<i>Erōs</i> and the Statesman

Jeffrey Beneker

in The Passionate Statesman

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

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This chapter first considers the philosophical background to Plutarch's representation of erōs, enkrateia (self-control), and sōphrosynē (temperance). It examines Xenophon's Memorabilia to uncover ethical terminology that is more general than what Plutarch set forth in On Moral Virtue (as examined in chapter 1), showing how Plutarch relied both upon technical definitions of self-control, based on Plato and Aristotle, and upon more conventional notions, similar to those espoused by Xenophon. The chapter then considers the political dimension to self-control, establishing that Plutarch shared the generally held belief that one's personal conduct, including restraint of erōs, was perceived to be indicative of how well one would perform as a military or political leader. The chapter concludes with an examination of the Agesilaus–Pompey, arguing that these heroes represent a middle ground, both ethically and politically, between the extreme self-control described in the Alexander–Caesarand the overwhelming passion found in the Demetrius–Antony.

Keywords: erōs; enkrateia; sōphrosynē; Xenophon; Memorabilia; Agesilaus; Pompey

Chapter.  12952 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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