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Distributed for University College Dublin Press

The Female Principle in Plutarch’s Moralia

Our knowledge of Cleopatra, the most famous woman in antiquity, comes from Plutarch’s description of her. Shakespeare used ’The Life of Antony’ for his own version of this famous love story. Plutarch, whose works have remained immensely popular through the years, has shaped our ideas about much of the ancient world. His humane sensibilities, his skill in storytelling and not least his humour have combined to charm readers throughout the centuries, persuading them that he is like them. In the twentieth century he was declared a feminist. This has led to a misreading of his works, and a misunderstanding of the man himself. He was, as one would expect, a man of his times and his views reflect that. His attitude to women appears new, but his words reflect the changing times in which he lived. Plutarch was Greek, but when Greece was part of the Roman Empire. Chapman argues that his attitudes towards women were not advanced, although he had to admit that more than force was needed to control them. This book breaks new ground in scholarly terms, but is also accessible to the general reader who wants to learn more about Plutarch and women in antiquity.

210 pages

Literature and Literary Criticism:


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Table of Contents

Introduction Plutarch and Women in Marriage A Debate Concerning Love Virtues Without Comparison Consolation to his Wife Conclusion Notes, Bibliography Index.

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