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Eumenes

Full Show Notes Available at https://plutarch.life/eumenes

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Key Virtues and Vices

  • Bravery (ἀνδρεῖος) – Eumenes, in spite of being the head secretary, is no pencil pusher. Plutarch wants to emphasize this even from the beginning. His education in and prowess in wrestling impress Philip equally as much as his intelligence. Both become an asset to Philip and then Alexander. On top of that, he's able to defeat many of Alexander's most competent generals in battle and gain a reputation among the Macedonians as a bold leader.
  • Justice (δικαιοσύνη) – Eumenes, of all the successors, seems most motivated to keep the dynastic succession in order and rule Alexander’s new domains along the lines the Persian leaders had set up before. In other words, he considers it just to step into his role as satrap and leave it at that. As the other kings become greedier and more prideful, Eumenes serves the interests of the regent and, as he sees it, the rightful kings on the throne. He even tells Antigonus that he values his life less than the trust people have placed in him. He is just and willing to put his life on the line for it. How’s that for skin in the game?
  • Wisdom (σοφία) – As much wiliness in this life as wisdom, Eumenes has the ability to convince those hostile to him to listen, to ourmaneuver even talented generals, and to inspire confidence through competence. He’s also smart enough to recognize all his enemies and finds ways to profit from his enemies: somethine Plutarch would be proud of, since he wrote a whole essay on the topic in the Moralia.
  • Arrogance (ἀλαζονεία) – Categorized by Aristotle as the excess beyond honesty, this vice is rooted in a form or self-deception: seeing yourself as greater than you are. Other definitions include pretension and imposture. Plutarch points out the successors of Alexander suffer under this vice, unaware of their limitations and unwilling to accept that none of them measure up to Alexander.

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