Solon of Athens as a precedent for Plutarch's authorial persona

Klooster, J., 2018, In : Mnemosyne, A Journal of Classical Studies. 71, 2, p. 247-264 19 p., MNEM-2247.

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  • Solon of Athens as a Precedent for Plutarch’s Authorial Persona

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Solon is the subject of both a Plutarchan biography (Solon) and a philosophical dialogue (Convivium septem sapientium). In this article I argue that Plutarch creates a precedent for his authorial persona of wise but modest adviser of the ruling class under the Roman empire in the figure of the Athenian sage Solon. To this end I analyze in particular how Plutarch represents Solon's way of dealing with rulers and tyrants (Pisistratus, Philocyprus, Croesus; Periander). I ask whether in this he can be considered successful or not, and why. I submit that Plutarch's representation of Solon aims to provide authority to some of the novel aspects of his authorial persona, in particular its emphatic modesty and pragmatism with regard to absolute rule. Plutarch does this in particular by showing that it was a time-honoured and respectable practice for wise Greeks to act as advisor to rulers, even tyrants.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberMNEM-2247
Pages (from-to)247-264
Number of pages19
JournalMnemosyne, A Journal of Classical Studies
Issue number2
Early online dateJul-2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • authorial persona, tyrants, Parallel Lives, Plutarch, Solon of Athens, Anchoring Innovation, Roman Empire, Moralia

ID: 30733112