Timothy Duff

Visiting Fellow

  • Concentration
    University of Reading
    Research Project:
    Plutarch's Life of Alcibiades

Timothy Duff is Professor of Greek at the University of Reading. His research interests are in Greek history, Greek and Roman historiography and biography, and the Greek literature of the Roman Imperial Period, especially Plutarch. His publications include Plutarch’s Lives: exploring virtue and vice (OUP 1999), The Greek and Roman Historians (Bristol Classical Press 2003), Plutarch: the age of Alexander (Penguin 2012, with I. Scott-Kilvert), and ‘The structure of the Plutarchan book’ (Classical Antiquity 2011). He was educated at Cambridge University, and has held fellowships at the Freie Universität Berlin (Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship), the Australian National University, Wolfson College Cambridge, Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and the University of Cincinnati. He has also taught at the British School at Athens.

About the Research Project

Plutarch's Life of Alcibiades

Plutarch has in recent years been the subject of intense re-evaluation. The Parallel Lives, once regarded as mere mines for historical source material, have been receiving renewed attention as works of great sophistication; recent work has emphasized their philosophical content, their highly ‘literary’ and allusive nature, their paired arrangement, and their importance as documents of contemporary Greek constructions of their own history and identity in a world now dominated by Rome. My project applies these new insights to a reading of a single text, the Life of Alcibiades, and aims to cover all aspects, including the historical, literary, linguistic, philosophical, and text-critical. It sets the Alcibiades within the context of the developing ‘Alcibiades tradition’, and has a particular focus on Plutarch’s relationship to and exploitation of earlier texts on Alcibiades. It also aims to throw light on the internal structure of the Life; on its literary context within the Coriolanus – Alcibiades book; on Plutarch’s language; on the ways in which a Platonist outlook and Platonic texts lie behind and influence this text; and on its meaning to Plutarch’s early second century AD readers.

Previous Roles

  • Visiting Research Fellow
    2016 - 2016