Hubert M. Martin, Jr.
University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA
The Greek biographer, essayist, and Academic philosopher Plutarch was born about AD 45, during the reign of the emperor Claudius, in the Boeotian town of Chaeronea, which was located approximately eighty miles northwest of Athens and had been the site of two impor tant battles, the victory of Philip of Macedon over the Athenians and Thebans in 338 BC and that of the Roman general Sulla over Midiridates of Pontus in 86 BC.1 After completing his education in Athens with the study of philosophy under the Platonist Ammonius, Plutarch returned to Chaeronea, where he founded a philosophical academy of his own, played a leading role in the public life of his native town, and continued to reside until his death soon after 120 during Hadrian's reign. Awarded both Roman and Athenian citizen ship, Plutarch also served for many years as a priest of Apollo at
* Inasmuch as the following (invaluable) secondary sources constitute an appro
priate point of departure for all further investigation of Plutarch and his works, their
consultation is universally recommended and they will not normally be cited again:
K. Ziegler, “Plutarchos von Chaeroneia”, in Pauly-Wissowa's Reakm.zyklopad.it der
klassischen Altertumswissenschafi 21.1 (1951), pp. 636–962 and the introductions and
notes in W. C. Helmbold et al. (trans, and eds.), Plutarch's Moralia (vols. 6–9, 11–15;
LCL; London: Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1939–69);
R. Flacelière et at. (eds. and trans.), Plutarque: Vies (16 vols.; Budé; Paris: Société
d'édition “Les Belles Lettres”, 1957–83); and J. Defradas, R. Flacelière et al. (eds.
and trans.), Plutarque: Oeuvres morales (11 vols.; Budé; Paris: Société d'édition “Les
Belles Lettres”, 1972—). All translations of Plutarch and of the Moralia tides, the
latter with occasional modifications, are those of the LCL.
1 Plutarch the man is not easily separated from Plutarch the writer. On his life,
times, and works, see R. H. Barrow, Plutarch and His Times (Bloomington and London:
Indiana University Press, 1967); C. P.Jones, Plutarch and Rome (Oxford: Oxford Uni
versity Press, 1971); D. A. Russell, Plutarch (New York: Scribners, 1973)—and, for
brief surveys, A. Lesky, A History of Greek Literature (trans. J. Willis and C. de Heer;
New York: Crowell, 1966), pp. 819–29; J. R. Hamilton, Plutarch. Alexander: A
Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. xiii-lxix passim; C. B. R.
Pelling, Plutarch: Life of Antony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988),