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Erôs in Ancient Greece$
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Ed Sanders, Chiara Thumiger, Christopher Carey, and Nick Lowe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.001.0001

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Love Theory and Political Practice in Plutarch: The Amatorius and the Lives of Coriolanus and Alcibiades

Love Theory and Political Practice in Plutarch: The Amatorius and the Lives of Coriolanus and Alcibiades

Chapter:
(p.209) 13 Love Theory and Political Practice in Plutarch: The Amatorius and the Lives of Coriolanus and Alcibiades
Source:
Erôs in Ancient Greece
Author(s):

Michele A. Lucchesi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.003.0013

This chapter discusses how Plutarch, ultimately, considers erôs to be in conflict with public life. First, the analysis focuses on the Amatorius, where Plutarch presents an idealized image of the god Eros which, however, implies that his great power over humans and his primacy over every aspect of life create the premises for a collision between the public and the private spheres. Then, the chapter scrutinizes erôs in Coriolanus and Alcibiades, a case study emblematic of Plutarch’s negative views about love in the Parallel Lives. In both the biographies private life has a negative impact on the protagonists' military and political careers. Nonetheless, while in Coriolanus love is treated only marginally, in Alcibiadeserôs is examined in its various nuances and represents a key element in understanding Alcibiades' progressive moral decadence and his failure as a political leader.

Keywords:   Plutarch, erôs, private life, public career, Amatorius, Coriolanus, Alcibiades, biography

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