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"Then Our Symposium Becomes a Grammar School": Grammarians in Plutarch’s Table Talk

From: Syllecta Classica
Volume 24 (2013)
pp. 145-171 | 10.1353/syl.2013.0014



This article investigates Plutarch’s depiction of grammarians as symposiasts in the Table Talk. Plutarch is unusual in making grammarians part of his ideal sympotic society, but their inclusion meshes with his larger interest in handling diversity within a symposium. Plutarch’s narratives illustrate the intellectual and social limitations of grammarian guests and model techniques for keeping them within bounds. At the same time, they hint at the experience of grammarians in this privileged site of elite culture. Intellectually circumscribed, socially vulnerable, and treated as junior partners, Plutarch’s grammarians nonetheless assert themselves in ways that resist outside views of their discipline.

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