Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Plutarch and his Roman Readers$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Philip A. Stadter

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718338

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718338.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 January 2021

The Philosopher’s Ambition

The Philosopher’s Ambition

Plutarch, Arrian, and Marcus Aurelius

(p.199) 14 The Philosopher’s Ambition
Plutarch and his Roman Readers

Philip A. Stadter

Oxford University Press

This chapter singles out three men from the second century AD who exalted the ideal of the philosopher ruler, and who themselves were honoured as philosophers: Plutarch, Arrian, and Marcus Aurelius. Their ambitions clearly combined the abstract and the practical, a desire to do what was right and noble and to be honoured for doing so. Yet that pursuit of honour, that philotimia, gave birth to inner tensions and contradictory desires that tended to destabilize their philosophic world-view. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius shows that he was troubled by a desire for fame which he knew to be useless, and by the emptiness of death: he longed for a guarantee that the gods would bless him after death and his fame would continue. Arrian too was driven by a desire for glory, while hoping to benefit others. Plutarch’s ambition was to accept Plato’s challenge and educate the political elite, from which he too hoped to win honour.

Keywords:   Plutarch, Arrian, Marcus Aurelius, philosopher, ambition, philotimia, honour, leader, Meditations

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .