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Plutarch and his Roman Readers$
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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

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Plutarch’s Lives and Their Roman Readers

Plutarch’s Lives and Their Roman Readers

(p.45) 2 Plutarch’s Lives and Their Roman Readers
Plutarch and his Roman Readers

Philip A. Stadter

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that in his Parallel Lives Plutarch addressed elite Roman readers, those who held leadership roles, as well as leading Greeks. Glosses to Latin words and explanations of Roman customs are inserted for literary purposes and are not evidence that Plutarch wrote for an exclusively Greek audience. The chapter argues against taking Quiet of Mind 470C or the Rules for Politicians as evidence that Plutarch discouraged Greeks from political activity at the imperial level., Plutarch took as his model Plato, who attempted to educate the tyrant Dionysius II, and so tried to educate Roman imperial administrators. The Solon-Publicola pair presents Solon as a philosophic adviser to the people and to Peisistratus and Croesus, and Publicola as a statesman who expelled a tyrant and was a leader loved by the populace. The lives of the Gracchi, which demonstrate that statesmen who are well-intentioned can act for the worse under pressure of men and circumstances, would have meaning for a Roman audience who had lived through upheavals under Galba and Nerva, down to the time of Trajan

Keywords:   Plutarch, Gracchi, reader, populace, leader, Quiet of Mind, Rules for Politicians, Solon, Publicola, Trajan

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