Moralia
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Moralia
Moralia
Plutarchus - Moralia. De placitis philosophorum, 1531 - 3020537.tif
1531 edition in Latin
AuthorPlutarch
CountryRoman Greece
LanguageAncient Greek
GenreEssays
Publication date
c. 100 AD

The Moralia (Ancient Greek: Ethika; loosely translated as "Morals" or "Matters relating to customs and mores") is a group of manuscripts dating from the 10th-13th centuries, traditionally ascribed to the 1st-century Greek scholar Plutarch of Chaeronea.[1] The eclectic collection contains 78 essays and transcribed speeches. They provide insights into Roman and Greek life, but often are also timeless observations in their own right. Many generations of Europeans have read or imitated them, including Michel de Montaigne and the Renaissance Humanists and Enlightenment philosophers.

Contents

General structure

The Moralia include On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great--an important adjunct to his Life of the great general--On the Worship of Isis and Osiris (a crucial source of information on Egyptian religious rites),[2] and On the Malice of Herodotus (which may, like the orations on Alexander's accomplishments, have been a rhetorical exercise),[3] in which Plutarch criticizes what he sees as systematic bias in the Histories of Herodotus,[4] along with more philosophical treatises, such as On the Decline of the Oracles, On the Delays of the Divine Vengeance, On Peace of Mind and lighter fare, such as Odysseus and Gryllus ("Bruta animalia ratione uti"), a humorous dialog between Homer's Odysseus and one of Circe's enchanted pigs. The Moralia were composed first, while writing the Lives occupied much of the last two decades of Plutarch's own life.

Some editions of the Moralia include several works now known to be pseudepigrapha: among these are the Lives of the Ten Orators (biographies of the Attic orators based on Caecilius of Calacte), On the Opinions of the Philosophers, On Fate, and On Music.[5] One "Pseudo-Plutarch" is held responsible for all of these works, though their authorship is unknown.[5] Though the thoughts and opinions recorded are not Plutarch's and come from a slightly later era, they are all classical in origin and have value to the historian.[6]


Books

Since the Stephanus edition of 1572, the Moralia have traditionally been arranged in 14 books, as in the following list that includes the English, the original Greek, and the Latin title:[7]

