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Manuel Tröster

Themes, Character, and Politics in Plutarch’s Life of Lucullus

The Construction of a Roman Aristocrat

1. Auflage 2007.
206 S.
ISBN 978-3-515-09124-4


The modern image of the Roman aristocrat L. Licinius Lucullus (cos. 74 B.C.) is, to a large extent, the creation of the Greek biographer Plutarch, whose narrative is structured around a number of themes and leitmotifs: the protagonist’s association with Hellenic culture, his luxurious lifestyle, and various issues related to his rôle as a political and military leader. In all of these fields, the depiction of Lucullus is conditioned not only by Plutarch’s interests and emphases, but also by the nature of the sources at his disposal. Owing to Plutarch’s biographical technique and due to the bias of the contrasting traditions underlying his account, the protagonist’s actions are frequently decontextualised from their contemporary setting. Lucullus emerges from this book as an ambitious noble operating within the highly competitive system of Republican politics, and seeking to accumulate and to display power and prestige.


"Tröster´s book offers a very good starting point for studying Plutarch´s Life of Lucullus, offering the necessary historical background that is all too often missing in Plutarch. But it is more than that, and therefore of interest to a much wider circle of classicists: it presents a new and more dynamic image of Lucullus in his historical context on the basis of detailed discussion and convincing arguments, and in constant dialogue with previous scholars. As such, it will become a point of reference for any scholar studying Lucullus."
Lieve Van Hoof, H-Soz-u-Kult, 17.11.2008

"Das Buch stellt einen anregenden und gedankenreichen Schlüssel zur Lektüre der plutarchischen Biographie dar."
Frank Bücher, Gnomon 85, 2013/4

"Tröster’s excellent study offers a sensitive and careful thematic reading of Plutarch’s biography, our chief source for the nabob’s life, placing his military and political activity, as well as his grand houses and epicurean dining, in its contemporary context."
Latomus 68, 2009/2


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