Plutarch Essay

1856 words - 8 pages

Plutarch
Solon was famous for advocating democracy and creating laws. When he was asked if he had given Athens the best laws that could be given, he said, “The best they could receive.” This meant there could have been better laws, but the Athenians would not have accepted them. There are several laws mentioned by Plutarch that Solon was responsible for creating. Solon would pass something called the Mortgage Law which made it illegal to bind a debtor’s body to the creditor if the loan went into default. This was good for the poor because the rich took advantage of the poor. The debtor essentially would become a slave if he could not pay his loan. Solon also put an end to Draco’s laws, except for offenses related to homicide, which were too harsh in Solons opinion. With Draco laws every offense ranging from idleness to theft to murder was punishable by death. Plutarch viewed Solon as a fair and just man. This almost became a burden to Solon because he was so fair and just that he never pleased either side.
Themistocles was an Athenian politician and general. He represented the poor class because he came from a very poor background. Themistocles was well known for his support of building up a navy. His main rival, Aristides, stressed land power. This rivalry will eventually lead to the ostracism of Aristides. The Athenians, while being led by Themistocles, had a great naval victory at Salamis against the Persians. Themistocles had tricked the Persians by convincing them that the Greeks were fleeing. However, his good fortune in Athens does not last forever. He will be ostracized for suspicions that he is too close to the Persians. Ironically, when he leaves Athens he is accepted into the council of the Persian king, becoming an enemy of Athens. When he was ordered to take up against the Athenians he could not do so and ended his life by drinking poison. This shows his true commitment for Athens.
This conflict of the individual versus the state is apparent in many of the lives and it shows up primarily because of ostracism. These figures are very passionate in promoting the well being of Athens, but end up having too much influence and get banished for ten years (sometimes recalled before ten years). They were trying to defend against tyranny by ostracizing these figures. Themistocles, the key player in building up a navy for Athens and in rebuilding its walls after the second Persian War, is thanked for his efforts with ostracism. Aristides helped bring Athens to virtue and has the nickname, “The Just”, yet he still gets ostracized while trying to help Athens. The big difference between these two figures is Themistocles never returns after ostracism, but Aristides returns and continues to be very influential but dies a poor man. Cimon was an effective general and he also gets ostracized.
These people were ostracized because of this conflict between individual and state. They truly wanted to help Athens, but others accused them of being...

Find Another Essay On Plutarch

Plutarch's Life Essay

924 words - 4 pages Plutarch was a well-known historian, biographer, and essayist. Also, Plutarch was a Greek scholar, and today is considered to be a Middle Protanist. Clyde Curry Smith, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, tells readers “Plutarch was born sometime around 46 A.D. in Chaeronea, Boeotia”(Smith). Plutarch was born “around the Roman imperial administration of Claudius I”(Smith). It is also believed that Plutarch died around the age of 74

A Close Analysis of Plutarch's "Parallel Lives"

1041 words - 4 pages During the Renaissance, humanism became a guiding principle in social, cultural, political, and artistic endeavors. The revival of classical culture was achieved through the study of ancient Roman and Greek texts. Among the ancient Greek authors, Plutarch undoubtedly attracted the most readers. His accounts of the past found in his Parallel Lives are apparent in numerous literary, theatrical, and artistic pieces of the Renaissance. Unfortunately

A Comparison of Plutarch's The Lives of the Ancient Grecians and Romans and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

639 words - 3 pages explanation of people's opinions and thoughts. Plutarch describes Brutus as merely one of the conspirators that took a little persuading. After Brutus joined the conspiracy, he rapidly gained control. In the play, although Brutus lead the conspiracy, his character goes in deeper. Shakespeare writes about how Cassius forged letters complaining of Caesar, and of the midnight meetings that took place in order to win over Brutus. Shakespeare writes of

The Life of Tiberius Gracchus

1686 words - 7 pages early career to 134 BCConcerning Gracchus' family background, education and early career, there is not much information. The main sources include Plutarch and Appian which both argue that Tiberius Gracchus had a lot to live up to and there were heavy expectations placed upon his name. It is, however, very important to note that even though Appian and Plutarch seem to contradict each other at some intervals and even totally disagree with each other

Plutarch's The Life of Crassus and Caesar

2047 words - 8 pages Plutarch's The Life of Crassus and Caesar Plutarch presented history through biographical stories of the people that were important and influential during the time period he wished to address. However, after having read some of his work, one realizes that Plutarch inserts his own personal opinion and views of the people at hand into the factual documentation of their lives. For example, in The Life of Crassus, Plutarch expresses a

