Plutarch, Keeping Well & Other New Articles at LacusCurtius

17 July 2008


A new text by Plutarch of Chaeronea: Advice about Keeping Well (De tuenda sanitate), which Bill Thayer (who puts online the moral treatises of Plutarch) calls his “favorite item so far”. Plutarch is giving common-sense advice on rational living, and much that he has to say in regard to rest, exercise, and diet is in accord with the best medical practice of the present day.

But that’s not all. Several useful items from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica: Iconoclasts, Idrisi (whose Book of Roger was already available), Illyricum, and the great German Altertumswissenschaftler Theodor Mommsen, who may be called the founder of ancient history as a well-organized discipline (picture).

I continue to move (and rewrite) pages on Livius.Org: Salamis, Sentinum, Kneblinghausen.

Plutarch, On Superstition

15 July 2008

Plutarch, bust from the museum of Delphi.

Again a treatise by Plutarch online at LacusCurtius: this time, the Sage of Chaeronea tackles superstition, trying to prove that it is worse than atheism. The full Greek text of his sermon is here; the English translation is here. I think it is the treatise with the most quotations from older sources in classical Greek literature.

Also available: brief items on the Judicati Actio (from Smith’s Dictionary) and the Boeotian town Abae.

More Plutarch Online (3)

30 June 2008

Plutarch, bust from the museum of Delphi.

Plutarch‘s essay On Having Many Friends (Περὶ πολυφιλίας) may possibly have been offered on some occasion as a lecture, but there is nothing to prove or disprove this assumption. From what we know of Plutarch’s relations to his friends we can well believe that he was singularly happy in his friendships, and hence well fitted to speak on the subject. He was familiar, too, with the literature dealing with friendship, and the result is an essay well worth reading. Cicero’s essay De amicitia may profitably be compared with Plutarch’s.

More Plutarch Online (2)

27 June 2008

Plutarch, bust from the museum of Delphi.

Several other texts from Plutarch’s Moralia were added to LacusCurtius:

As the editor of the third text dryly notes, “The modern bride will undoubtedly turn up her nose and shake her independent head in disapproval of Plutarch’s suggestions about subordinating herself to her husband”. Having seen that Sex and the City movie recently, I’m not so certain about the modern bride: the girls’ only aims appear to be finding & keeping a man. So much for independence, these days. Maybe uncle Plutarch was right, after all.

Plutarch, Consolation to his Wife

24 June 2008

Plutarch, bust from the museum of Delphi.

A list of ancient Greek texts that have been read throughout the ages will probably include Homer’s Iliad, the New Testament, philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, Euclid’s Elements, the classic Athenian tragedians, HerodotusHistories, and Plutarch‘s Consolation to his Wife (Consolatio ad uxorem). It was written after a daughter of two years old had died – a shocking event in any age.

This famous text is now online at LacusCurtius, with an excellent introduction that shows that the text contains all traditional motifs that were supposed to be in a text of this kind, and that Plutarch was able to treat these ideas with great freedom. It is this mastery that makes the text a classic.

More Plutarch online

24 June 2008

Plutarch, bust from the museum of Delphi.

As I could write in this blog several days ago, LacusCurtius’ Bill Thayer recently added The Education of Children to his website. Since then, he has added three more essays by the Sage of Chaeronea:

  1. On Listening to Lectures (De Auditu)
  2. Can Virtue be Taught? (An virtus doceri possit)
  3. Λακαινῶν Ἀποφθέγματα

The English translation of the third text, Sayings of Spartan Women, was already available. I must confess that I think it is not the greatest text Plutarch ever wrote, and many classicists believe that his collections of “sayings of…” were not meant for publication. The two first texts, on the other hand, are certainly worth a brief look.

Plutarch, On the Education of Children

22 June 2008

Plutarch, bust from the museum of Delphi.

The brief treatise On the Education of Children (De liberis educandis) is the very first text in the collected works of the Greek author Plutarch (photo), but it was probably not written by the Sage of Chaeronea. Nevertheless, it is interesting -albeit slightly disorganized- and humane. The author offers some commonsensical advise, and a lot of it is in fact, quite appropriately, about educating fathers:

Fathers ought above all, by not misbehaving and by doing as they ought to do, to make themselves a manifest example to their children, so that the latter, by looking at their fathers’ lives as at a mirror, may be deterred from disgraceful deeds and words.

In our age, we might add the mothers as well, but let’s face it: what else is there to be said about education?


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