Plutarchus’ borrelpraat? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 52, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



This article aims to assess the humoristic qualities of Plutarch’s . Although ostensibly a serious piece, the , an extensive prose work which treats dozens of subjects suitable for a traditional in the shape of elaborated Q&A, often suggests that its serious nature is not always to be taken at face value. Quite a number of subjects appear to be only mock serious, which yields a colourful sympotic staging where the participants join this game of tongue-in-cheek seriousness, as depicted by Plutarch, based on his own experiences. Overall, serious subjects are treated lightly, whereas ludicrous subjects are given scholarly – often fussy – treatment, with both approaches equally contributing to an air of funny playfulness. Rather than considering the a mere treasure trove for historic or cultural , or as a work primarily reflecting pedagogical or philosophical ideas, it is worthwhile to read the for what it also is: a reflection of humor within its own context.


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