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Title: Moralising in the Parallel Lives of Plutarch
Author: Duff, T. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1994
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Abstract:
The focus of my thesis is this question: in what ways are Plutarch's Lives moralising texts? My contention is that the Lives are moralistic, but it is a moralism which does not simply affirm the norms of Plutarch's society and Plutarch's own value-system; rather it is, in some Lives at least, exploratory and challenging. A second contention is that the Lives must be read in the pairs in which they were published. The first part of my thesis includes a theoretical analysis of the place of moralising within the ancient historiographical tradition, and an exposition of Plutarch's own statements as regards his work - key passages for our understanding of ancient conceptions of historiography and biography. The central chapters contain close readings of three problematic Plutarchan texts, the Phocion Cato Minor, Lysander-Sulla and Coliolanus-Alcibiades. The second part of my thesis seeks to place Plutarch's work within the context of the second-century world. In this section, I examine Plutarch's Lives of Julius Caesar, Galba and Otho alongside the biographies of the same figures by Suetonius: even when dealing with Roman sources, Plutarch brings to bear upon his material a moral outlook which is drawn, partly at least, from the age of Classical Greece, in particular from Plato. Throughout the Lives, Roman figures are evaluated by means of Greek ethical concepts. This self-confident response to Rome is seen also in the very structure of the Lives, in which Greek figures are paired with Roman; a final chapter analyses this paired structure and demonstrates, by a detailed study of the Pyrrhus-Marius that no Life can properly be understood without its partner.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.598667  DOI: Not available
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