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  1. Plutarch and the Historical Tradition by Philip A. Stadter
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  3. Plutarch, Herodotus, and the Historian’s Character*

Plutarch and the Historical Tradition by Philip A. Stadter

A Delphic inscription reveals that he possessed Roman citizenship; his nomen , or family name , Mestrius, was no doubt adopted from his friend Lucius Mestrius Florus, a Roman consul. Plutarch traveled widely, visiting central Greece, Sparta , Corinth, Patrae Patras , Sardis, and Alexandria , but he made his normal residence at Chaeronea , where he held the chief magistracy and other municipal posts and directed a school with a wide curriculum in which philosophy, especially ethics , occupied the central place.

In the Consolatio to his wife, Timoxena, on the death of their infant daughter, he mentions four sons; of those at least two survived childhood, and he may have had other children. The order of composition cannot be determined. By exhibiting noble deeds and characters, they were also to provide model patterns of behaviour.


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The Lives display impressive learning and research. Many sources are quoted, and, though Plutarch probably had not consulted all those at first hand, his investigations were clearly extensive, and compilation must have occupied many years. The form of the Lives represented a new achievement, not closely linked with either previous biography or Hellenistic history.

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The general scheme was to give the birth, youth and character, achievements, and circumstances of death, interspersed with frequent ethical reflections, but the details varied with both the subject and the available sources, which include anecdote mongers and writers of memoirs as well as historians. Plutarch never claimed to be writing history, which he distinguished from biography. His aim was to delight and edify the reader, and he did not conceal his own sympathies, which were especially evident in his warm admiration for the words and deeds of Spartan kings and generals.

His virulent and unfair attack on Herodotus , the Greek historian of the 5th century bce , probably sprang from his feeling that Herodotus had done Athens more and Boeotia less than justice.


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    Plutarch, Herodotus, and the Historian’s Character*

    Add to cart Buy now. Sign in to add to Wish List. These essays, by experts in the field from five countries, examine Plutarch's interpretative and artistic reshaping of his historical sources in representative lives. Diverse essays treat literary elements such as the parallelism which renders a pair of lives a unit or the themes which unify the lives. Others consider the selecting, combining, simplifying, and enlarging employed in composition.

    The construction of a Plutarchian life, the essays demonstrate, required careful selection and creative reworking of the historical material available. Kortext is an ebook and etextbook provider for universities, university students and for anyone who loves to read. We have a wide range of , ebooks in our portfolio and the number of titles are increasing daily. We offer a free ebook reader to download with our books where users can freely make notes, highlight texts and do citations and save them in their accounts.

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