Plutarch – biography, works and philosophical thought –

Plutarch, a cultured and well-versed man, studied mathematics and philosophy at the Academy, although if something marked Plutarch’s life it was the multiple trips he made throughout his life, whether they were of a cultural nature, making him a great historian or with a diplomatic character, as procurator of the province of Achaea, If you want to know more about this great historical character, stay with us and enjoy Plutarch – biography, works and philosophical thought.

Plutarch biography

Plutarch was born in the womb of a wealthy family in the city of Chaeronea in the Beoci regionto between AD 45 and 50. The exact year is not known, all that is known of his biography it is because he himself has mentioned it in some of his works, such as the name of his great-grandfather Nicarco when he relates the consequences of the battle of Accio, of his grandfather Lamprias who appears in the Tabletop Talks or his own father Autobulo and his taste for hunting.

Plutarch I had two Lampria brothers, who was a priest and Rudder. In his youth he made different trips well for cultural reasons where he would know places as remote as Alexandria and Asia Minor as diplomats. It is believed that maintained contact with the philosophical movementss of the time especially with a new movement called Second Sophistica whose center was at Esmerin, a city that Plutarch would surely visit on these trips.

Another trip that marked and influenced Plutarch was his visit to Rome, the Empire surprised and fascinated him, so much so that his knowledge allowed him to serve as an interlocutor between the Greeks and Rome. Little by little he managed to gain a name and prestige that led him to positions as important as Priest of the Oracle of Delphi.

Plutarch thanks to his friend Lucio Maestrio Floro, got Roman citizenship. Lucius was a Roman consul from whom Plutarch would take his Roman name, becoming Lucius Master Plutarch. According to what historians like Jorge Sincelo tell us, Emperor Hadrian himself appointed him procurator of the province of Achaia, although this fact has never been confirmed.

In spite of everything, Plutarch always he preferred to reside in his hometown in Chaeronea, where all his family had lived centuries ago and place where he died about 120 AD

Plutarch’s works

Despite having multiple obligations both as a priest such as his possible political activities, his true passion was writing. As a writer he was one of the last representatives of Hellenism Perhaps influenced by his trip to the city of Esmerina, he was a historian and, above all, a moralist writer.

The plays most important of Plutarch are:

  • Parallel lives
  • Moralia – Moral and Customs Works

Parallel lives

Parallel Lives account lA biography of 23 pairs of relevant characters, both Greek and Roman. These stories are grouped in pairswith the purpose of make comparisons between one figure and another, each one from a different culture.

It is perhaps his best-known work, although much of it has been lost. His original form confront a famous Greek character with another Romanserved to publicize both the virtues and the defects of these. Until our days have come twenty-three pairs of these biographiesamong others 4 mismatched biographies.

Plutarch’s interest in writing these biographies was not so much their historical character, but cKnow the personality and character of the character and how it influenced both his life and his destiny. Among the most famous biographies of him is The Life of Alexanderwhere Plutarch describes events and anecdotes that we do not find in any other story.

Other important data What we have been able to obtain from Plutarch’s accounts is information on what the original Roman calendar was like. Other works belonging to these stories have been lost, as is the case of The Life of Heracles and Philip II of Macedonia, other works are incomplete.

Moralia – Moral and Customs Works

In the moral works Plutarch write during different times 78 treated where they are collected platonic type discussionsalways using philosophy as a means of expression and rhetorical ethical discourses. Moralia was not the name that Plutarch gave to his stories, but what he called the Byzantine monk Planudes in the thirteenth century to compilation of scattered texts of Plutarch.

For this reason, Moralia is a set of texts aimed at different topics where we find parts of his biography but all seen in the form of ethics or politics where the intelligence of the Greeks as a virtue and the Roman political organization stood out.

writings about Theology as De Defectu Oraculorum, philosophy, sciencethe Epicureanism as Non posse suaviter vivi secundum Epicurum. The rejection of Stoicism with De Stoicorum repugnantibus. writings about zoology or pedagogy where he will defend reading and writing as the basis of knowledge. briefs about history such as De fortuna Romanorum, De gloria Atheniensium.

Plutarch’s Philosophical Thought

With the beginning of 1st century AD. the intellectual currents begin to be renewed and specifically a new current begins to developthis new trend was based on the Plato’s thoughts but adding new features.

This new current was called Middle Platonism and served as link between the philosophy of the Academy and the Neoplatonism. Within this new current of Middle Platonism, we have Plutarch as the most representative figure.

Plutarch had a clear influence of skepticism and neopythagoreanism. Sign opponent of superstitions however if he coined an important faith in prophecies or revelations. His notion of God was of a kind being although he would never maintain contact with humans. For Plutarch The way to reach God is through philosophical meditationeven reaching reverie or what would later be called ecstasy.

With these meditations we would achieve small contacts with God, when our soul is released is when God becomes your guide and in his king, passing the human being to depend on him. Plutarch’s conception of evil is reflected in his philosophical reflections, where evil exists but not with origin in God, who is all goodness. evil It is the result of the world and those of us who live in it. Thus Plutarch tries to exclude the gods as the cause of evil.

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