The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Plutarchus – Plution

431

PLUTARCHUS.

1559, and has often been reprinted, has great merit. The English, translation of Sir Thomas North, London, 1612, professes to be from the French of Amyot, but it does not always follow the French version, and some passages are very incorrectly rendered by North which are correctly rendered by Amyot. North's version is, however, justly admired for the expression. The translation commonly called Dryden's, was made by many hands: Dryden did nothing further than write the dedication to the Duke of Ormond, and the Life of Plutarch, which is prefixed to the version.

The English version of John and William Langhorne has been often printed. The writer of this article has translated and written Notes on the following Lives : Tiberius and Caius Gracchi, Marius, Sulla, Sertorius, Lucullus, Crassus, Pom-peius, Caesar, Cato the Younger, Cicero, M. Brutus and Antonius. The German translation of Kalt-tvasser, Magdeburg, 1799—1806, 10 vols. 8vo.. the last of which is chiefly occupied with an Index, is on the whole a faithful version. The French translation of Dacier is often loose and inaccurate.

Plutarch's other writings, above sixty in number, are. placed under the general title of Moralia or Ethical works, though some of them are of an historical and anecdotical character, such as the essay on the malignity (KaKoyOeia) of Herodotus, which neither requires nor merits refutation, and his Apophthegmata, many of which are of little value. Eleven of these essays are generally classed among Plutarch's historical works : among them, also, are his Roman Questions or Inquiries, his Greek Questions, and the Lives of the Ten Orators. But it is likely enough that several of the essays which are included in the Moralia of Plutarch, are not by him. At any rate, some of them are not worth reading. The best of the essays in­cluded among the Moralia are of a different stamp. There is no philosophical system in these essays: pure speculation was not Plutarch's province. His best writings are practical ; and their merit consists in the soundness of his views on the ordi­nary events of human life, and in. the benevolence of his temper. His " Marriage Precepts " are a sample of his good sense, and of his happiest expression. He rightly appreciated the import­ance of a good education, and he gives much sound advice on the bringing up of children.

His Moral writings are read less than they deserve to be ; and his Lives are little read in the original. Perhaps one obstacle to the reading of Plutarch in the original is that his style is somewhat difficult to those who are not accus­tomed to it. His manner is totally unlike the simplicity of the best Attic writers. But it is one of his merits, that in a rhetorical age he is seldom a rhetorical writer, though he aims and strains at ornament and effect in his peculiar way. His sentences, especially in the Lives, are often ill-constructed, burdened with metaphors, and en­cumbered with a weight of words, — but they are not words without a meaning ; there is thought under them, and we must not complain of a writer because he does not always clothe good ideas in the most becoming dress. The common fault of fine words as of fine dress is that there is nothing under either of them worth looking at.

The first edition of the Moralia, which is said to be very incorrect, was printed by the elder Aldus, Venice, 1509, fol.; and afterwards at

PLUTION.

Bale by Froben, 1542, fol., 1574, fol. Wytten-bach's edition of the Moralia, the labour of foui-and-twenty years, was printed at Oxford in 4to.: it consists of four parts, or six volumes of text (1795—1800), and two volumes of notes (1810— 1821). It was also printed at the same time in 8vo. The notes of Wyttenbach were also printed at Leipzig, in 1821, in two vols. 8vo. The Moralia were translated by Amyot into French, 1565, 3 vols. fol. Kaltwasser's German trans­lation of the Moralia was published at Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1783—1800, 9 vols. 8vo.

The first edition of all the works of Plutarch is that of H. Stephens, Geneva, 1572, 13 vols. 8vo. An edition of the Greek text, with a Latin version, appeared at Leipzig, 1774—1782, 12 vols. 8vo. and it is generally called J. J. Reiske's edition, but Reiske died in 1774. J. C. Hutten's edition appeared at Tubingen, 1791—1805, 14 vols. 8vo. Amyot's version of the Lives and of the Moralia was published at Paris by Didot, 1818—1820, 25 vols. 8vo. [G. L.]

PLUTARCHUS(nAoy'Tapx0*),l.Theyounger, was a son of the famous biographer of the same name, and is supposed by some to have been the author of several of the works which pass usually for his father's, as e. g. the Apophtlbegmata, and the treatises irepl irora^uv and irspl twv dptffKov-tuv tqls <f)i\o(r6<f)OLS. His explanation of the fabled Sirens as seductive courtezans (Tzetz. Chil. i. 14, comp. ad Lycophr. 653) only shows that he belonged to that class of dull and tasteless critics, referred to by Niebuhr with just indig­nation, who thought that they were extracting historical truth from poetry by the very simple and ingenious process of turning it into prose. (See Voss. de Hist. Graec. pp. 251, 252, ed. Westermann; Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. i. p. 232.)

2. An Athenian, son of Nestorius, presided with distinction over the Neo-Platonic school at Athens in the early part of the fifth century, arid was sur-named the Great. He was an Eclectic or Syncretist, and numbered among his disciples Syrianus of Alex­andria, who succeeded him as head of the school, and Proclus of Lycia. He appears to have fol­lowed lamblichus in his doctrine of the efficacy of theurgic rites for bringing man into communion with God, herein illustrating what has been often remarked, that the Neo-Platonic system was the parhelion of the Catholic. Plutarchus wrote com­mentaries, which are lost, on the " Timaeus " of Plato, and on Aristotle's treatise " On the Soul." He died at an advanced age, about a. d. 430 (Suid. s. vv. AoiJ.v'ivos, 'Hyias, Ni/coAaos, 'OScuVaflos, ripo/cAos 6 Aviaos ; Marin. Vit. Prod. 12 ; Phot. Bibl. 242 ; Fabric. BibL Graec. vol. iii. pp. 95, 183, 235, 632, v. p. 197, ix. p. 370.)

3. Secretary to the emperor Justinian, of the events of whose reign he wrote a history, which has perished. (Nic. Alem. ad Procop. 'A^e/cSora ; see Fabr. BiU. Graec. vol. v. p. 197 ; Voss. de Hist. Graec. p. 324, ed. Westermann.) [E. E.]

PLUTION (IIAoirriW), a Greek rhetorician, twice quoted briefly by Seneca, as it seems safe to infer that Puton in the second passage should be read Plution. (Suas. i. p. 13, Controvers. i. 3. p. 104, ed. Genev. 1628.) The commentators on the former passage state, on the authority of Eusebius, that he was a celebrated teacher of rhetoric. Westermann places him in the period

Pages
About | First

429

430

431
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.