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Bill Thayer

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Bravery of Women


The work appears in pp471‑581 of Vol. III of the Loeb Classical Library's edition of the Moralia, first published in 1931. The Greek text and the English translation (by F. C. Babbitt) are now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1959 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

The Text on LacusCurtius

This site is a transcription of the English translation of Plutarch's work by Frank Cole Babbitt as printed in the Loeb edition. I have no intention of transcribing the original Greek text: the paucity of readers of ancient Greek out there make it a case of diminishing returns.

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the little table of contents below, the sections are therefore shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you spot an error, however . . . please do report it.

Loeb Edition Introduction

Plutarch's well-chosen selection of stories about the bravery of women was composed for his friend Clea, who held high office among the priestesses at Delphi, and to whom he dedicated also his treatise on Isis and Osiris. He speaks of it as a supplement to a conversation on the equality of the sexes, which he had with Clea on the occasion of the death of Leontis, of blessed memory, suggested no doubt by the noble character of the departed. It is not impossible that some of the topics discussed in that conversation are included here also, so as to make the book a complete and finished whole.

The treatise stands as No. 126 in Lamprias's list of Plutarch's works.

Polyaenus drew freely from this book to embellish his Strategemata, as a glance at the notes on the following pages will show.

Novelists who still write of virtuous women and heartless villains may find some material in this work of Plutarch's. They need not be ashamed to glean where a great poet has reaped.

On this site, only the English translations:

[image ALT: The bust of a Roman matron. It is my icon for the Bravery of Women, by Plutarch.]

The background of the icon I use to indicate this work is in the same hue of purple I use in the Roman Gazetteer section of the site as the background for Roman monuments of the Imperial period, to which our author belongs; the motif of the icon itself is a detail of the statue of a Roman matron, roughly contemporaneous with Plutarch, found in the amphitheatre of the Umbrian town of Spello and now over one of its Roman gates.

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Page updated: 29 May 16