A Commentary on Plutarch's Life of Agesilaos: Response to Sources in the Presentation of Character
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DescriptionShipley presents the first modern commentary on Plutarch's Life of Agesilaos (c.444-360 BC) together with the full Greek text and a bibliography. Plutarch's biographies have long been valued for their literary, philosophic, and historiographic content, and the Life of Agesilaos, king of Sparta for forty years after the Peloponnesian war, has special interest as an introduction to Greek history, society, and culture in the fourth century, a critical period that has received little attention in comparison with the fifth century in Athens. Internal problems in Sparta followed the accession of Agesilaos: failures of hierarchical cohesion, unrest among social and subject groups, and division between aggressive and moderate foreign policies. Plato and Aristotle, Ephoros, Xenophon, Diodoros, and Nepos contributed variously to the knowledge and understanding of the period, and Plutarch created from their evidence - and other sources - an independent, penetrating, and balanced account of the character of those in power, and of Sparta, at their best and in decline.
Oxford University Press
29 January 1998
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