Performing Masculinity in Plutarch's Life of Pyrrhus

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This paper examines the performative aspects of masculine behavior in Plutarch's Life of Pyrrhus. A sustained and nuanced visual comparison between Pyrrhus and a series of other potential exempla of masculinity informs Plutarch's critique of Pyrrhus's reign. The resulting exploration of masculine virtue takes place in numerous geographical, ethnic, and cultural contexts, allowing Plutarch to exploit the tension between contrasting ideologies of manhood in order to fashion a complex and multifarious explanation for Pyrrhus's failures as a leader, in spite of his obvious prowess in several important arenas of kingship. Pyrrhus's invasion of Sparta is the central case study.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-193
Number of pages16
JournalIllinois classical studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


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