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‘Like a Married Woman’

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The Kingfisher in Plutarch’s De Sollertia Animalium and in the Ps.-Platonic Halcyon

image of Mnemosyne

This contribution examines Plutarch’s depiction of the kingfisher in De sollertia animalium 982e-983e and argues that it presents the bird as embodiment of three uxorial virtues: love for husband, love for offspring, and care for household. While Plutarch clearly draws from the abundant store of Greek kingfisher-lore, his account explicates the moralizing potential of the kingfisher-exemplum in a manner unparalleled in extant earlier tradition. In his composition of the passage, Plutarch might have been inspired by the pseudo-Platonic dialogue Halcyon with which the kingfisher-passage in De sollertia animalium shares numerous remarkable resemblances.

Affiliations: 1: Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsawul. Dewajtis 5, 01-815


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