Plutarch and His Roman Readers

Stadter, P. (2015) Plutarch and His Roman Readers. Oxford.

In his Parallel Lives, Plutarch presented to educated Greek and Roman readers, but especially to leading men of the Roman imperial administration, the moral issues he recognized behind political leadership. The chapters in this book examine his presentation of these issues and relate his writings to the audience of elite Roman readers which Plutarch aimed to influence and to the larger social and political context of the Roman empire. This book demonstrates that Plutarch believed that men like Sosius Senecio, a close associate of the emperor Trajan and the dedicatee of the Parallel Lives, especially needed and would appreciate and benefit from his insights into the biographies of the great leaders of Greece and Rome. A final section considers the eighteenth-century reception of Plutarch’s Lives by Joseph Addison and Alexander Hamilton, and proposes that the Lives contain much that contemporary readers can profitably use to evaluate current political leaders and policies.

Oxford University Press