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Plutarch to Prince Philopappus on how to tell a Flatterer from a Friend

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Chapter Summary

Unlike some of Plutarch's treatises, Adulator is very clearly organized. This chapter considers how frank criticism coheres with friendship and flattery, and what the exact logic is of the nexus of friendship, flattery and frank criticism, according to Plutarch. Throughout the work Plutarch is speaking far more directly to his addressee, Prince Philopappus, than is customarily assumed. The political character of Adulator follows from the first thesis combined with the actual status of Plutarch and Philopappus. In the introduction to the work and elsewhere Plutarch states that the flatterer whom he is discussing is closely similar to the friend and hence to some extent involved with the "moral system".The chapter argues that throughout the treatise Plutarch is appealing to the kinds of value which underlie the "moral system" and its apogee, friendship: trust, sincerity, permanence of character and truthfulness.

Keywords: Adulator; flatterer; frank criticism; Plutarch; Prince Philopappus



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