Life Of Aristides Analysis

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lutarch’s Life of Aristides contains a compelling aside about the perfectibility of a leader. What he calls the “divine nature” of a great man has three attributes: power, virtue, and immortality. Of these, virtue is the most important; prestige must flow from it primarily, rather than from the uncertain reservoirs of violence or power. Continuing in this vein, he notes: So when we consider the three sentiments, admiration, fear, and reverence, which divinity inspires among mankind, we find that men appear to admire the gods and think them blessed because they are immortal and unchangeable…At the same time men long for immortality, to which no flesh can attain, and for power, which remains for the most part in the hands of fortune, while…show more content…
The dictator’s methods had laid a black hand on nearly every aristocratic family in the land; and abroad, Europe’s elites, initially sympathetic to his attempts to modernize Portugal, were horrified at his excesses. His orders to burn the village of Trefaria for its resistance to his military recruiters confirmed him as a man who had now completely abandoned any pretense of decency. The death of Joseph I, Pombal’s patron or puppet, in 1777 marked the beginning of his downfall. Immediately after Joseph’s burial, the new regent Maria I ordered the release of over eight hundred imprisoned Jesuits and aristocrats from Pombal’s dungeons; public outrage swelled as word spread of the extreme state of their physical deterioration. The natural piety of the people reasserted itself. The tide had turned against Pombal. Some prisoners, having languished for years under fraudulent writs, refused to leave their cells until their innocence had been publicly declared. Pombal was now unable to show himself in public. He tendered his resignation to Maria and was allowed to retire to private life, despite calls from her court attendants for his arrest and prosecution; forced to slip out of Lisbon in secret, he was nearly attacked by
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