Plutarch's Maxime cum principibus philosopho esse disserendum

Plutarch's Maxime cum principibus philosopho esse disserendum: An Interpretation with Commentary

Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 252
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  • Book Info
    Plutarch's Maxime cum principibus philosopho esse disserendum
    Book Description:

    The question of the political relevance of philosophy, and of the role which the philosopher should play in the government of his state, was often discussed in Antiquity. Plato’s ideal of the philosopher-king is well-known, but was precisely his failure to realise his political ideal in Syracuse not the best argument against the philosopher’s political engagement? Nevertheless, Plato’s ideal remained attractive for later Greek thinkers. This is illustrated, for instance, by one of Plutarch’s short political works, in which he tries to demonstrate that the philosopher should especially associate with powerful rulers, because he can in this way exert the greatest positive influence on his society and at the same time maximise his personal pleasure. This study provides a thorough analysis of Plutarch’s Maxime cum principibus philosopho esse disserendum. A lengthy general introduction deals with the author and the text and discusses each step in Plutarch’s argumentation in detail. A systematic lemmatic commentary then provides a systematic complement to the previous analysis of the work, dealing with many problems of textual criticism, explaining all kinds of realia, and discussing a great number of passages through parallels from Plutarch’s own oeuvre and from other authors.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-011-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 7-7)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. 8-14)

    • 1. The first steps in the analysis of Maxime cum principibus
      (pp. 17-30)

      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 reason, the young Plutarch managed to accomplish the whole affair alone, and when he was about to make his report, his father advised him to associate his unfortunate colleague in everything in his report¹

      This successful outcome was only the...

    • 2. Two further stepping-stones
      (pp. 31-70)

      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-pedagogical project which aims at gradually initiating the reader into the mysteries of philosophy² and tries to educate him in intellectual understanding and moral virtue through a maieutic dialogical process in which independent thinking and critical (self-)evaluation is greatly...

    • 3. Plutarch’s argument in Maxime cum principibus
      (pp. 71-144)

      The opening sentence ofMaxime cum principibusis 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 and of his humanity, and shows himself as the true politician (776AB). In spite of the text corruption, there can be little doubt that the friendship in question is that of the philosopher and the ruler. Indeed, this friendship proves to be useful and...

    (pp. 145-192)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 193-216)
  8. Indices