Plutarch has arrived! :D

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Plutarch has arrived! :D

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:36 am

Ok, I am still happy like a child. Today my present to myself from Saturnalia has arrive, the complete Moralia of Plutarch in German translations. Two big volumes of 2000 pages. I had read before 3 of the 6 volums of the Double Biographies, which are truly a marvellous work, educating and entertaining. One of most interesting things about reading Plutarch is, that you grasp religious ideas often as sidenotes. I learned some very interesting things about religious practices from the Biographies. I had some excerpts from the Moralia before in a small booklet, but I wanted to go into the full writings.

I really have an admiration of Plutarch. He writes about so many thing, how to educate children, how to lead a good marriage, and then "is Cold an element like Fire", about the Moon, about various Roman customs, he writes on a sheer endless number of things. In all these Plutarch is both liberal and conservative. He values the freedom and the good life, but is also of a gentle and kind ethicality. Do not beat your children, lead them with a kind but firm hand; lead your marriage with your wife so you have a true partner - something quite revolutionairy for the status of wifes esp. in the Greek realm. He writes about the Gods and religion from an idealistic Neoplatonic view, like justifying the reign of Jupiter because he is the most knowing and wise, so Jupiter as intellectually and morally superior to all.

But even other aspects, like is Cold an Element like Fire. He makes so many interesting scientific observation, how warmth is connected with movement, cold with less movement, like examaning physical phenomenon, and - having just read "The Darkening Age", it really makes me sad yet again, thinking, how advanced might our science be today, if we did not have a Galilean Dark age, where the Platonic Academies had be closed! Seeing Plutarch using scientific thinking to analyze nature is such a fascinating thing to read.

Also what moral questions he raised! "It is allowed to eat animals!?" I haven't read that yet, just looked in. As Platonist he is of the view thar Animals have souls too! What an advanced and elevated view! Reading Plutarch in the Moralia is sometimes not easy; he loves to quote then famous figures of speech or refers to people everyone knew back then. But still, Plutarch shows what great moral and intellectual heights the people of the Classic Era were capable of. Once I get the remaining 3 Biography Books, maybe later this year, I will have the complete Plutarch. And a sad sidenote, even with so much material, only one fourth of Plutarch remains! Still what is there is rich and fascinating, and I highly recommend at least to get some of the Plutarch. The first 4 Biography Volums and the ethical advise texts are surely the most worth reading for everyone.
Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.

- Cicero
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Re: Plutarch has arrived! :D

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:55 am

Just one interesting note, Plutarch writes a VERY interesting text about Roman customs, like why a couple to be married touches fire and water, and explains, they symbolize the complementary powers, and writes a short paragraph from a Platonic view, which VERY much reminded me of the Chinese Yin-Yang theory.

Or why do Romans have their head veiled when praying to the Gods? Funny thing is, that at the time Plutarch did not know. Was the explanation lost? Did just Plutarch not know? He speculates from various angles. One interesting sidenote is, that he writes, it would stand in strange constant to "raise the hat" when greeting another, so apparently the Romans like we did in early modern days, had the habit to "raise the hat" to greet someone. (He doesn't say "hat" but I am not sure what the English word would be, he refers to "head coverning", of course.)

Or why uneven numbers are lucky, what numbers mean, so we get some glimpses of the now mostly lost concept of Numerology!

So much to learn! :D
Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.

- Cicero
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Re: Plutarch has arrived! :D

Postby Publius Sextius Laevus » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:19 am

Salve Florio

Hope you are enjoying your new copy of Plutarch's Lives. I have not read it, but have listened to several Librivox episodes (https://librivox.org/group/514?primary_key=514&search_category=group&search_page=1&search_form=get_results) of these lives. I did not realize they held so much information on customs. Amabo te, if you would be so gracious, as you come across these, to post them with section references so that we can follow them. This adds an element of interest to the biographical comparisons.

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