Philosophy

Plutarch

Among the most prominent philosophers in history, Plutarch was an icon for art, science and the modern world. He was a mathematician, writer, politician and artist who traveled in search of wisdom in different regions such as Rome, Asia, among others to acquire a life of thoughts and works reflected in his adventures.

Plutarch
  • Birth date: 45 A.D.
  • Birthplace: Queronea, Greece
  • When he died: 127 A.D.
  • Where did he die: Delphi, Greece

Who was Plutarch?

Plutarch, was a wisdom man who handled versatility in the knowledge of philosophical arts, made his studies at the Academy of Mathematics and Philosophy, however, if anything marked the life of this character were the various trips he executed throughout his career as an artist, whether scientific or cultural, developing as a great historian or with diplomatic faculties and character, as procurator of the province of Achaia.

Biography of Plutarch

Plutarch was born into an aristocratic family in the city of Queronea in the region of Beocia, between 45 and 50 AD. The exact year of his birth is unknown, everything about his biography is because it is reflected in some of his most outstanding works, such as the name of his great-grandfather Nicarco when he relates the consequences left of the battle of Accio, his grandfather, Lamprias who makes reference in the talks after dinner and his own father, Autobulo and his passion for hunting.

He had two brothers, Lamprias who was a priest and Timon. In his youth, he made trips for cultural reasons where he would know ancient places such as Asia Minor and Alexandria as a diplomatic.

He always had a connection to the philosophy and a new movement of the time called Second Sophistication, whose location was in Smyrna, a city he may have visited.

Another of his travels that marked a great influence in Plutarch was his arrival in Rome, the Empire surprised and enchanted him so much that his knowledge allowed him to serve as an interlocutor between the Greeks and Rome.

Little by little he made achievements with a name and a high prestige that led him to positions of great importance as Priest of the oracle of Delphi.

Thanks to one of his great bonds of life, his friend, Lucio Maestrio Floro, obtained Roman citizenship.

In spite of all his travels, Plutarch always preferred to reside in the city of his origin in Queronea, where all his family had lived eons ago and became the place where he died of old age, around 120 AD.

Thought

From the 1st century A.D. onwards, intellectual currents were at a specific peak for the development of a new current of thought, based on Plutarch’s ideology. This new current was called medium Platonism and served as a guide between the academy’s philosophy and Neoplatonism, where Plutarch was as a representative figure.

With average Platonism we can reach, through philosophical meditation, to talk with God, what would sooner be called ecstasy.

This philosophical current describes the why and how of things, placing God as the maximum expression of “goodness” and defining human beings themselves as “evil“.

Contributions of Plutarch

Importance

As a philosopher, Plutarch stressed the importance of human values and integrity in his actions, despite all belief, he had a firm ideology about God and humanity that he expressed quite clearly in one of his quotes: “To enjoy all pleasures is foolish; to avoid them is insensitive”. This reflects a personal interpretation that expresses that in moderation we find virtue. In many of his other works, there are sublime approaches to spirituality, divinity, energy, and intellectual development through philosophy.

Works

Despite having multiple responsibilities as a priest and as his possible political commitments: his most fervent passion was always writing, and his most relevant works were:

Parallel Lives

It is the narrated life of 23 pairs of characters of great importance both Roman and Greek. This story was grouped in pairs in order to make comparisons of one figure and another, all from a different culture.

Moralia: Moral Works and Customs

78 treatises where platonic discussions are compiled, always using philosophy as a resource to express their ethical discourses of the rhetorical type.

Moralia was not the name of Plutarch’s work, but the name that the Byzantine monk Planudes in the 13th century gave to his collection of scattered texts.

Plutarch phrases

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.
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