The essay on turning even one's enemies to some profitable use was an extempore address which was afterwards reduced to writing. It still retains, however, some of the marks of its extempore character in an occasional asyndeton or anacoluthon, in a few repetitions, and in such little slips as reversing the positions of Domitius and Scaurus (91 d). But minor matters of this sort cannot obscure the excellence of the essay as a whole, which contains much good advice, many wholesome truths, and much common sense. To cite but one example, the statement (91 b) that many things which are necessary in time of war, but bad under other conditions, acquire the sanction of custom and law, and cannot be easily abolished, even though the people are being injured by them, will appeal to everybody except the confirmed militarist. The essay was written some time after the essay entitled Advice to Statesmen, which in turn must be placed shortly after the death of Domitian (a.d. 96).

This is one of the ‘moral’ essays of Plutarch which so impressed Christians that they were translated into Syriac in the sixth or seventh centuries. The translation of this essay is rather an adaptation, many details being omitted as unessential, but even so it gives light on the Greek text in a few places. The Syriac translation is published in Studia Sinaitica, No. IV (London 1894)

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: