- Title Pages
- 1 Friends or Patrons?
- 2 Plutarch’s <i>Lives</i> and Their Roman Readers
- 3 Revisiting Plutarch’s Lives of the Caesars
- 4 Plutarch
- 5 Plutarch and Apollo of Delphi
- 6 Drinking, <i>Table Talk</i>, and Plutarch’s Contemporaries
- 7 Leading the Party, Leading the City
- 8 Before Pen Touched Paper
- 9 Plutarch’s Latin Reading
- 10 Plutarchan Prosopography
- 11 Plutarch and Trajanic Ideology
- 12 The Justice of Trajan in Pliny <i>Epistles</i> 10 and Plutarch
- 13 Plutarch’s Alexandrias
- 14 The Philosopher’s Ambition
- 15 Plutarch’s Lives
- 16 The Rhetoric of Virtue in Plutarch’s <i>Lives</i>
- 17 Paidagôgia pros to theion
- 18 Paradoxical Paradigms
- 19 Competition and its Costs
- 20 Parallels in Three Dimensions
- 21 Cato the Younger in the English Enlightenment
- 22 Alexander Hamilton’s Notes on Plutarch in His Paybook
- 23 Should we Imitate Plutarch’s Heroes?
- Index of Plutarchan Passages
- Index of non-Plutarchan Passages
- Index of Names
- Index of Topics
The Statesman as Moral Actor
- 15 Plutarch’s Lives
- Plutarch and his Roman Readers
Philip A. Stadter
- Oxford University Press
This chapter treats Plutarch’s creation of a genre of moral biography, based on a tension between his choice of statesmen famous for their political and military accomplishments and the presentation of them as moral actors. This new genre seems to grow from the need that had been previously expressed by Cicero in his De officiis book 3 and by Seneca in Epistle 94 for practical examples of difficult moral decisions. The predominantly theoretical approach of Hellenistic philosophers was important but avoided the hard issues, such as Cicero had seen in his own lifetime and faced after the assassination of Caesar. Plutarch’s presentation of examples drawn from history in three pairs, Cimon–Lucullus, Aristides–Cato Major, and Alexander–Caesar, meets this expectation by grounding moral thinking in historical action.
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.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.