Plutarch's Maxime cum principibus philosopho esse disserendum
An Interpretation with Commentary
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Leuven University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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In his Political precepts, Plutarch tells of how many great politicians began their career by attaching themselves to a famous statesman and how they later cherished and honoured their teachers, “enhancing in turn with their own radiance, and illuminating, like the heavenly bodies that face the sun, that which caused themselves to shine” (805f-806a, transl. H.N. Fowler). Although...
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Plutarch was a political animal. After all, we have relatively little information about his life, but active involvement in political affairs seems to have been an uninterrupted refrain from his youth to old age. A charming anecdote informs us about his early political experiences as an envoy to the proconsul of Achaea. When his colleague was left behind for some...
1.The first steps in the analysis of Maxime cum principibus
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For more than one reason, Greek παιδεία gains in the person and works of Plutarch of Chaeronea one of its greatest triumphs. First of all, it is well known that Plutarch uses the degree of familiarity with Greek culture as an essential standard in his evaluation of his heroes1. Secondly, most of Plutarch’s writings somehow play a part in his own philosophical...
2.Two further stepping-stones
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For more than one reason, Greek mπαιδεία gains in the person and works of Plutarch of Chaeronea one of its greatest triumphs. First of all, it is well known that Plutarch uses the degree of familiarity with Greek culture as an essential standard in his evaluation of his heroes1. Secondly, most of Plutarch’s...
3.Plutarch’s argument in Maxime cum principibus
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The opening sentence of Maxime cum principibus is carefully composed. With regard to content, it falls into two sections of unequal length. The first part of the sentence, written in a circumstantial and high style, immediately introduces Plutarch’s own position: the philosopher who strikes up a friendship with a ruler proves his love of honourable things...
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By associating with rulers, the philosopher provides evidence of his love of what is honourable (φιλοκαλία), his political spirit, and his love of mankind (φιλανθρωπία). Some people (ἔνιοι) rather claim that such an association is a token of ambition, but they are ambitious themselves. A politician who needs philosophy should...
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Page Count: 252
Publication Year: 2009