  • I. (1a - 86a)
    • 1. On the Education of Children (? - De liberis educandis)
    • 2. How the Young Man Should Study Poetry ( ? ? - Quomodo adolescens poetas audire debeat)
    • 3. On Hearing (? ? - De recta ratione audiendi)
    • 4. How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend ( ? - Quomodo adulator ab amico internoscatur)
    • 5. How a Man May Become Aware of his Progress in Virtue ( - Quomodo quis suos in virtute sentiat profectus)
  • II. (86b - 171e)
    • 6. How to Profit by One's Enemies ( - De capienda ex inimicis utilitate)
    • 7. On Having Many Friends (? ? - De amicorum multitudine)
    • 8. On Chance (? - De fortuna)
    • 9. On Virtue and Vice (? - De virtute et vitio)
    • 10. Letter of Condolence to Apollonius (? ? ? - Consolatio ad Apollonium)
    • 11. Advice about Keeping Well (? - De tuenda sanitate praecepta)
    • 12. Advice to Bride and Groom ( - Coniugalia praecepta)
    • 13. Dinner of the Seven Wise Men (? - Septem sapientium convivium)
    • 14. On Superstition (? - De superstitione)
  • III. (172a - 263c)
    • 15. Sayings of Kings and Commanders ( - regum et imperatorum apophthegmata)
    • 16. Sayings of the Spartans ( - apophthegmata Laconica)
    • 17. Institutions of the Spartans ( ? - Instituta Laconica)
    • 18. Sayings of the Spartan Women ( - Lacaenarum apophthegmata)
    • 19. Virtues of Women ( - Mulierum virtutes)
  • IV. (263d - 351b)
    • 20. Roman Questions ( ? - Quaestiones Romanae)
    • 21. Greek Questions ( - Quaestiones Graecae)
    • 22. Greek and Roman Parallel Stories ( ? - Parallela minora) (pseudo-Plutarch)
    • 23. On the Fortune of the Romans (? ? - De fortuna Romanorum)
    • 24. On the Fortune or Virtue of Alexander the Great (? ? ? - De Alexandri magni fortuna aut virtute)
    • 25. On the Glory of the Athenians (? ? ? ? ? - De gloria Atheniensium)
  • V. (351c - 438e)
    • 26. On Isis and Osiris [8] (? - De Iside et Osiride)
    • 27. On the epsilon at Delphi (? ? - De E apud Delphos, 384e - 394c)
    • 28. Oracles at Delphi no Longer Given in Verse (? ? ? - De Pythiae oraculis)
    • 29. On the Obsolescence of Oracles (? ? - De defectu oraculorum)
  • VI. (439a - 523b)
    • 30. Can Virtue be Taught? ( ? - An virtus doceri possit)
    • 31. On Moral Virtue (? - De virtute morali)
    • 32. On the Control of Anger (? - De cohibenda ira)
    • 33. On Tranquility of Mind (? - De tranquillitate animi)
    • 34. On Brotherly Love (? - De fraterno amore)
    • 35. On Affection for Offspring (? - De amore prolis)
    • 36. Whether Vice is Sufficient to Cause Unhappiness ( ? ? ? - An vitiositas ad infelicitatem sufficiat)
    • 37. Whether Affections of the Soul are Worse than Those of the Body (? ? ? ? ? ? - Animine an corporis affectiones sint peiores)
    • 38. On Talkativeness (? ? - De garrulitate)
    • 39. On Being a Busybody (? - De curiositate)
  • VII. (523c - 612b)
    • 40. On Love of Wealth (? - De cupiditate divitiarum)
    • 41. On Compliancy (? - De vitioso pudore)
    • 42. On Envy and Hate (? - De invidia et odio)
    • 43. On Praising Oneself Inoffensively (? - De laude ipsius)
    • 44. On the Delays of Divine Vengeance (? ? - De sera numinis vindicta)
    • 45. On Fate (? ? - De fato) (pseudo-Plutarch)
    • 46. On the Sign of Socrates (? - De genio Socratis, 575a - 598e)
    • 47. On Exile (? - De exilio)
    • 48. Consolation to his Wife (? ? ? - Consolatio ad uxorem)
  • VIII. (612c - 748)
    • 49. Table Talk (? - Quaestiones convivales)
  • IX. (748 - 771)
    • 50. Dialogue on Love ( - Amatorius)
  • X. (771e - 854d)
    • 51. Love Stories ( - Amatoriae narrationes)
    • 52. A Philosopher Ought to Converse Especially with Men in Power (? ? ? - Maxime cum principibus philosopho esse disserendum)
    • 53. To an Uneducated Ruler (? ? ? - Ad principem ineruditum)
    • 54. Whether an Old Man Should Engage in Public Affairs ( ? - An seni respublica gerenda sit)
    • 55. Precepts of Statecraft ( - Praecepta gerendae reipublicae)
    • 56. On Monarchy, Democracy and Oligarchy (? ? - De unius in republica dominatione, populari statu, et paucorum imperio)
    • 57. That we Ought Not to Borrow (? ? - De vitando aere alieno)
    • 58. Lives of the Ten Orators (? ? ? - Vitae decem oratorum) (pseudo-Plutarch)
    • 59. Comparison between Aristophanes and Menander (? ? - Comparationis Aristophanis et Menandri compendium)
  • XI. (854e - 919e)
    • 60. On the Malice of Herodotus (? ? - De malignitate Herodoti)
    • 61. On the Opinions of the Philosophers (? ? ? ? - De placitis philosophorum) (pseudo-Plutarch)
    • 62. Causes of Natural Phenomena ( - Quaestiones naturales)
  • XII. (920a - 999b)
    • 63. On the Face Which Appears in the Orb of the Moon [9] (? ? - De facie in orbe lunae)
    • 64. On the Principle of Cold (? - De primo frigido)
    • 65. Whether Fire or Water is More Useful (? ? ? - Aquane an ignis sit utilior)
    • 66. Whether Land or Sea Animals are Cleverer ( ? ? ? - De sollertia animalium)
    • 67. Beasts are Rational (? ? ? - Bruta animalia ratione uti)
    • 68. On the Eating of Flesh (? - De esu carnium)
  • XIII. (999c - 1086b)
    • 69. Platonic Questions ( - Platonicae quaestiones)
    • 70. On the Birth of the Spirit in Timaeus (? ? - De animae procreatione in Timaeo)
    • 71. Summary of the Birth of the Spirit (? ? ? - Epitome libri de animae procreatione in Timaeo)
    • 72. On Stoic Self-Contradictions (? ? - De Stoicorum repugnantiis)
    • 73. The Stoics Speak More Paradoxically than the Poets ( ? ? - Stoicos absurdiora poetis dicere)
    • 74. On Common Conceptions against the Stoics (? ? ? ? - De communibus notitiis adversus Stoicos)
  • XIV. (1086c onward)
    • 75. It is Impossible to Live Pleasantly in the Manner of Epicurus ( ? ' - Non posse suaviter vivi secundum Epicurum)
    • 76. Against Colotes (? ? - Adversus Colotem)
    • 77. Is the Saying "Live in Obscurity" Right? ( ? ? - An recte dictum sit latenter esse vivendum)
    • 78. On Music (? - De musica) (pseudo-Plutarch)

