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Camillus

Full Show Notes for Camillus – Noble Roman Dictator

Greek Parallel – Themistocles

No Extant Parallel Essay – 🙁

Important People

Brennus – Gallic chieftan, unscrupulous and forceful, but without much character development as Plutarch did for other villains (see, for example, Alexander of Pherae's character development in the Life of Pelopidas or Dionysius II's tyrannical character as developed in the Life of Dion). 

The Common (Ro)Man – Whether volunteering to give your wagon to Vestal Virgins or to take a risky message across enemy lines and back again, the common Romans do a great deal in this life. This creates a great parallel with the Life of Publicola, whose life features the brave deeds of so many Romans other than himself.

Important Places

Ardea – Camillus’s chosen spot of exile

Rome – What’s in a city? When it’s all been burned to the ground, should the Romans rebuild or colonize elsewhere?

Allia – Battle v. The Gauls

Sutrium – An ally of Rome which the Tuscans besiege calling for unprecedented tactics on the part of the Romans.

Key Virtues and Vices

φρόνησις – practical judgment – Not quite prudence, but the lower element of it that chooses the means most appropriate to the ends. His parallel, Themistocles, had this in spades, but Camillus is no slouch at planning and tactics, both political and military. 

Moderation – μετριότης (cf. 11 for lack of it in grieving)

Boldness of Speech – παρρησία – This one often is on a knife's edge between vice and virtue. This is the same key word that Luke uses in Acts of the Apostles when describing the boldness with which the apostles preached about Jesus. Plutarch, writing after Luke and with no knowledge of the man, already recognizes  the long Greek history behind this word. 

Hatred – ἀπεχθεία – You will accrue allies, but you will also accrue enemies in doing worthy political work. 

Gentleness – ἥμερος (cf. 11) – Here one almost wishes his parallel were Pericles, though he is *not* as gentle as Pericles, so again Plutarch chose well in that parallel too (see next month for the Life of Fabius!)

Kindliness – χρηστός (cf. 11) – Has at its root usefulness, and was a key virtue in the life of that obscure Greek, Pelopidas

Avoidance of Conflict – On several occasions Camillus seems to choose to do the easier thing, rather than having the difficult conversation or confrontation necessary to ensure the right action is taken.

Justice – δικαιοσύνη – More important even than victory, Camillus’s conscientious application of the law even to his enemies in war wins him admiration and trust on both sides of a conflict.

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