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Plutarch and the Founding of the European Identity


Project reference


Principal Investigator

Delfim Ferreira Leão

Description of the project

As a Greek living under the Roman empire (I-II a.D.), Plutarch managed to make ‑ in a degree that no other ancient author did ‑ a synthesis between Greece and Rome, giving a determinant contribute to the establishment of the idea of a common Classical Antiquity and to the forming of a cultural identity that shall mark the construction of Europe. Both by parallel portraits of outstanding Greek and Roman personalities, and by the writing of small treatises where an amazing amount of questions is discussed (politics, ethics, religion, philosophy, aesthetics, etc.), the biographer exerted great influence in the culture that was to come, to the point of being considered the ‘educator of Europe’, precisely one of the main ideas that gave consistency to this project.

Scientific objectives of the project

Provide careful translations (from the Greek original) of paradigmatic treatises (both from the ‘Vitae’ and from the ‘Moralia’) that exerted a determinant influence in European thought and literature, in biographic writing and in the history of ideas, as well as in moments of important political changes (such as the French revolution). Besides the collaborative work of translating Plutarch, the project fostered as well a systematic study of his oeuvre and its influence in the identitarian matrix of Europe. The organization of the international congress “Symposion and philanthropia (Coimbra, 2008)”, together with the International Plutarch Society, attracted around 100 scholars from all over the world. The project made possible the publication of almost 20 volumes, besides dozens of articles and papers made available in publications of international circulation.