"If I Were Not Alexander..." An Examination of the Political Philosophy of Plutarch’s Alexander-Caesar
This thesis examines Plutarch’s Alexander-Caesar. Plutarch’s depiction of Alexander has been long recognised as encompassing many defects, including an overactive thumos and a decline in character as the narrative progresses. In this thesis I examine the way in which Plutarch depicts Alexander’s degeneration, and argue that the defects of Alexander form a discussion on the ethics of kingship. I then examine the implications of pairing the Alexander with the Caesar; I examine how some of the themes of the Alexander are reflected in the Caesar. I argue that the status of Caesar as both a figure from the Republican past and the man who established the Empire gave the pair a unique immediacy to Plutarch’s time. I then examine the argument, made by some, that it is possible to discern in the Parallel Lives a statement of cultural resistance to the Roman Empire. I argue that the affirmative Hellenism which pervades the Lives reflects not so much a cultural resistance to the Roman Empire, but a concern that the Hellenic values that Plutarch valorised should be dominant within the Roman Empire.