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The Roman and Greek Questions, by Plutarch, tr. Frank Cole Babbitt, [1936], at

p. 172 p. 173



p. 174


In the Greek Questions, as in the Roman Questions, Plutarch endeavours to give the reason or explanation of fifty-nine matters concerned with Greek life. The vast majority of them are customs or names and, as the explanations are usually historical, they often go back to very early times. A full commentary may be found in W. R. Halliday, The Greek Questions of Plutarch (Oxford, 1928), an excellent work, embodying also much of the modern speculation in regard to primitive religion.

The sources for the information contained in this essay seem to be somewhat varied, but there is little doubt that Aristotle's account of the numerous Greek Constitutions was Plutarch's principal source. The matter is treated at length by Halliday.

J. J. Hartman (Mnemosyne, xli. p. 216, or De Plutarcho scriptore et philosopho, p. 139) is the only modern scholar who has doubted the authenticity of the attribution to Plutarch of this work a; the author was not primarily interested in ethical matters, according to Hartman, and hence cannot be Plutarch. J. B. Titchener b has promised a discussion of this

p. 175

matter, but stylistic considerations alone seem to make it uncertain whether the work is correctly attributed to Plutarch.

A few of the topics treated in the Greek Questions appear also in other works of Plutarch, but the number naturally is not large.

The MS. tradition is good; the few difficulties found are generally with single words.

The work is No. 166 in Lamprias's list of Plutarch's works, where the title is given as Αἰτίαι Ἐλλήνων.


174:a "Sed praeterea totus liber mera est doctrinae ostentatio, … Chaeronensi mentium medico prorsus indigna."

174:b See The MS. Tradition of Plutarch's Aetia Graeca and Aetia Romana (Urbana, Illinois, 1924), p. 9.

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