Plutarch's Alexander the Great as Focus for Greek Identity

The Case of Alexander's Childhood and Youth in Vira Alexandri


  • Aleksandra Klęczar Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland



biography, rhetoric, Alexander the Great, Plutarch, Vita Alexandri, De fortuna aut virtute, Parallel lives


Plutarch's Alexander the Great as Focus for Greek Identity. The Case of Alexander's Childhood and Youth in Vira Alexandri

The present paper concentrates on the character of Plutarch’s Alexander and his idealized Greek traits as visible in one particular set of Plutarch’s stories: the narratives on the childhood and youth of Alexander, presented in Vita Alexandri. By presenting him as a Greek hero, with a number of typically heroic and typically Hellenic features, Plutarch transforms the image of the Macedonian king, creating a model for his audience to identify as an embodiment of Greek greatness. While the portrait of Alexander in Plutarch’s Life of Alexander is rather nuanced and not entirely positive (see, for example, his behaviour in the East), Plutarch seems, in the stories of Alexander’s childhood, to be carefully presenting him as a perfect Greek model of a hero and a future leader.


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How to Cite

Klęczar, A. “Plutarch’s Alexander the Great As Focus for Greek Identity: The Case of Alexander’s Childhood and Youth in Vira Alexandri”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 17, Dec. 2014, pp. 89-101, doi:10.12797/CC.17.2014.17.05.




Funding data

  • Narodowym Centrum Nauki
    Grant numbers „Aleksander Wielki i Wschód: historia i tradycja” (No. 2012/05/B/ HS2/04025)