Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses first the general cosmological principles which lie behind Plutarch’s historiographical work, such as can be recovered through significant passages of his Delphic Dialogues. Second, it investigates the reasons why Plutarch wrote biographies, and more specifically parallel biographies, instead of outright histories: in this way, Plutarch aimed to emphasize, on the one hand, the dominant role of individual personalities in the political world of his own time, and, on the other hand, the mutual and exclusive relevance of Greece and Rome in the history of human culture. Third, the chapter seeks to connect the rise-and-fall pattern, typical of biography, with the general rise-and-fall pattern which Plutarch recognizes both in the Greek and in the Roman civilizations; through that connection one can rule out the idea that Plutarch had any providential view of history. Finally, some reflections are offered on Nietzsche’s special interest in Plutarch’s biographies.

Keywords: cosmology, historiography, biography, parallelism, rise-and-fall pattern, providential history

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.