SECOND MEETING OF THE
NORTH AMERICAN SECTIONS
INTERNATIONAL PLUTARCH SOCIETY
"Plutarch's Unexpected Silences"
15-18 May, 2019
HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE THEME
SECOND MEETING OF THE
NORTH AMERICAN SECTIONS
INTERNATIONAL PLUTARCH SOCIETY
"Plutarch's Unexpected Silences"
15-18 May, 2019
HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE THEME
SECOND MEETING OF THE
NORTH AMERICAN SECTIONS
INTERNATIONAL PLUTARCH SOCIETY
"Plutarch's Unexpected Silences"
15-18 May, 2019
By Itidorfa07 (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped from original)
Lion of Chaeronea Statue

Abstract Details

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5/17/2019  |   9:30 AM - 10:15 AM   |  Hampton Inn Conference Room

Plutarch’s Silent Sources: Models for Marriage in the Lives of Brutus and Pompey

In two of his Lives, Plutarch reports acts of spousal devotion that appear to be unhistorical. In Brutus he reports but then discredits the story that Porcia committed suicide after learning of her husband’s death, while in Pompey he is unique among ancient authors in reporting that Pompey chose refuge in Egypt after defeat at Pharsalus for only one reason, to protect Cornelia and her reputation. In this paper I argue that Plutarch created has reshaped historical details to make them conform with the models for ideal marriages that he found in anecdotes about other married couples. In particular, I suggest that Plutarch relied on stories about Panthea and Abradatas, Cornelia and Tiberius Gracchus, and Camma and Sinatus in creating his narratives of Porcia and Brutus, and Cornelia and Pompey. Though uncredited in the actual narratives, these anecdotes nonetheless served as silent sources for Plutarch’s recreation of historical events.

Jeff Beneker (Primary Presenter), jbeneker@wisc.edu;
Professor of Classics and former chair of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Section head of the USA section of the International Plutarch Society.

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