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May 5, 2020

Plutarch’s Lives: The Statesmen

Writing during the time of the Emperor Trajan in the first century AD, Plutarch is famous for his series of “parallel” biographies exhaustively examining perennial issues of history, public ethics, war and peace, economics, the founding and destroying of states, and others. His work is a model of careful thought about matters of virtue and vice, and serves as a sort of ultimate “manual” of practical politics. As an additional note on his importance, he is one of the most frequently cited sources in the American Founders’ Federalist Papers.

This seminar will intensively look at three of the Lives, those of Pericles (Athens), Pelopidas (Thebes), and Cicero (Rome) in an effort to gain a better understanding of what truly good, constructive leadership of a free society ought to look like – and what sorts of dangers await the good man amidst so many who are not.

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