Editions

Early manuscripts

"The catalogue is transmitted by a group of Moralia manuscripts, the oldest of which is the Parisinus gr. 1678 (very damaged in the folia containing the list), a copy from the tenth century, on which a second hand of the twelfth century intervened to add the list; see Irigoin (1987: CCCIII-CCGXVIII for introduction and critical edition of the entire catalogue)." (Oikonomopoulou 174)[10] The only surviving manuscript containing all seventy-eight of the extant treatises included in Plutarch's Moralia dates to sometime shortly after 1302 AD.[11]

Modern editions

  • Plutarch. Moralia. 16 vols. (vol. 13: 13.1 & 13.2, vol. 16: index), transl. by Frank Cole Babbitt (vol. 1-5) et al., series: "Loeb Classical Library" (LCL, vols. 197, ... -499). Cambridge (MA): Harvard UP et al., 1927-2004.[12]

Specific ideas contained

Origins dilemma

In his essay "The Symposiacs," Plutarch discusses the famous problem of the chicken and the egg.[13][14][15] Although Plutarch was not the first person to discuss the problem (Aristotle had already discussed it hundreds of years before Plutarch),[16][17][15] he was the first person to put the question into its modern form.[15]

On reincarnation

Included in Moralia is letter addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not give way to excessive grief at the death of their two-year-old daughter, who was named Timoxena after her mother.[18] In the letter, Plutarch expresses his belief in reincarnation:[19]

The soul, being eternal, after death is like a caged bird that has been released. If it has been a long time in the body, and has become tame by many affairs and long habit, the soul will immediately take another body and once again become involved in the troubles of the world. The worst thing about old age is that the soul's memory of the other world grows dim, while at the same time its attachment to things of this world becomes so strong that the soul tends to retain the form that it had in the body. But that soul which remains only a short time within a body, until liberated by the higher powers, quickly recovers its fire and goes on to higher things.[18]

On the intellect

Mind or Nous (, Greek: ?) is a philosophical term for intellect.[20] In Moralia, Plutarch agrees with Plato[21] that the soul is more divine than the body while nous is more divine than the soul.[] The mix of soul and body produces pleasure and pain; the conjunction of mind and soul produces reason which is the cause or the source of virtue and vice.[][22][non-primary source needed]

