<i>Erōs</i> and Marriage

Jeffrey Beneker

in The Passionate Statesman

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199695904
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741319 | DOI:
Erōs and Marriage

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This chapter examines how Plutarch combines Aristotle's definition of friendship, as expressed in the Nicomachean Ethics, with Plato's conception of the soul to describe the ideal marriage, and heterosexual relationships in general, as based on a mutual love of character (philia) supported by an enduring erotic attraction. It first examines the Aristotelian and Platonic background to the essay On Moral Virtue, where Plutarch sets forth his own ethics of friendship, erotic attachment, enkrateia (self-control), and sōphrosynē (temperance). Then it explores the forceful argument that he makes for the virtue of women, and thus for their ability to be the objects of both virtuous philia and erōs, in his Dialogue on Love (Amatorius). Turning to the Lives, the chapter shows how Plutarch has based his narrative of the relationships between Brutus and Porcia, and between Pericles and Aspasia on principles set forth in the philosophical essays.

Keywords: Aristotle; Plato; Nicomachean Ethics; On Moral Virtue; Dialogue on Love; Amatorius; philia; erōs; enkrateia; sōphrosynē

Chapter.  22012 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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