Cherchez la femme? Fadia in Plutarch’s Life of Antony

Author: Tatum, W. Jeffrey
Title: Cherchez la femme? Fadia in Plutarch’s Life of Antony
Review/Collection: Journal: Antichthon, Volume 54
Year edition: 2020
Pages: 127-140
Keywords: Histoire - Storia - History
Description: In his Philippics Cicero more than once refers to Fadia, whom he depicts as Antony's wife, and to the children she bore him. He also discusses Fadia in his correspondence with Atticus. Plutarch was aware of the Philippics and much of Cicero's correspondence, and therefore of Fadia, and yet, in his Life of Antony, he says nothing about her. This paper examines three possible explanations for the biographer's silence: (i) an informed sensibility regarding the historical value of invective; (ii) the narrative design of this Life and its contribution to Plutarch's characterisation of Antony; (iii) Plutarch's (disturbing by contemporary standards) disapproval of an aristocrat's siring children on women of the lower orders – even by way of legitimate marriage or concubinage. It is, it appears, the ensemble of these factors which excludes Fadia from Plutarch's biography, and the pertinence of each adds to our appreciation of Plutarch's biographical principles. [Author]
Author initials: Tatum 2020