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Marcellus

Marcellus – Rome's Sword Against Hannibal

Parallel – Pelopidas

Important People

Archimedes (sections 15-17; 19)

Important Places

Nola – A small settlement near Naples.

Tarentum -The Greek colony that had called Pyrrhus over to help them fight the Romans about eighty years before this Second Punic War. They switch sides several times, but their location on the spur of the calf of Italy makes them strategically important for either side. 

Naples – Originally a Greek colony, 

Syracuse – An even wealthier Syracuse than we last saw in the Live of Timoleon and Dion, but one which has a tyrant again. The tyrant, however, seems more humane the the ones we read about in the past. For one, he is friends with and funds a great many of Archimedes's most clever and ingenious engineering devices. Hiero is particularly glad of Archimedes's friendship as the Roman besiege Syracuse to bring it over to their side. 

Key Vices and Virtues

War-loving (φιλοπόλεμος) – Some might say virtue, but Plutarch likely wants to make the point that this is a vice. Marcellus is talented in many types of war as well, from sieges to guerilla skirmishes to pitched battles. He loves everything about the troop movement, exercise, motivation, and implementation. 

Haughty (γαῦρος) – We saw this was a bad thing for Coriolanus, but Marcellus handles it much better. It does cause some strange choices, though, as he will defend himself in person twice against his detractors. Politics is still so very personal in Rome that his personal presence shames his litigious foes both times. 

ἀγέρωχος – high minded; arrogant (noble or lordly in Homer, later takes on pejorative tone) – It's hard to see if this is a gloss on haughty or a throwback to these older Homeric heroes. His love of one-on-one combat certainly has a Homeric flavor that Plutarch highlights (along with his parallel, Pelopidas), but it's hard to know if a leader should be high-minded or not, particularly because the dictionaries also provide us with definition like arrogant, which is universally bad. The context is key, and so pay close attention to how your translator uses these words. 

σώφρων – Practically wise. The tension between this virtue, which normally helps him so much against the wiliness of Hannibal, also seems to be temporarily paralyzed when he falls into the trap Hannibal sets for him. In what ways are the prideful sometimes prevented from seeing the best course of action? 

Philanthropic (φιλάνθρωπος) – Probably better translated as humane, this is Plutarch's highest compliment. Ultimately, anyone who learns this learned it from the Greeks. Plutarch is just fine being ruled by Hellenized Romans, but they must be Hellenized otherwise they'll run to the extremes of someone like Coriolanus. 

cf. Section 10 – naturally humane – τῷ φύσει φιλανθρώπῳ

A lover of Greek Education and Thought – (ἐραστής Ἑλληνικῆς παιδείας καὶ λόγων) – a lover of Greek education and wisdom

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