more or less chronological sequence. (Suetonius does not adhere to this principle.) To return to Alexander: most authors of books on the king took their material from either the 'vulgate' tradition (which follows a biographer called ) or from the 'good' tradition (which follows , one of Alexander's generals). Plutarch, on the other hand, tells his own, moral story and takes elements from both traditions.
Texts - Essays, Moral and Political (1741-42, 1777)
Among his friends was Lucius Mestrius Florus, a during the reign of , and Plutarch's guide during his visit to Cremona, where two important battles had been fought in 69, the year of the four emperors , , , and . Mestrius also secured the Roman citizenship for Plutarch, whose official name now became Mestrius Plutarchus. At the end of his life, he was honored with the of Achaea, an important office that he probably held only in name. His involvement in the Roman world, although from a carefully maintained distance, explains why he shows so much interest in the history of Rome. Nevertheless, he was slow to learn Latin.
A Critical Study of the Chronology of Siddhas
others that be lascivious and untameable, live longer lives than the intelligent and sagacious kinds. Hence, they do not well to make God's eternity result from the guarding against and repulsion of the causes of destruction; because the freedom from passion and from corruptibility must necessarily exist in the nature of the Blessed One, and stand in need of no exertion on his part. But, perhaps, to talk of people behind their backs is not very polite; and therefore Cleombrotus, who lately dropped the word about the 'flight and migration of dæmons,' has a right to resume the subject."
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