Plut. Them. 10.5: Generosity and Greek Public Education in Historical Memory

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Fayah Haussker


The present paper explores the feasibility of the evidence in Plutarch‘s Them. 10.5 regarding publicly-funded teaching that the people of Troezen bestowed upon Athenian children refugees on the eve of the battle of Salamis 480 BC. Examination of testimonies from Troezen referring to the generosity (euergesia) exhibited in absorption of the Athenian evacuees, together with the chronology of public involvement in Greek elementary education (paideia), undermines the historical credibility of Plutarch‘s account and indicates anachronism. This study suggests that the close interconnection between euergesia and paideia, first documented in the Hellenistic period, is the basis of Plutarch‘s, or his sources‘, interpretation of the Troezenians‘ munificence toward Athenian refugees in the form of subsidized schooling. Thus Plutarch‘s account less reflects the historical reality of the Archaic period, but rather the significance of Greek paideia in the historical memory of later generations.

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