Dissertation > History, geography > Historical Theory > History of the History > World

Plutarch and Thucydides historical narrative similarities and differences between concepts

Author JiaJiaLin
Tutor WangChengJun
School Shaanxi Normal University
Course World History
Keywords Plutarch Thucydides moral history biographical history
CLC K091
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Pltuarch is a high-profile historian in the history of western historiography, as been called the king of biography. After Isocrates and Xenophon’s writing, the biographical history of western historiography has been made a great advances. As the time passed by, when Rome entered into the age of empires, the generals, the politicians affected the history of Rome. Sometimes these person could change the history, so the biographical history was very prevalent. Plutarch’s The Parallel Lives was a real masterpiece at that time. The Parallel Lives represent the prominent achievement in biographical history and have a far-reaching influence on the later historiography.Thucydides’History of Peloponnesian War was a writing of classics. His writing have a far-reaching influence on the later historiography. And when Plutarch wrote his writing, Pericles, Themislocles, for instance, cited a great deal of historical materials of History of Peloponnesian War of Thucydides. This paper will focus on studying how Pltutach deal with the historical materials of History of Peloponnesian War when he wrote Pericles, Themistocles, and so on, and using historical method as well as comparative history.This paper consists of four parts. The first part mainly researches the cultural background of ancient Greek and Rome history in order to quest the origin of pragmatic historical concept. The author believes the essential purpose of moral history is to save social ethos when the Rome empire was eroded by the wind of sumptuous and and the greed of human. And the development of biographical history is the progress of Humanism gradually. Thucydides’ historiographical view inherited the thought of the cycle of history which came from ancient Greek at 8 B.C. So in Thucydides’ writing the thought of how to take history as a mirror expressed ore clearly.The second part is to analyse the differences of the same hero which wrote by Plutarch and Thucydides. In writing The Parallel Lives, Plutarch made biographical reading for Thucydides’ historical data. And put the details which Thucydides ignored, and moral history in The Parallel Lives.The third part is about the historical influence and status of Plutarch and Thucydides. To make a discussing about the truth-seeking of Thucydides and the moral-seeking of Plutarch. And their final aim is the same and has an inspiration meaning to modern historical theory.The moral history of Plutarch is a product of tradition of western classical historiography and the culture blend between Greek and Rome. His cognition of history and the history which written in The Parallel Lives is the most precious treasure. The truth-seeking of Thucydides and the moral-seeking of Plutarch have the same meaning in western historiography. How to hold moral-seeking and the truth-seeking in western historiography has positive significance.

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