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A Commentary on Plutarch's

A Commentary on Plutarch's: De latenter vivendo

Volume: 1
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 279
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  • Book Info
    A Commentary on Plutarch's
    Book Description:

    Plutarch's De latenter vivendo is the only extant work from Antiquity in which Epicurus' famous ideal of an 'unnoticed life' (lathe biosas) is thematised as such. Moreover, the short rhetorical work provides a lot of interesting information about Plutarch's polemical strategies and about his own philosophical convictions in the domains of ethics, politics, metaphysics, and eschatology. In this book, Plutarch's anti-Epicurean polemic is understood against the background of the previous philosophical tradition. An examination of Epicurus' own position is followed by a discussion of Plutarch's polemical predecessors (Timocrates, Cicero, the early Stoics, and Seneca) and contemporaries (Epictetus), and by a systematical and detailed analysis of Plutarch's own arguments. The lemmatic commentary offers additional information and parallel passages (both from Plutarch's own works and from others authors) that cast a new light on the text.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-019-0
    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. Epicurus and the Epicurean tradition
      (pp. 17-42)

      The story of this book begins at the end of the fourth, or the beginning of the third, century b.c. At about that moment, Epicurus formulated his famous advice to ‘live unnoticed’ (λάθε βιώσας; fr. 551 Us.). This advice was based on his sincere conviction that happiness could best be reached by avoiding a brilliant career¹. It is neither the famous politicians nor the celebrated orators who should be regarded as paradigms worthy of imitation, but the man who quietly enjoys the uncomplicated pleasures of a simple and sequestered life. As a rule, this preference for an ‘unnoticed life’ should...

    • 2. The anti-Epicurean tradition before Plutarch
      (pp. 43-84)

      If Timocrates undoubtedly occupies a special place in the rich history of anti-Epicurean polemical literature, this is not because he brought forward the best arguments against the philosophy of his previous master, nor even because he was his first opponent (Eudoxus of Cnidus and his followers at Cyzicus were probably earlier). No, he holds his prominent place mainly due to two reasons. First of all, as D. Sedley has convincingly argued¹, Timocrates’ criticism has exerted a strong and lasting influence on later generations. Elements that can probably be traced back to his campaign of slander indeed prove to return again...

    • 3. Plutarch’s De latenter vivendo
      (pp. 85-182)

      Plutarch hardly needs an introduction. The scarce biographical data which we can recover from his own works and from other sources have been intensively studied and enable us to catch at least a glimpse of the author¹. We can follow his traces on his journeys to Rome and Italy, Alexandria, and Asia Minor; we again find him back in the company of the Platonist Ammonius and may visit him most of the time at his home in Chaeronea. We finally witness how he later in his life divided his time between his little hometown, an unimportant hole (albeit with a...

    (pp. 183-222)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 223-246)
  8. Indices