Our first subject, this morning, was Citizenship, where we have been studying Plutarch's Life of Poplicola. This is Jemimah's first term of this challenging book, and here is her uncorrected narration. I am really pleased with it...even though some of the facts are a little dodgy...it was Marcus, Poplicola's brother, who was honoured with the outward opening front door!!
Solon describes “the virtue and gallant disposition of the Romans”, of which Poplicola could be taken as a prime example. What are some synonyms for ‘gallant’? How do ‘gallant’ and ‘magnanimous’ fit the picture Plutarch has given us of Poplicola?
Poplicola wasn’t selfish. He shared. When his brother took away his consulship for a short time he actually helped him instead of trying to get it back.
When he was making alliances with different people, to be sure that he was going to do it, he sent some of the people’s children to be slaves to the other country. Among them he sent his daughter, which I think means that, “If my people have to do it, I have to”. When his daughter came back, he sent her straight back again.
The people showed him how much they liked him because normal people’s doors opened inward, so that passers-by would not get hit in the face! But Poplicola’s house had opening out doors.
Gallant means brave. Whenever Poplicola had to fight in an army he would not pass the job onto someone else. He went willingly, even though he could have died. He was willing to give up his life because other men had to do so too.
Magnanimous means not being sad when you give small things to someone else; willing to share; and glad to help. Poplicola was very much these characters. He was glad to help in any way. Most rich men and nobles were scornful of the idea of being with poor people. But not Poplicola. He was happy to share his home with others, and his home was always open to the poor and needy. He would always listen to the peoples’ needs, and patiently try to fix their problems. In one of the stories, Poplicola was told by a servant that he was being sabotaged and was going to be murdered. Poplicola instead of sending him out to get more information, kept him safe by not letting him out of his house (or castle) until he had sorted things out.
Poplicola was very fancy and rich, but as soon as someone needed help he would generously give them of his wealth.
Poplicola didn’t get jealous. On one occasions, he was at war when his brother was selected to take his place. Poplicola helped him but he could have been very angry if he chose to. Another time, Poplicola was at war and his men were building a temple. They had finished it before he got back, and Horatio was chosen to open it and to be coin holder. Then Marcus, Poplicola’s brother, shouted at him from the door, “O Horatio, your son lies dead in the camp.” Then Horatio said, “Mourn for him if you will. I am no mourner!” And he carried out the ceremony. But no-one knows exactly whether he saw through the trick or decided that he would not be sad in the ceremony.
Poplicola’s character was brave, kind, peaceful, and enduring. If he had been a Christian, he would have gone down in history for his bravery and kindness. He was very honourable. No wonder everyone would want to be him.