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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5/15/2019  |   3:00 PM - 3:30 PM   |  Hampton Inn Conference Room

A Life in Pieces: Plutarch, Crassus 12.1-16.8

In his Life of Crassus, Plutarch furnishes a peculiarly brief narrative (five chapters, chs. 12-16 inclusive; approximately six pages of the Teubner text) for the career of M. Licinius Crassus from the end of the Spartacan War to his departure for Syria (70-55 BCE). These chapters constitute a particularly noticeable example of ‘telescoping’, which appears especially conspicuous given the excruciatingly detailed narrative that comes next: the Parthian misadventure, to which Plutarch devotes the second half of the Life (chs. 17-33). The unevenness of pace and detail raises questions of Plutarch’s rationale for writing Crassus, and how it frames the interpretation of other Lives, in particular Pompey and Caesar. Evidence internal and external to Crassus intimates that Plutarch could have produced a more substantial biography should he have so desired to write it. There are two possible reasons for this extreme selectivity. First, the text is not Plutarch’s final version, but a draft (hypomnema). Second, the text is, in fact, as the biographer intended: the gaps reflect the biographer’s genuine opinion of Crassus’ perceived lack of a role, direct or indirect, in this crucial historical period.

James Chlup (Primary Presenter), james.chlup@umanitoba.ca;
Associate Professor of ancient history. Current projects include a commentary on Plutarch's Life of Crassus and articles on Appian and Plutarch's Life of Brutus.

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