Reading Plutarch in nineteenth-century Greece: classical paideia, political emancipation, and national awareness — the case of Adamantios Koraes

Xenophontos, S. A. (2014) Reading Plutarch in nineteenth-century Greece: classical paideia, political emancipation, and national awareness — the case of Adamantios Koraes. Classical Receptions Journal, 6(1), pp. 131-157. (doi:10.1093/crj/cls011)

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Abstract

Adamantios Koraes (1748–1833) was a humanist scholar of the modern Greek Enlightenment, regarded by many as the reformer of the Hellenic nation of his time. In his attempt to cultivate the proper sort of education (paideia) and at the same time uplift the national pride of contemporary Greeks, Koraes turned to the revival of the ancient legacy by editing and often translating a wide range of classical texts. Among the various ancient Greek authors that he read, it is clear that Plutarch (c. AD 46–120) influenced him deeply. In this article, I examine two aspects of that influence. In the first section, I argue that while instructing his compatriots on ethical issues, Koraes aligns himself with Plutarch, whom he considers as his ancient role model. This is seen from the fact that in his biographical portrait of Plutarch Koraes is careful in drawing comparisons and links, sometimes explicit and in other instances more opaque, between himself and his precursor. In the second section, I suggest that Koraes is informed by Plutarch’s political outlook as well, and more particularly by his central notion of ϕιλοτιμία, which warns against excessive ambition and self-interest in statesmanship. This notion Koraes adjusts to his own political agenda in the form of ϕιλαρχία, which functions in modern times similarly to Plutarch’s ϕιλοτιμία in ancient times.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Xenofontos, Dr Sofia
Authors: Xenophontos, S. A.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
Journal Name:Classical Receptions Journal
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1759-5134
ISSN (Online):1759-5142

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