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2014 | nr 9 (3) | 5--14
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Ancient Philosophy of Lovesickness: Plutarch, Cleopatra and Eros

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Over the centuries, Cleopatra VII, the famous queen of the Nile, has uttered thousands of amorous sentences in countless dramas, poems, novels, librettos and films. Historians, writers and artists of all periods, selecting the Egyptian monarch as the "hero" of their works, referred, and still continue to do so, primarily to the Life of Antony by a great Greek philosopher and moralist - Plutarch of Chaeronea. It might seem that it was Plutarch who presented Cleopatra a woman overcome with genuine passionate love. But does the queen in the Plutarch's work really, even for a moment, experience the true agony of love? The problem with this is that if we reject the Shakespearean prism through which we used to view Cleopatra created by Plutarch and we analyse the Life of Antony exclusively in the context of other works of the moralist from Chaeronea, we will not perceive an Egyptian Dido cursing her lover and dying of love. It is a delusion that in the final parts of the Life of Antony, the monarch's previously feigned or perhaps concealed love for the Roman commander is manifested as true - as is stated by many researchers identifying in Plutarch's work the specific elements of romance in which the lovers' feelings are reciprocated(original abstract)
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  • Uniwersytet Jana Kochanowskiego w Kielcach
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