Virtue, masculinity, and hierarchies of domination in Plutarch’s Antony and De Iside
CITATION: Warren, L. 2019. Virtue, masculinity, and hierarchies of domination in Plutarch’s Antony and De Iside. Akroterion, 64:45-64, doi:10.7445/64-0-1006.
The original publication is available at http://akroterion.journals.ac.za
Plutarch’s Antony and De Iside et Osiride together tackle the manly woman and the effeminate man. I suggest that De Iside is the theoretical exposition of the metaphysics underlying this problem of gender, resolved by gendering the parts of the tripartite soul. In the Antony, these expressions of gender in the body are examined in practice. Female masculinity is defined as a manifestation of virtue without contradicting the natural fact of the female body, while manliness is an unvirtuous expression of a desire to dominate. Plutarch refines the hierarchy of domination that affirms women’s claim to virtue and preserves traditional social order by examining the relation between embodied sex and ensouled gender and assigning an ethical value to its expressions.