Gaius Gracchus

1407 words - 6 pages Gaius Gracchus Many historians have written on the life of Gaius Gracchus, his motives, and his accomplishments. Here, a biography of Gauis by the Greek historian, biographer and essayist, Plutarch, will be used to explore the legendary. Gaius Gracchus was born in Rome in 154BCE into an influential family. His mother was the daughter of Scipio Africanus, a successful military leader, and his father was a powerful Politian. His older brother

Lycurgus and Spartan Government- With reference to Ancient sources you have researched, explain the Spartan System of Government

1608 words - 6 pages the city-state? The Historians; Plutarch, Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle and Herodotus explore the uncertainties of Lycurgus using historiography.Plutarch (c. 45-126 AD) was a Greek historian who wrote a series of biographies comparing Greek life to Roman life- illuminating their common moral virtues and failings. In his Life of Lycurgus he brought forth the issue that surrounded Lycurgus- the travels he embarked on, the laws that he supposedly made

The Decline of Sparta

838 words - 4 pages ‘freeing the Asiatic Greeks’ from Persian control (Lewis 1977: 141). This was perhaps Sparta emulating the direction of Athens during the Peloponnesian war (Thuc 1.89). At first Tissaphernes promised to make the Asiatic Greeks autonomous, but after coming to the conclusion that his forces were sufficient; decided to make war on Sparta instead (Plutarch, Agesilaus 9). After a peace agreement failed to be agreed on (Rhodes 2010: 227), Persia sent

Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus

2254 words - 9 pages , this is a solemn and most momentous occasion. Today I will be critically analysing and assessing the significance of three key areas which have been the crux of historical debate for centuries. Today I will be touching on Tiberius' family background, education, and early career to 134BC, the aims and significance of Gracchus lex agraria and Gracchus' political reforms and methods. Let me tell you about Gracchus' background. Plutarch tells us a

Athenian Government

1286 words - 6 pages classes. This made Athens an oligarch because these wealthy and intelligent men governed only for the benefit of themselves. Soon after being appointed to his governmental role, the first implement about the law that Solon created was, he removed all of Draco's laws, other than the laws that had to do with murder, “First then, he repealed all of Draco's laws, except those concerning homicide," (Plutarch, Solon, 17) Plutarch said, one of Solon's

Sulla and the Downfall of the Roman Republic

2013 words - 9 pages he became dictator in 81 B.C.E. His background in the military may be a strong influence on the way Sulla ruled and how his ruling lead to the downfall of the Roman Republic (Plutarch, 79 B.C.E. Life of Sulla). According to, Franco Cavazzi, a current accredited unprejudiced Roman Historian, Sulla’s first major achievement was becoming Marius’s Lieutenant. Marius was not a Roman nor patrician but still managed to be elected 7 times, he lead the

Similar Essays

The Validity Of Plutarch Essay

3232 words - 13 pages The first century AD gave birth to Plutarch of Chaeronea. He was born into the Greco-Roman world during the Pax Romana, a time of peace that which had not been seen in all of the country's history. Plutarch, coming from an upper-class family, was able to get a good education and find a purpose to his life1. Philosophy was his calling and he was brilliant in his work. An aficionado of the works of his forefathers in thought (from Zeno to

Julius Caesar, By William Shakespeare And The Life Of Caesar, By Plutarch

1065 words - 4 pages No matter how hard one tries to avoid being manipulated, it is impossible to avoid all sources such as documents, leaders and friends. Manipulation, the ability to alter the position or influence a person, occurs everywhere one goes. Throughout Julius Caesar by Shakespeare and The Life of Caesar by Plutarch, the theme of manipulation was revealed through countless instances showing both its sources and effects. Several of the characters in both

Account For The Different Interpretations And Perspectives Of The Battle Of Salamis As Described By Herodotus, Aeschylus And Plutarch

1177 words - 5 pages Herodotus, Aeschylus and Plutarch are all directed by the views of the society of their time. While the three classical writers have similarities, they came from different periods in history. They have gathered evidence or information from varying sources, focused on different aspects, and used different text types to tell the tale. These factors have influenced their thinking, and accounts for their differences in perception and interpretation

Plutarch's Life Essay

1114 words - 4 pages Plutarch was a well-known historian, biographer, and essayist. Also, Plutarch was a Greek scholar, and today is considered to be a Middle Protanist. Clyde Curry Smith, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, tells readers “Plutarch was born sometime around 46 A.D. in Chaeronea, Boeotia”(Smith). Plutarch was born “around the Roman imperial administration of Claudius I”(Smith). It is also believed that Plutarch died around the age of 74