References

  1. ^ "The catalogue is transmitted by a group of Moralia manuscripts, the oldest of which is the Parisinus gr. 1678 (very damaged in the folia containing the list), a copy from the tenth century, on which a second hand of the twelfth century intervened to add the list; see Irigoin (1987: CCCIII-CCGXVIII for introduction and critical edition of the entire catalogue)."<br> Xenophontos, Sophia A, and Aikaterini Oikonomopoulou. Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plutarch. Leiden ; Boston, Brill, 2019, p. 174.
  2. ^ Tobin, Vincent Arieh (1989). Theological Principles of Egyptian Religion. P. Lang. ISBN 978-0-8204-1082-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  3. ^ Aubrey Stewart, George Long. "Life of Plutarch". Plutarch's Lives, Volume I (of 4). The Gutenberg Project. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Kimball, Roger. "Plutarch and the Issue of Character". The New Criterion Online. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b Blank, D. (2011). Martínez, J. (ed.). 'Plutarch' and the Sophistry of 'Noble Lineage'. Fakes and Forgers of Classical Literature. Madrid: Ediciones Clásicas. pp. 33-60.
  6. ^ Marietta, Don E. (1998). Introduction to Ancient Philosophy. M.E. Sharpe. p. 190.
  7. ^ Plutarch's Moralia in Fifteen Volumes, Volume VI, translated by W. C. Helmbold, Harvard University Press, London, 1962.
  8. ^ Lacus Curtius online text Isis and Osiris[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Lacus Curtius online text On the Face in the Moon
  10. ^ Xenophontos, Sophia A, and Aikaterini Oikonomopoulou. Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plutarch. Leiden ; Boston, Brill, 2019, p. 174.
  11. ^ Manton, G. R. (July-October 1949). "The Manuscript Tradition of Plutarch Moralia". The Classical Quarterly. 43: 97-104. JSTOR 636739.
  12. ^ List of volumes (LCL website): https://www.loebclassics.com/volumes.
  13. ^ Plutarch of Chaeronea. The Symposiacs Question III. https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/plutarch/symposiacs/complete.html#section15.
  14. ^ Delgaldo, José António Fernandez; Pordomingo, Francisca (2017). "Theseis rather than quaestiones convivales". In Georgiadou, Aristoula; Oikonomopoulo, Katerina (eds.). Space, Time and Language in Plutarch. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter. p. 293. ISBN 978-3-11-053811-3.
  15. ^ a b c O'Brien, Carl Séan (2015). The Demiurge in Ancient Thought. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-107-07536-8.
  16. ^ Aristotle, Metaphysics IX.8 "Thus it is evident that the potential constructions are discovered by being actualized. The reason for this is that the actualization is an act of thinking. Thus potentiality comes from actuality (and therefore it is by constructive action that we acquire knowledge). <But this is true only in the abstract>, for the individual actuality is posterior in generation to its potentiality."
  17. ^ Halper, Edward (2012). Aristotle's 'Metaphysics': A Reader's Guide. London, England and New York City, New York: Continuum. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-4411-1773-1.
  18. ^ a b Plutarch of Chaeronea. "Letter of Consolation." http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Moralia/Consolatio_ad_uxorem*.html
  19. ^ Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (2016). "Afterlife and Reincarnation in Plutarch." SBL Philo of Alexandria Seminar, http://torreys.org/sblpapers2016/S20-345_RHL_Reincarnation_Plutarch.pdf.
  20. ^ Rorty, Richard (1979), Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Princeton University Press page 38.
  21. ^ Kalkavage (2001), "Glossary", Plato's Timaeus, Focus Publishing.
  22. ^ LacusCurtius online text: On the Face in the Moon par. 28[non-primary source needed]

Further reading

  • Aalders, Gerhard J. D. 1982. Plutarch's Political Thought. Amsterdam: North Holland.
  • Chapman, Ann. 2011. The Female Principle in Plutarch's Moralia. Dublin, Ireland: Univ. of Dublin Press.
  • Jones, Christopher P. 1966. "Towards a Chronology of Plutarch's Works." Journal of Roman Studies 56:61-74.
  • Opsomer, Jan. 2007. "The Place of Plutarch in the History of Platonism." In Plutarco e la Cultura della sua Età. Edited by Paola Volpe Cacciatore and Franco Ferrari, 283-309. Naples, Italy: D'Auria.
  • Russell, Donald A. 1973. Plutarch. London: Duckworth.
  • Titchener, Frances B. 1995. "Plutarch's Use of Thucydides in the Moralia." Phoenix 49.3: 189-200.
  • Van der Stockt, Luc. 1999. "A Plutarchan Hypomnema on Self-Love." American Journal of Philology 120:575-599.
  • Van der Stockt, Luc. 2000. Rhetorical Theory and Praxis in Plutarch. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters.
  • Van Hoof, Lieve. 2010. Plutarch's Practical Ethics: The Social Dynamics of Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Van Nuffelen, Peter. 2011. Rethinking the Gods: Philosophical Readings of Religion in the Post-Hellenistic Period. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Pres

External links


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